in Process Management

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Customer collaboration needs to be constant and open to ensure the delivery is validated.

Software is needed by customers, for a specific reason. The success of a development project is measured against this. How does the software match the original customer need?

Good customer collaboration with the team, calibrates their common goal. The customer collaboration also involves negotiating the features, instead of using a contract. The changes in development are done in increments. This allows the team to break the goal into smaller pieces, which are easier to understand.

A method called INVEST, can for instance be used to specify the needs of the customer. Methods such as SCRUM has a foundation, which relies on customer collaboration. SCRUM is applied best when the developers and customer are in the same room. Teams are kept small and self-manage. Most meetings are short and frequent. This allows the team to keep focus. Each team member plays a part and improves efficiency.

The target for the project team is to work closely with the customer. The development team focusses on software development. Business people focus on explaining the need. The project is managed by a scrum master. The role of the scrum master, is to manage customer collaboration. The methods are either formal or casual. Tools such as a SCRUM or KANBAN boards are used. Additional tools can include e-mail, conferencing software or any combination of tools.

Customer collaboration has become essential for success. Business owners have come to realise, the critical impact of weak collaboration. Failed communication translates directly into project failure. We have also entered an age of faster delivery speed. Failures are seen faster than before. Our margin for error has become much smaller than before.

Healthy customer collaboration is more critical than ever before. The teams who quickly collaborate well, will make the needed gains.

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