Agile and user expectations

From this article on IT World, “Why your users hate agile (and what you can do about it)”, come some answers and strategies for dealing with user/customer/client expectations:

7 tips for making Agile more palatable to users

  • Find ways to give users some sense of predictability
  • Earn trust incrementally
  • Explain how updates will become more accurate as the project progresses
  • Give users enough information to make good decisions
  • Make sure you talk to all the stakeholders
  • Don’t use developer buzzwords
  • Adopt Agile techniques gradually

It’s interesting how clients expect things to be projects with a well-defined beginning and an end. However, since there is ongoing maintenance for websites, web apps, and other software, these projects inevitably turn into products and should be managed that way:

“Businesses might be anxious that constant iteration = never-ending,” says Josh Oakhurst, from Skookum Digital Works. Sure, to an educated client, “open-ended” is an advantage, with flexibility that can be celebrated. But most clients just want to know what they’re buying, he says. “With Agile, software developers are selling a process, not a product.”

The project is going to be never-ending unless it stops making money or accomplishing whatever goal the client has in mind. It is no longer a project and becomes operations. Most clients are not set up to handle this switch between projects and operations and need guidance and help in setting up expectations for Agile.