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The Power of Collaborative Feedback in Agile Project Management

Ever wondered why meeting expectations of IT customers is so difficult? The answer is simple. There is a difference between what is needed and what fulfils that need. The customer may know what they need but may not know what they want to fulfil that need. For example, the need to eat may be there but what food is wanted is something that needs to be figured out.

Customers may need something very urgently but for this need to be fulfilled, the product or service required cannot be clearly and completely specified without seeing and experiencing the feel of the product being developed.  For example, a customer may need to increase the number of visitors to their website but the features to include and how these features are organized in the site may not be something they can define clearly at the very beginning.

How do we deal with situations like this? One effective way is to work with them and gradually showing them what is being done so that they can contribute towards developing what they really want.

A simple example that illustrates this is by considering how a client request for landscaping his garden is met by a professional landscaper. The initial input from the customer will be vague and unclear. The customer will give inputs such as modern look with enhanced lighting but details regarding these needs may be vague. 

The professional landscaper needs to deliver what the customer wants. He does this not by doing what he thinks best meets the needs of the client but by working with the client. He shows the customer different lighting options in previous landscaping designs. The customer will then have a better idea of how the garden could look and the options available at the very beginning. Hence gradually both the landscaper and the customer collaborate to explore options and agree on what is feasible before the work is done.

This same approach that is proposed in what is commonly known as the scrum methodology for project management used for IT based projects. For such projects, a great deal of emphasis is laid on collaborating with the customer, getting regular feedback from them and building features based on feedback received.

The underlying principle is that it is important to sense what is needed and respond as and when feedback is received from the requestor. To reduce the complexity, a deliverable is presented as early as possible to the client seeking feedback. This provides visibility to the customer and an opportunity for the developer to make changes early and appropriately throughout the project. The customer feels more involved and the team, giving both the developer as well as the customer a chance to collaborate.

With the regular and timely feedback, the development team can sense the customers’ actual desires and then can work on it quickly by delivering software gradually and improving the deliverable quality over time. use. This method is called the Scrum methodology, which is one of the methodologies in being agile when managing client requirements.

This concept and other Agile Project Management principles will be discussed during our Scrum Master Certification sessions. You will also be provided an opportunity to sit for the Scrum Master examination and become a Certified Scrum Master! Click here to find out more.

 

Join our complimentary Scrum Fundamentals course on 30 August 2020. Click here to find out more.

 

Dr Rumesh Kumar,

PMP, SMC, CST,

June 2020

Author Profile

Asst. Prof. Dr. Rumesh Kumar is a:-

  • Certified Professional Trainer;
  • Certified Knowledge Manager;
  • Certified Project Management Professional;
  • ScrumStudy Certified Trainer; and
  • Certified Tetramap facilitator.

He specializes in areas of agile project management, knowledge management and organizational diagnostics. He has trained hundreds of participants, from multiple organizations such as Tan Chong Motors, Shell and Maxis Communications to become Scrum Master Certified.

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