Hallway Studio

August 7, 2015

I think of an agile team like a swimmer in open water. They can have a very effective stroke that carries them far each time but if they don’t look up and adjust for currents or obstacles they aren’t going to make it to their destination. You can reliably produce great software with every sprint or iteration but it does mean customers are going to use it or that it will deliver for the business.

Waterfall is not a bad way to make something if you know exactly what you need and your mind never changes. But that never happens because needs change quickly and so do minds. Agile allows us to get products to market more quickly and to change and adapt to emerging needs without spinning too much but that takes two more things:

Regular Customer Feedback
Engaging your customers isn’t just about asking them what they want but understanding their problems, their behaviors and testing solutions. Your team needs to regularly interview and test prototypes with customers. Share what you’ve learned with your team. Use this information to drive your roadmaps and evaluate new initiatives.

Disciplined Product Leadership
In any organization their are many stakeholders and they often want different things and they create distractions and thrashing on the team. Product leadership is needed to shield the team from all these requests while also making sure stakeholders are on board with the vision.

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