Last blog post from our Director Development Christian Kaas and his series of articles talking about “The way we do things around here” at LORENZ.
Responding to change
“Humphrey’s Law” says that customers never know what they want until they have working software in their hands to actually work with. To illustrate the point, let’s say we plan our April 2016 release with a list of features that was previously agreed in October 2015. We finish the project on time in April, delivering all of the features promised. But there’s still a high probability that a customer won’t be fully satisfied, simply because what we defined back in October is not necessarily what the customer needs in April. If customers aren’t exposed to working software before the end of our release, it’s then too late to incorporate their feedback.
That is why we need to establish a process that solicits and incorporates early customer feedback and new information as the product is actually being developed. It’s our intention to accommodate these changes as easily and efficiently as possible, while maintaining an awareness of their wider effects.
Several factors will be important in creating this ability to respond to change. Here are two important but perhaps not so obvious considerations:
- Limit stress on teams. Imagine how you behave yourself under stress. When I see stressed people, I also see people who have difficulty accepting change. So managing the level of stress will help development teams embrace change more fully.
- Ensure decisions are made by people who know about the situation. This means trusting our teams to make the decisions on how to create the working software. It is the team that monitors and controls the implementation of a release, and who has the overview of the ever-changing needs of the customers. A development team that is self-organized and infused with a sense of responsibility can handle what one overloaded person (the Project Manager) might have tried to achieve in a classic project set-up. This allows us to take the right actions, proactively and quickly.
At LORENZ, over the past several years I have witnessed how teams have managed to transform the development processes into a sustainable process integrating agile values and practices. These have given transparency and predictability to our deliveries, increased the quality of the products and improved our customer satisfaction and reputation. We will continue to uncover better ways of developing software, and are happy to interact with each and every individual in our growing customer base!
Click here to read part 1 of the series.
Click here to read part 2 of the series.