Given the increasing reliance of business functions on software, developers are required to deliver high-quality functionality that works as expected. And if this is not achieved, it results in the wastage of valuable organizational valuable time and resources. Modern agile project management methodologies help solve this problem by involving the customer in the software development life cycle.
There was a time when the project manager or the software developer used to plan and deliver a project all by themselves. However, there were many cases where projects were either not properly completed or took too long. Agile software development methodologies were motivated by the need to mitigate such concerns. In agile development approaches, the project starts with the identification of the users’ needs and is developed in small releases. These releases are used and reviewed by the customers themselves, who can provide relevant feedback.
Stakeholder involvement is one of the critical aspects of all agile projects. The project team should include the key stakeholders – the client, the business analysts and the product owner in addition to the project manager (e.g., Scrum master) and the technical team members (i.e., developers). Their involvement facilitates better communication and alignment between the different roles.
Any project is successful only after the customer has thoroughly reviewed and approved its functioning. This is why agile methodologies like Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP) and Development and Operations (DevOps) mandate the customer’s involvement in the production and review of releases. Agile software development companies strive to develop a unique culture where every developer gets a dedicated account manager on the customer side as their sole point of contact. Account managers ensure that shared goals across teams are clear, which leads to minimal conflict over traditional roles such as business analyst or project manager. Agile methodologies boost effective cooperation and collaboration between team members and stakeholders. This collaboration ensures that the end product satisfies user needs.
Most agile software development methodologies are based on the idea that the most effective approach to creating software is to involve the customer in every step of the process. The benefits of this customer involvement include:
Nowadays, agile methodologies are widely used among software development companies. They help maintain close customer involvement through all its stages. This helps in delivering high-quality products sooner to customers. If the customer is satisfied with the product, they are likely to recommend it to others. The bigger the scale of users, the more popularity the product will get. Hence, focusing on customer cooperation and inclusion is a winning strategy for any business that promotes agile projects.
There are many good reasons to involve the customer in the agile process, like having the correct business stakeholders define requirements and characteristics right from the start. It’s also a good way for the agile team to ensure that their efforts are relevant to their end-users. For these reasons, customer engagement is essential and should be actively pursued as part of every agile development project.
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