Agile Principle 4

Batting cleanup in the agile principles lineup is Agile Principle 4. Lets dig into shall we?

Principle 4: Business people and developers must work
together daily throughout the project.

Sadly, in my consulting business, violation of this principle if often the only option. Oddly enough it is often not a lack of trying on my part. Sadly, this one is so very important for the project to be a success. Most of the failures in my career is because of this. While often for a good reason, the development of the project and the input of business owner gets separated.

What do you mean this causes all your failures?

For instance, I had a petrol analysis customer, that commissioned a system. In theory they were suppose to sign off on the deliverable every two weeks. If they did not complain then that was an acknowledgement of acceptance. While framed in the contract and agreed to by all parties. They did not look at the project once before delivery. Trapped to delivery deadlines but all my calls and emails went unanswered, I had to push on with only the document as a guide. I built a beautiful, perfectly to spec, disaster. It took multiple iterations for almost a year to get that system up and running. Sadly, it never really got its day in the sun. Jettisoned away into oblivion the project went when they sold it to a new company. They had their software so there was no need for mine.

Agile Principle 4 Failure

I really like the customer but they had no passion for their own commissioned system. After putting in nearly 200 free hours, I got that system over the hump. I had to be onsite for every meeting because it was the only way to force them to engage. I cared about it more than they did. It got over the hump and met the business needs but it was a painful experience.

While it may sound like a strange thing, that someone would commission something and then act like they don’t care, it really is not that odd. Small business people wear so many hats that it is easy for things to slip through the cracks. That is why I went onsite for meetings. It made them focus on the program rather than killing time tracking BitCoin or designing new tracking tags. Out of site, out of mind.

Agile Principle 4 Success

Contrast that with my government experience. One of my biggest successes was because my business owner was engaged. We were doing a income tax gateway and processing system that tied several disconnected system together.

We did it as agile as we could under the weight of the buerocracy. Yeah, it was a modified agile but it was an organic from us three, the business owner, project manager and me process. We made it fit into the big waterfall, agile thing that constructed.

She was with me every step of the way. Are goals were completely aligned and we had a massive success. She got acknowledged to her execution of the project division wide. Some people would get mad because they did all the work and someone else got the credit. Not me, I was happy for the acknowledgment of the success of the project.

That project also got me one of the greatest compliments of my career. I met the guy who, replaced the guy, who replaced the guy who replaced me on it. He told me how it was a pleasure to maintain that code. Now that is the kind of praise a programmer should be gunning for in a project.

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