Customers mostly go for Agile projects to accommodate, or let me say, encourage changing requirements, the product can take shape as we go along and deliver high value to the client. However if the client come with a mind-set where they feel that they can change the requirements ‘anytime’ and delivery team will drop everything to work as per instructed, then this can lead to heart-burns even failed project. To avoid this situation we may need to manage customer expectations right at the start of the project and also during it. Some of my friends call act of managing expectation to be negative and exact opposite of Customer collaboration, what do you think?

2015-04-20_553502c731b68_ManagingexpectationsandCustomercollaboration.jpg

 

So we need to manage customer expectations while ensuring that we are not becoming less accommodating when it comes to welcome changes and our singular aim is to consistently deliver value. But the questions remains, how do we say NO to something that client is seeking and seeking now? Rather than NO, we can say not now and plan it as per the priority for the future sprints, to me it is managing expectations, even though it may sounds negative and anti-collaborative. If the new requirements hold higher priority than the current sprint items then the sprint can be halted and new sprint with the suggested requirements can be started, let the client do prioritization and take the call. Delivery team can not accommodate new changes to the ongoing sprint, more than anything it is ensure the quality of the deliverable of the sprint. Temptation to add something ‘small’ while sprint in ongoing can turn out to be very expensive, any tester you speak to will share perils of making last minute changes which can leave lot of untested regression pack.

Agile by design is to keep product backlog items extremely fluid and totally at the discretion of the customer, can be changed as many times in scope and numbers. Once the sprint planning is done, the customer gets to pick and order what should be done in the sprint and the delivery team gets ring-fenced during the sprint. It is ScrumMaster’s role to ensure that the sprint continues smoothly and no changes allowed to goal of the sprint.

If we make the customer understand and value the concept “Once a sprint has started, it should not be changed” then we can collaborate better and deliver what’s of value to the customer.