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5 September 2013 | Ken Turbitt Blog
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How Does Agile Software Development Work When a Client Wants a Stable System and Lots of Enhancements?
This week Ken explains why communication is key when dealing with agile software development...

  Ken Turbitt

Wikipedia defines agile software development as: A group of software development methods based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. It is a conceptual framework that promotes foreseen interactions throughout the development cycle.

This year I’ve been working with a client based in Germany and as we know, German companies like perfection, in fact we like what they produce (think of cars and kit houses). So the idea of the German company accepting an application being built on the agile framework (constant additions and releases) terrifies them on the one hand, yet delights them on the other. Stability, reliability and continuity are the keys words in their vocabulary, but then so are flexibility, adaptable and progressive. How can you marry all this together, and still be happy?

With great difficulty. As with any marriage, there needs to be a common understanding of each other’s ways and the willingness to compromise on both sides. The trick is getting that balance right.  In my view the solution is openness and communication. The more you explain how things work, such as the timescales, turnarounds, responsiveness to defects and then communicate this to your client, stakeholders and user base the easier things can become. Communication then becomes key.

How many marriages fail because of the lack of communication with one side not fully understanding the other. Misalignment of goals, objectives and a common purpose. The same applies to a client relationship. 

In my case the initial explanation to the client appears to be have been lacking in their understanding of agile software development, as it’s a total mismatch to their way of working of certainty, stability, and near zero defects on deployment, the two should never be married!

Any feedback and comments are always welcome!

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