Jon Williams, Fractional CTO: Include business teams in the Agile process

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

Jon Williams offers a smart idea about getting the business people and the tech team to share as much information as possible, and even have the business people join the scum sessions.

The best implementation of the Agile process that I ever participated in was at ShermansTravel.com, back in 2011/2012. We had fairly good communication between the tech team and the folks running the actual parts of the business: editorial, advertising, marketing and more. A lot of the success of that system was because we had an unusually talented project manager who did fantastic work figuring out what the business folks really needed, and then translating that into specific actions for the tech team to move forward with.

But we almost never had the business folks attend out stand-up meetings, and this is an interesting idea:

What advice to you have for folks looking to improve tech/biz team alignment?

My #1 recommendation is: Include business teams in the Agile process. Have the business attend stand-ups, sprint reviews, and maybe even sprint retrospectives. I had a great experience with a business team where we ran an all-day Lean Coffee meeting (www.leancoffee.org), prior to launch. We got feedback that this was one of the most productive all-day meetings the business had ever attended, and the business team also got some insight into how we run Agile projects.

My #2 recommendation is shoulder surfing. I’ve seen the most amazing ideas come out of tech team members watching end users using the tools they developed.

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