Building the wrong thing right
This is the second capital sin of Agile. Building the wrong thing right.
Let me tell you a story …
This was year 2004. As the technical lead of a small cross-functional team we developed the first release of an online product for the Pharma Industry. A product that still today is leader in its market.
We didn’t know anything about agile or lean startup and the approach was pure waterfall, but there was something key to the success of this product, a constant communication with customers and an evolution of the product based on market feedback.
We had huge quality and reliability problems, but customers were happy because there was a proactive and responsive customer service and we were really fast in fixing issues. We actually fixed stuff directly in production. At that time, we didn’t know anything about continuous integration, automated testing or continuous delivery.
Actually, the first release of the product was running on a server sitting by my desk.
But, customers were happy, because we listened to them.
Product Development vs Software Development
The problem still today is that most Agile companies have a suboptimal interaction with their customers. They apply all the practices and rituals, but they don’t involve their customers in their product development process.
Agile began as a movement to improve software development. With, one key goal of bridging the gap between business and technology. However, after 20 years, I cannot see that happening.
Only, thanks to the push from Silicon Valley’s Lean Startup movement and UX development we are starting to see a change in this pattern.
Many companies are already organizing in Product Teams that tackle a specific customer segment or customer need, but majority are still far away.
And, Agile alone is not going to fix that. You need to embody real lean product development skills and practices in your teams.
Next up, Failure to Innovate.