AoAD2 Practice: Real Customer Involvement

This is an excerpt from The Art of Agile Development, Second Edition. Visit the Second Edition home page for additional excerpts and more!

This excerpt is copyright 2007, 2021 by James Shore and Shane Warden. Although you are welcome to share this link, do not distribute or republish the content without James Shore’s express written permission.

Real Customer Involvement


We understand the goals and frustrations of our customers and users.

I once worked with a team that was building software to analyze mass spectrometer data. The team’s domain expert was a chemist whose previous job involved using the company’s old software. She was invaluable, full of insight about what did and didn’t work with the old product. We were lucky to have her as a member of the team. Thanks to her, we created a more valuable product.

Whole Team

In an Agile team, on-site customers—team members with the skill to represent customer, user, and business interests—are responsible for choosing and prioritizing stories. The value of the team’s work is in their hands. This is a big responsibility. As an on-site customer, how do you know what to choose?

Some of that knowledge comes from your background and expertise. But you can’t think of everything. You can get so caught up in daily details that you lose track of your real customers’ interests.

To widen your perspective, you need to involve real customers and users. The best approach to doing so depends on who you’re building the software for. continue reading, buy the book!

In this Section

  1. Real Customer Involvement
    1. Key Idea: Feedback and Iteration
    2. Personal Development
    3. Platform Development
    4. In-House Custom Development
    5. Outsourced Custom Development
    6. Vertical-Market Software
    7. Horizontal-Market Software
    8. Questions
    9. Prerequisites
    10. Results
    11. Experiments and Alternatives

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