𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗽𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝘄𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄 - If you aren't sure, or it's been a few weeks, it's been too long.
The first principle of the agile manifesto focuses on customer centricity, yet how many metrics track this beyond eNPS?
It's all velocity, cycle time, utilisation percentages but not enough focus on those who matter most. Our customers.
If we're honest with ourselves, are we engaging with them often enough?
- Consider metrics such as '𝗗𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗰𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗿 𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁' instead of focusing on velocity.
Days since last customer engagement keeps teams anchored to where the value lies. It continually reinforces the need to engage with customers frequently, and often to ensure we're on the right trajectory. Keep this number of days as low as is feasible for your given situation.
- 𝗥𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝗬𝗔𝗡𝗧𝗨 - You are not the user. There is no substitute for real customer interaction
It's easy to make assumptions about what you think the customer wants and even harder to have that assertion challenged when you realise customers didn't want that feature at all. Don't just put yourself in the shoes of the customer, ask them what they want.
- Experiment with 𝗰𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘇𝗲𝗻 𝗱𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀 - Customers you can embed into your teams to shorten customer feedback loops
Depending on your situation & your access to customers, having a citizen developer involved in your iterations can be helpful. They can attend your team ceremonies and help shape the product. Ensure to rotate the citizen developers every few sprints to keep the perceptions fresh/
- Allow those who develop the product to demonstrate to their customers. Let them hear the feedback first hand
We've all heard of Chinese whispers and understand how messages can become skewed when relayed through various different layers. Allow those who produce the product to demonstrate to the customers. Receiving feedback first hand is a sure fire way to ensure it's better understood.
- Try using 𝗚𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗮 𝘄𝗮𝗹𝗸𝘀 / 𝗩𝗶𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗴𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗮 walks to observe how customers are using your products
Gemba walks aim to get you close to where the value lies. Doing so, you 'walk the floor' to an extent and observe how customers are using your product in real time. Virtually doing so can present more of a challenge but there is no substitute for actually seeing how a product is being used vs how a customer says they are using it.
How do you keep close to your customers?