Business and Technology Worlds Collide

Dealing with the business users of a software application can be a real challenge. It’s rare that you find a user group that embraces agile software development and wants to actively participate in the process.

There are two predominant types of business groups that you’ll encounter in agile development. The first is a business group that just wants you to go off and build the software. They’ll be happy to answer questions but are too busy to participate in the development process in a meaningful way.

Try negotiating for a business representative. This should be someone who can commit to attending daily meetings and will make the effort to test sprint deliverables. It could be anyone as long as the business owners trust their representative’s judgment in making software decisions. That’s probably the best you can achieve.

Another type of business group is one that is constantly changing features, functions, goals, process and anything else they can. It’s a major challenge to get such a group to settle down. This behavior is likely to be a reflection of how they operate in general. They won’t change.

The only thing the development team can do is anticipate change. You can’t predict what will change next but you can take some extra time to make the system flexible — not easy to do, but you can minimize the effort needed to make software changes.

Getting business participation on an agile project can be tough. Take what you can get and make the best of it.

Updated: December 31, 2010 — 5:09 pm