Skip to main content

Spooking Customers

Here's a sport you may have played with your business customers when estimating some functional changes for them.

1. Easy change that you want to do = 1 day development
2. Medium change that you don't really want to do but can understand why they want it = 2 days development
3. Change that you know could screw your design royally, cause problems down the track, make future changes a nightmare = 4 hundred million trillion days development

Do you try and spook your business customers away from dangerous changes by over-egging the development estimate? Make it impossible for them to even consider backing the change?


Do you sit with your customer and explain the danger in their change, try to compromise and find some middle ground that achieves the solution for them without compromising the system?

We are all guilty of bamboozling customers with tech-speak on occassion, maybe it's time we created a forum with our customers and found a way to communicate our concerns hopes and dreams for the software to them in a language they can understand.
Don't go terrifying your customers with scary estimates.


Anonymous said…
I call this exagerated estimate of work a team doesn't want to do a "plumber's estimate" before now.
AlexandraGeorge said…

although I wouldn't want to bring the whole plumbing industry into disrepute, I know what you mean
Anonymous said…
The diametrical opposite of spooking customers is the "Spooky" customer - the one that knows how long something should take and how it should be done better than any of the highly skilled and well paid IT folk they employ. No wonder trust is so hard to build.

Popular posts from this blog

Business Requirement Documents are just no good and should be abolished from the world of creating software

I had hoped the world could have wholeheartedly rejected Business Requirement documents by now. For too long I’ve seen the repeated scenario of only commencing the creation of a new initiative with a requirements document.Unfortunately most organisations that have teams developing software still use these flawed anathemas to creativity as the status quo. Despite agile approaches maturing and customer-centric modes of design emerging, requirements documents still persist. 
If you work in an organisation that doesn’t use business requirement documents any more, read no further. You are lucky; sense has prevailed at your place however in my experience, you are still the minority.
Let's face it; addressing this issue is not always the point you want to start your improvement work when there's much that could be dysfunctional with how a team is delivering software. But now, I find myself as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take business requirement documents anymore. I want to …

Gamify your children

Inspired by James Ross’s LAST conference talk on The Shamification of Lamification and the Reclaimification of Gamification I was motivated to try and “Gamify” the school holidays for my three children, Leo aged 8, Chloe 9 and Max 10.
Buy-in is everything, so the first thing we did was a quick workshop to extract the kids ideas. I asked them to write their ideas for good rewards on sticky notes, with a few examples for context, such as ‘trip to the movies or ‘play date with a friend’ . They had 5 minutes to come up with their ideas – one idea per sticky note (as always).
They then read out their ideas for all of us to hear, there were a few duplicates and also a few comedy suggestions. Even though we had ruled out crazy stuff, such as rewards of a million dollars, Leo had written down ‘A unicorn for the back yard’ reading it out with gleeful giggles.
Then they spent 5 minutes writing down tasks that they could do to earn rewards. By now they had the hang of it and quickly came up with t…

Agile Australia 2011 Series - Agile Governance

If you are in an industry that is heavily into governance you need some structure and process around your projects or you could find your Agile projects getting usurped by the culture of command and control. So it’s important not to shy away from the topic but to work with the entities that enforce and monitor governance. In this way you can create something that is fast and easy and not laborious to work with.I work for an Apra regulated organisation and we made keenly aware of our obligation under Apra to evidence documented change when audited. However in all organisations I’ve ever worked in, there are boundaries that bend quite a bit, ways to change things and ways to get by that satisfy governance process without crippling your agile process.There’s almost two alternating schools of thought here which are ‘work within process’ and ‘decide to change the process’. It’s actually pretty easy for my team to work within process. Project approvals, mandates and PIDs that are important …