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Agile Development: Unfolding 18 Reasons to Active User Involvement


Agile methods are lightweight software development processes that employ short iterative cycles, involve users to establish, prioritize and verify requirements, and rely on knowledge within a team rather than documentation (Boeham and Turner 2004).

Within the spectrum of agile web development, user involvement has evolved from being informative and consultative, to a participative approach. A significant need that weaves together this story is: customer focus. What matters to project teams is:

  • All actions provide tangible business value.
  • The customer is not defined as the project stakeholders of the company, but the end users as well.
  • The degree of alignment between different user roles (an entity that will be using the software directly or indirectly) and their expectations in the development of the software project.

Read more to understand the 7 Core Principles of Agile Development

However, it is not always possible to advocate interactions that involves external customers directly in the development projects, and that’s when active involvement from project stakeholders become a necessity throughout the journey.

Here are 18 reasons why!

#1 Requirements are clearly communicated with upper management and important stakeholders showing how goals are aligned with the vision at the outset.

#2 Market mechanics help shape ideas.

#3 Perceptions and expectations are obtained from internal and external practitioners in a realistic setting.

#4 Face-to-face interviews, user visits, meetings, brainstorming sessions, and open communication channels such as phones, faxes, emails and focus group discussions drive involvement.

#5 Requirements elicitation are discussed (security, portability, scalability, and scope).

#6 Decisions around time-frame ensure optimum benefit of the involvement.

#7 Collaboration with developers in resolving issues pertain features to be implemented.

#8 Evolving project plans without the need of lengthy documentation.

#9 Responding and providing inputs to product prototypes created by development teams.

#10 When end user groups are involved: liaison between users and IT teams by consulting or interacting to extract their ideas, needs or problems.

#11 Influence practices such as User Centered Design, Usability Testing, User Stories, Putting Usability First (PUF), Usability Engineering (UE) and Participatory Design (PD).

#12 Resolving issues as they come up with different stakeholders.

#13 User stories created at the start of every iteration, and then prioritized to ensure they are completed within the time allocated for that iteration.

#14 Development can be monitored on an ongoing basis.

#15 There is complete transparency.

#16 Both sides of the teams are accountable as they share progress openly every day.

#17 There is complete commitment to the project.

#18 There is a sense of joint effort as responsibility is shared.

At Terra, we embrace agile. Our methodologies are based on iterative development, requirements gathering, and creating solutions that evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross functional team.