Interesting question… agile is all about creating a close partnership with the business, and getting them back in the driver’s seat when it comes to product development. You’d think that would lead to greater customer satisfaction, right? In some companies I’ve worked with, the commitment cycle is so out of whack… with developers committing to stuff they’ve got no chance of delivering… sometimes because of intense pressure to commit… getting real about what’s possible can get pretty uncomfortable.
If you’ve been promised a Cadillac and now you’ve got to drive around in a Chevy… it doesn’t matter that you got to pick the transmission, or the color of the car, or the really awesome stereo… it still doesn’t live up to expectations. What makes things especially uncomfortable, is that your customers have been promising their customers the Caddy… and now they have to go back and sell the benefits of the Chevy. I don’t care who you are… that’s no fun… and sometimes people lose jobs.
Over the long haul, your customers should be able to count on you to do what you say your going to do, when you say your going to do it. They should be able to balance their expectations against the proven ability of the team to deliver. Agile should help your customers make better decisions and better commitments to their customers. Over time, that WILL increase customer satisfaction. Just understand in the near term, if you’ve been promised everything, and now you are getting less… that sucks.