In contrast to the traditional waterfall model for software / web development, nowadays agile frameworks and scrum methodologies advocate that client involvement during the software development life cycle is very critical. There is absolutely no doubt that this is necessary but the question is, “is it always effective?”
Here at Digital Noir, we use SCRUM as our main project management framework and being a services industry, “The customer is always right” is the business mantra. We always take client feedback very seriously and action the feedback accordingly.
Most of the time this is really helpful in the successful, on-time and under budget completion of our projects. However there are times, and this especially happens with ongoing “rolling” projects, when the client themselves is not completely sure of the requirements, and is trying to figure out the functionality or the way forward. This causes mismanagement of sprints which unfortunately results in extra administration time spent on the continuous re-planning of work cycles. This, on top of managing changes to project scope, ultimately means the creeping up of time and cost budgets. If not caught in time and managed properly, this can lead to serious problems, and maybe even result in the failure of the project.
Digital Noir believes in thorough and consistent communication across the board within the team and with our clients. Clients can generally reach out to the developers and designers to give their feedback directly which makes the communication process very quick and also reduces the actioning time considerably. This works wonderfully if the feedback is only related to pre-developed features and bug fixes etc. but for requirement changes and requests for new features it can lead to a disaster. To manage this, we have developed an internal protocol of forwarding any client requests that involve scope changes to a Project Manager so that all of these changes can be tracked and the implications of these changes get communicated across all stakeholders appropriately.
Managing client involvement is a continuous effort, We would love to know how your organisation manages this dilemma.