Collaboration is a term that is frequently used nowadays and has a variety of definitions depending on the context.
On the other hand, customer collaboration is a significant element and success factor in Agile software development. Customers are more involved in the development process with agile methods because they develop user stories, discuss product features, prioritize feature lists, and provide frequent feedback to the development team.
Close involvement of the customer – the business side and the IT side – creates the dialogue needed to define requirements correctly and to clear up possible misunderstandings immediately. A collaborative team also verifies that the implementation is correct through exploratory and acceptance testing.
The customer's validation team should visit the development team frequently, especially during testing. That will allow them to explain how the customer's needs fit into the bigger picture and lead to better-informed decisions by the development teams. It is a good practice for the validation team to present this information visually, using information panels, posters, whiteboards, etc.
Let's take a closer look at the benefits of working in close collaboration with your customers.
1. You will always find a better solution
Customers and developers should not perceive each other as adversaries but rather as partners working toward the same goal: the project's success.
Based on its vision, it's critical to concentrate on the features the company requires the most, with the functionality presenting the most outstanding value to the users. Customer collaboration requires a thorough understanding of the process and a committed customer to the project.
Team unity is accomplished by collaborating to ensure that impediments, bottlenecks, and unreasonable expectations do not disrupt the team's creative inclinations.
2. Developing a solid long-term relationship
Investing a significant amount of effort in developing a close relationship with your customer will reap considerable rewards, particularly in terms of the regularity with which customers provide feedback on the developer's progress and a higher ability to react to unexpected situations.
These types of feedback confirm the team is heading in the right direction and allow to alter course if the customer discovers that the team is running in a route that the customer does not wish.
3. Enabling a more significant level of customer engagement
You'll probably notice an important difference when your customers become more actively involved in creating your products, and that's the fact that they are more invested in the outcome of the project in the process of development.
Step by step, the customer will soon understand the importance of his role in the process and his responsibilities of the path of delivering a successful project.