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What Clients Want is Superior Product Quality!


Confirmit Team

Confirmit Team

Author Bio

Confirmit’s dedicated teams work to deliver world-leading customer experience, Voice of the Employee and Market Research solutions. 


Author Bio

The few software conferences I have attended over the last year have focused a lot on Scrum. Scrum is an agile software development method used by an increasing number of software companies. Scrum talks about a “sprint”, which is a potentially shippable product increment. The focus revolves around features that go into a sprint. I don’t question the ability of Scrum to deliver features, but I question whether “features” is what clients really want.

A Standish Group study from 2002 found that 45% of software features were never used; only 20% were used often or always. It sounds crazy, right? 45% of wasted time, effort, sweat. Other studies have showed similar numbers, so I’m afraid it is about as crazy as it sounds. Mary Poppendick (lean evangelist and author of “Implementing Lean Software Development”) has stated that “Extra features are the biggest waste in software development.” So, if features aren’t what clients really want, what do they want?

Do you remember the first version of iPhone? I do. It was great, fantastic, people loved it!

Why?

iPhone lacked a lot of features which the competing cell phones had: auto focus on camera, stereo Bluetooth support, 3G, GPS, and even MMS. How did they manage to make such a serious tap into a difficult market with a phone that could do less than most of their competitors?  I claim that one of the reasons is superior product qualities: usability, intuitiveness, slickness, extendibility (app store), etc. What separates competing products with more or less the same feature sets are the product qualities. What clients really want is superior product quality!

Here is the thing; Scrum doesn’t focus on product qualities and therefore product development companies need a process that also takes care of this important part of product development. In Confirmit, we use an Evolutionary Project Management method: Evo. Evo is focused on delivering quantified stakeholder values and product qualities. Evo is a method developed by Tom Gilb (see www.gilb.com for more information). Next time, I’ll talk a bit more about how we use Evo in Confirmit.



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