Agile Principle 1 – Customer Focus

Posted on February 4, 2011 by

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focus

That's your customer looking back at you - do you see and understand them?

The four values of the Agile Manifesto (Individuals, Customer, Working Software and Change) are further elaborated in twelve principles. The first principle is

“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
through early and continuous delivery
of valuable software. “

The first line provides the goal – satisfy the customer. That customer focus brings Agile in line with many other of the TAPUniversity’s “Nexus” disciplines: Business Analysis, Kanban, Lean Six Sigma and Project Management.  The second and third line reveal a little more about the method or how: early and continuous delivery of valuable software.   It’s a commonplace expectation in 2011, but ten to fifteen years ago, waiting 2-4 years between a major software release and 1 year between a version release was the norm.

Consider Facebook – new features roll out on a daily basis.  One of the challenges for the fast growing LinkedIn, is the pace of Facebook’s feature rollout.  LinkedIn has a remarkable customer focus – professionals throughout their career.  Facebook’s origin in college life quickly leaped beyond to anyone 13 years or older.  The numbers speak volumes about the perceived value. (Add in Twitter and you have the three social network utilities that every global enterprise feels compelled to “share” they’re on!) LinkedIn has over 90 million users and Facebook over 500 million.  The method for LinkedIn, seems to involve a little slower innovation cycle than Facebook – still lightening fast by 2001 standards (when the manifesto was published).  The two professional and social networking companies are indeed competitors.

Today, think about how customer focused your business is and how quickly they move to deliver.  The results may surprise you!

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