CustomerInterface

Delegate a person or group to act as a Proxy for the customer

Definition

Delegate a person or group to act as a Proxy for the customer.  This proxy will take the time to learn all the relevant business of the customer, in order to answer questions about needs, priorities and preferences as they arise and without constant reference back to the customer.  This proxy acts in effect as a GateKeeper for the customer.

Source

Surrogate Customer is an almost identical concept. See also Ref. 1

Discussion

The Proxy can be a Business Analyst individual or group that has been analyzing the needs of the customer, or where developing a product for market, a Marketing Specialist individual or group that knows what potential customers want, what it’s worth to them, and what competitors can and cannot provide.  Unfortunately, the process of transferring this knowledge to the proxy takes time, though the knowledge can be organized and presented to the developers more effectively by a trained specialist.  The proxy can fit into the times the customer is available and gain the knowledge at his convenience, and can store the knowledge to be provided to the developers on demand.  The proxy may also take on the role of ProductChampion, though this may be held separate if the proxy needs to represent the needs of the project to the customer; there is a chance of conflict of interests that, though manageable, could bring the proxy’s loyalties into doubt.

Contra-Indications

Where a direct and adequate representative of the customer can be brought on site, the time between eliciting customer opinion and delivering a product can be shortened considerably.  In a competitive market, this can be crucial.  See CustomerOnSite.

References

1. Agile Requirements Challenge #1. Limited or No Access to Project Stakeholders