Thursday, March 14, 2024

What does the 4th Agile Principle (Business and Development Work Together) look like in Action?

Many want to go Agile or claim to be Agile. The question is, are you and will you align with the Agile values and principles? In this article, I expand on the fourth principle to better understand what it means and attempt to identify what evidence looks like to determine if a culture change may be occurring. What is this principle?  

Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. Agile attempts to bring an understanding of business value to the development team and the technical choices and challenges to the business side. To do this, it attempts to integrate business and development as one team. In traditional approaches, there is often little interaction between the business (e.g., product management, sales, and marketing) and development (aka, cross-functional technical team). On the business side, this may be the Product Manager or Business Owner. Scrum introduces the Product Owner (PO) role and XP introduces the Customer role as the bridge between the customer and the development team. These roles allow for a closer embodiment of the business and development team spirit and avoid fiefdoms and throwing work “over the wall” from one group to another with little interaction. 

The intent is to make a sincere effort to build a collaborative and amicable yet productive relationship between business and development. Development benefits from a better understanding of what the customer finds valuable. The business side benefits because development will ask for details that the business may not have thought about. In both cases, the result is a product that more closely aligns with what the customer finds valuable. What actions and evidence exhibit business people and developers working together?

  • An established and productive relationship between business/customers and development
  • A dedicated business owner who works continuously with the development team. 
  • Development comprises a cross-functional team with developers, testers, technical writers, designers, and so on. 
  • The business owner with the development team work together during iterative planning to build a mutual understanding of the requirements of what to build. 
  • The development team demos the working product to the business owner and customers to gain feedback to better align with customer value. 
  • The development team can reach out to the business owner whenever needed throughout the project lifecycle.   

It is up to you to determine what supporting evidence will highlight that continuous integration, build, test, and frequent delivery is occurring. It is worth experimenting with this as it will help you better understand and embrace the Agile principles. The ultimate question is, do you believe that business and development should work continuously together as a team?


To learn more about what the Agile Principles look like in Action, consider reading: