When there is an existing relationship between an Agile service provider and their customer, a level of trust exists. The customer trusts that the provider will deliver. The provider trusts that the customer will be a good product owner. There is an openness that can only come with working together. It’s sort of like being married.

But what about providers and their customers/prospects that have no established relationship? Will the customer trust the provider to deliver on time and on budget? And what if the customer is not accustomed to using Agile? Will they trust you if you don’t have a detailed project plan extending for 12 months with an accompanying Gantt chart? Beginning any new customer/vendor relationship can be daunting. Add unfamiliarity with Agile into the mix and it may seem like a giant leap of faith.

So the big question is, how do you get to a state of trust and openness? How do you get to that married-like state?

The answer: you date first.

This session will cover concepts and teach you how to 'date' in your new Agile relationship. Specific topics covered in this session are:

  • Taking the Long Term View
  • Establishing Initial Match
  • Start Small
  • Educating and Communicating
  • Putting Your Best Foot Forward
  • Sometimes It Helps to Have a Chaperone
  • Set and Ask for Expectations
  • Own Your Mistakes
  • Get to Know Them

As we cover each topic, we will integrate the real life stories and examples. We will focus especially on insights and recommendations from our experience of establishing an initial trust and working relationship. The lessons of this session are applicable to customer/external supplier relationships, and are equally applicable to customer/internal supplier relationships that exist in larger organizations.

This session was presented at Agile 2014 with the presenters Brad Powell and Nathaniel Cadwell.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

While a fair amount has been written or presented on the subject of Agile contracts, this session will attempt to answer a question we’ve often heard: “How do I get started?” We make the tongue in cheek observation that the process of establishing trust with a new customer is a bit like dating. In the process of recounting the inception of a successful new Agile engagement, we’ll share some insights and recommendations with attendees. While this session is a talk in format, we intend to make it interactive by asking participants to share their own experiences and reflect on the material presented.

There will be a co-presenter for this session.

  1. Introduction (10 minutes)
  2. Taking the Long Term View (5 minutes)
  3. Establishing Initial Match (5 minutes)
  4. Start Small (5 minutes)
  5. Educating and Communicating (5 minutes)
  6. Putting Your Best Foot Forward (5 minutes)
  7. Sometimes It Helps to Have a Chaperone (5 minutes)
  8. Set and Ask for Expectations (5 minutes)
  9. Own Your Mistakes (5 minutes)
  10. Get to Know Them (5 minutes)
  11. Tie it All Together (5 minutes)


Learning Outcome

  • Understand the perspective of both sides: customer and supplier
  • Know how to recognize a good match
  • Specify knowledge gaps, and know how to address them
  • Understand expectations that both sides have
  • Identify specific actions that establish trust over time

Target Audience

Product Owners, Customers, Vendors, Suppliers

schedule Submitted 5 years ago