For many customers software development is a black box process, feature requests go in and completed software comes out. They don’t have the technical background in order to understand the details and in most cases the development team prefers it this way. The customer can be left feeling helpless with traditional software development. Agile engages the customer throughout the development lifecycle, providing enhanced visibility, therefore enhancing their overall comfort level.
In Scrum, for example, the customer (aka Product Owner) is engaged throughout the development lifecycle. In the beginning of the project they are involved in the Sprint Planning meeting. During this meeting they negotiate with the development team regarding what will be built and when. Every day they can get a feel for the team’s progress by attending the Daily Scrum meeting. They are also involved in real-time requirements gathering conversations as the team develops features. At the end of the Sprint they are involved in the Sprint Review meeting where they get to see their vision come-to-life and share their feedback. In addition to these avenues of visibility, the project manager can also share burn-down charts and information radiators with the Product Owner. All-in-all the customer has enhanced visibility into the inner workings of the software development lifecycle with Agile.