Agile Principles #4: Why Business People and Developers Must Collaborate Daily

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Agile Principles #4: Why Business People and Developers Must Collaborate Daily

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Have you ever wondered why some projects succeed seamlessly while others face constant challenges and delays? The answer may lie in the fourth Agile Principle that underpins successful project management. The fourth principle states:

“Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.”

In our past blogs, we have discussed the three principles of the Agile Manifesto. Today’s blog is exclusively for the fourth principle. Let's continue the Learning as we explore what this principle means, its significance in Agile-based organizations, and how applying it can lead to more successful project outcomes.

What Does the Fourth Principle Mean?

The fourth Agile principle emphasizes the necessity of continuous collaboration between business stakeholders and developers throughout the project lifecycle. Traditional project management often experiences a gap between those who define requirements and those who implement them, leading to misunderstandings and delays. Agile methodologies, like Scrum, aim to bridge this gap by fostering regular communication and collaboration.

How Can Organizations Apply Agile Principle No. 4?

Adapting the fourth principle helps organizations align their Agile Teams with clear transparency. But how to do so? Even today, many organizations struggle with the implementation process. Here are a few techniques that can be useful to maintain a proper alignment between business and developers.

Implementation of Agile Roles:

Every Scrum Project requires a Scrum Master, a Product Owner, and Developers. These are crucial cogs in the wheel of Agile implementation. They coordinate with each other in the Scrum Team to maintain a consistent delivery.  Organizations must define these roles to suitable employees accordingly!

Availability of a Product Owner:

One effective way to implement this principle is identify a Product Owner who is knowledgeable on the business domain, and is available for the Developers. So that they can work together regularly throughout the product development efforts.

Sprint Review Meetings:

These sessions where the working Increments are reviewed with stakeholders – provide a platform for the Scrum Team, including business people, to synchronize product requirements, share progress, and identify potential roadblocks. This Sprint level interaction ensures everyone is on the same page, fostering transparency and understanding of user expectations.

Participation In Sprint Planning and Product Backlog Refinement:

During Sprint planning and Product Backlog Refinement sessions, involving stakeholders and subject matter experts in discussions about priorities and expectations. This ensures that Developers understand the business goals behind each task and fosters a shared vision for the Sprint. Collaborative planning reduces the risk of misalignment and allows for adjustments based on real-time feedback.

Teams Training and Agile Workshops:

Empower both business people and developers through Training Sessions and Workshops. By enhancing their understanding of Agile principles, they can better appreciate each other's roles and perspectives. This shared knowledge promotes a culture of collaboration and helps break down silos between different functional areas.

Open Communication Channels:

Create an open Slack channel or another communication tool to facilitate continuous communication. This shared space allows stakeholders from various departments, including product and marketing. Business representatives and product stakeholders stay informed about the project's progress. It encourages them to ask questions, provide feedback, and actively participate in decision-making.

Visual Representation of Teams:

Develop a visual representation of the project team, including developers and colleagues from different departments. This visual aid helps everyone understand the interconnectedness of roles and fosters a sense of collective ownership. It goes beyond the official org chart, emphasizing collaboration over hierarchy.

What's the Benefit of Working Together?

Collaboration between business people and developers yields numerous benefits. Firstly, a common understanding of the Product Vision minimizes misunderstandings. Further, here are the other advantages:

  • Quick Understanding: Accelerates establishing a shared understanding of project design and purpose, minimizing misunderstandings.
  • Conflict Reduction: Active collaboration reduces conflicts by promoting open communication and fostering a culture of collective ownership.
  • Technical Insights: Developers provide valuable technical insights, aiding informed decision-making by business stakeholders on project requirements.
  • Timely Adjustments: Regular feedback facilitates prompt adjustments, ensuring the final product aligns seamlessly with evolving user needs.
  • Discovering Real Needs: When exposed to a tangible product during system planning and design, users identify their actual needs.
  • Incremental Building: Incremental development allows for adaptability, addressing issues early, and enhancing the overall quality of the product.
  • Cost Efficiency: Iterative approaches result in a more valuable product developed at a lower cost, optimizing resource utilization.
  • Time Savings: Shorter time frames for development are achieved through continuous collaboration, expediting project completion.

Regular feedback on work in progress allows for timely adjustments, ensuring the final product aligns with user needs. This iterative approach results in a more valuable product, developed at a lower cost, in a shorter time frame, and with reduced conflicts.

Summing Up:

The fourth Agile principle underscores the importance of daily collaboration between business people and developers throughout a project's lifecycle. Embracing this principle fosters transparency, understanding, and adaptability, leading to successful project outcomes. 

As you embark on your Agile journey, consider the comprehensive Agile Training and Coaching services offered by PremierAgile, a leading platform for Agile Practitioners. Stay tuned for our next blog, where we explore the fifth principle of the Agile Manifesto.




Is a passionate learner and blogger on Agile, Scrum and Scaling areas. She has been following and practicing these areas for several years and now converting those experiences into useful articles for your continuous learning.