Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Off Site Customer!?!?!?!?

A recent conversation thread I was involved in was discussing the use of tools vs. physical boards in agile teams and the question was raised - "What if the Product Owner is in a locale with a ten and half hour difference in time zones?"

I wanted to ask - why are you trying to break Grandma's recipe of having the customer on-site?

Remember the good old days of XP and the on-site customer? Why is the agile community now always trying to break Grandma’s recipe of an on-site customer (or Product Owner)? Why don’t we ship the product owner off shore to be with their team? Cost too high?

I guess it touches a bigger topic – the real cost of off shoring. In agile we can do away with specification documents because we have a product owner available throughout the delivery (and preferably on site). By not having your product owner in a time zone overlapping the delivery team’s time zone for a significant part of the day must surely represent a significant hindrance to delivery. It would be comparable to having a specification document that you are only allowed to reference for one hour a day and then it is not even an hour that is part of your working day. No tool is going to be able to solve that issue…

One of the (many) reasons I am not a fan of off shore development.

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