We get this question asked a lot by our customers. Some are asking because they want to know what could possibly produce so much quality work, others because they want to know if they can trust us. Either way, it’s a common consideration for anyone choosing a vendor. If you can’t wrap your head around the path your money takes on the road to Creativitytown, you’re not likely to part with it anytime soon.
Most “process” decisions made by the company tend to focus on reverse-engineering the most successful project in existence. As crazy as it sounds, it can be a useful took for discovering what teams are capable of in the right situation. Problem is, the right situation is rarely repeatable.
Customers need different things at different times. Teams vary in size, velocity and preference. So if there are incomparable variables on each side of the equation, how are we to expect that using the same process will provide stability?
What would be honest is to tell customers that you don’t really have a process because of those very reasons. If you are forced to do work for them the exact way as before, there’s no way you can guarantee the success of the project.
Of course, you can’t do that. Answering the question in that manner would leave clients so dumbfounded, running away screaming would seem logical. Instead, you perform a ritualistic song and dance with jazz hands to get the customer to sign on the dotted line. Please tell me I’m not the only one that sees the folly in this methodology.
You might be successful during execution. I’m experienced enough to know there is the possibility you may hit a home run and seem like a genius to your client. Unfortunately, the probability of this happening is low enough to make you wonder why you ever dreamed of doing it.
Be honest about your process. Let customers know that instead of shoehorning them into the mold they need to fit into for your idea of success, you want to tailor your process to what fits them. If they require a regimented Scrum approach with defined requirements, sized user stories and clockwork ceremonies, you can easily pull it off. If they have a less stringent view of scope and release schedule, you can really test the boundaries of possibility and reach for the moon.
Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and XP all lend themselves to this solution in various flavors. Wouldn’t it generate more confidence in your results and properly frame expectations if you look at each project as an individual work of art and paint the canvas as needed?