A few weeks ago I was asked to explain Scrum and how our Agile Offshore Delivery Model works to one of our new sales guys.

During the session he asked me the question: "What does a client have to do to make a project done this way successful?"

I thought about it for a moment and started with a list from the top of my head.

They need to:

  • spend significant time during the project
  • be flexible
  • be available during the project for questions
  • review processes and procedures, especially for infrastructure management to support short iterational development
  • ...

When I took a step back from the whiteboard and looked over the list I realized that you could summarize that list into one simple word: Commitment.

If a company is truly committed to the success of a project, all of the above and all of the things I didn't put on that list yet are no issue.

Could it be this is why agile projects are more successful? It is next to impossible to even get an Agile project started without commitment from everyone involved. On the other hand it is fairly easy to get a non-agile project started without any real commitment. Throw some half-finished specifications and a bag of money at some people and except them to deliver exactly what you want when it is done.

Looking back on all the projects I have done in the past it seems there is a strong correlation between the commitment from clients and the successfulness of the project.

Which begs the question:"Is how we feel about this project even more important than how we do it?"

Any experiences are greatly appreciated in the comments.

/Erwin