Agile Principle 1
The first principle of the manifesto states, "Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of a valuable product or service."
In other words... create customer value early and continuously.
This principle is about delivering value to the customer as quickly as possible - in contrast to a more traditional approach which focuses on providing a fully functional product or service at the end of a long creative cycle. However, this often means the customer has to wait months, if not years, to see tangible results. And even then, the product may not meet their needs or expectations.
This tells us straight away - "make the customer happy!". So our priority is to satisfy the customer, but how? We achieve this by delivering a valuable product or service early and regularly. The essence lies in the word "valuable". Valuable means the customer can use it, and it delivers some value to them.
This is often confused with the delivery of a "working" (functioning) product or service. However, valuable is more than just working. It must be useful and helpful, save time, save costs or help create revenue. Have you ever installed an App on your smartphone that was working (in the sense that it did not crash) but was also completely useless? No doubt you removed it immediately!
Conversely, Agile strongly emphasises the early and continuous delivery of a valuable product or service. This means breaking down the work cycle into smaller, more manageable chunks that can be delivered to the customer regularly. By doing so, the customer can see and use the product or service early on and provide feedback, which can influence the direction of the next steps.
The key here is delivering value to the customer. This means focusing on what the customer actually needs, not just what the team thinks they should have. Agile teams must work closely with the customer to understand their needs and priorities and then deliver a product that meets them.
So how do we ensure that we are delivering value to the customer? It all comes down to communication and collaboration. Agile teams must have an open and ongoing dialogue with the customer to ensure they deliver what the customer actually needs. This requires a willingness to be flexible, adapt to new learnings, and commit to continuous improvement.