2009-12-15 Agile Customer Development

Jim Murphy
VP Development at PostRank
Tuesday December 15, 2009
4:30 to 6:00 pm
Accelerator Centre
295 Hagey Blvd., Waterloo
[Map]

Jim lead a “Customer Development” discussion in this new-ish Silicon Valley trend for putting agile in the context of a startup.  Traditional agile relies on there being a product owner or “customer” that can provide certainty on the definition/prioritization of the backlog.  In a startup, that certainty doesn’t exist, so if it’s your job to maintain the backlog you’re in for a world of pain.  Customer development helps put the job of figuring out what should be built on the same footing as agile process that describes how something should be built.  Although this topic is particularly relevant for start-ups, exposure to customer development is really helpful for agile practitioners in any product development company, since almost no one has a cut-and-dried customer to serve as product owner.

Jim posted the presentation slides on slideshare.

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2 Comments on “2009-12-15 Agile Customer Development”


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Waterloo Startups and Waterloo Tech Daily, Accelerator Centre. Accelerator Centre said: Tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon at the AC: Jim Murphy on Agile Customer Development http://bit.ly/6DfZ9o […]

  2. dpwhelan Says:

    Jim gave a great presentation with some very witty and insightful one lines. Two of my favourites were:

    ‘In many startups fine tuning your agile development is re-arranging the the deck chairs.’

    ‘Customer development is what you hope your marketing department is doing. What they’re actually doing is designing the tee shirts and mugs.’

    What I really got from the presentation is that for startup situations, where the product is highly unknown agile/lean practices need to be extended beyond product development. See the presentation and the references on the last slide for more info.


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