CHOW #281 – Customer does not want continuous delivery

Mike is a highly experienced product manager in E-CRM, large enterprise software organization. E-CRM has been successful over the last 15 years in selling their enterprise grade CRM solution to businesses primarily in their premises. E-CRM’s leadership has launched an initiative to re-position E-CRM as a Cloud Solution and is promoting continuous delivery in a release-less world.

Mike is really concerned about this initiative because many of his customers prefer less frequent releases – in fact, some of them would like to go back to annual releases instead of the current half-yearly release frequency. He foresees major resistance from his customers on the planned move to monthly or fortnightly releases. He comes to you as his unit’s agile coach and complains that “leadership is not being customer-focused and that is an agile anti-pattern”.

What would be your response to Mike?

Suggested Solution

Mike has a valid concern and is definitely speaking for his customers. There are three key messages that the coach needs to get across to Mike. First is the underlying organizational vision behind the initiative. He would have heard about it from the leadership but often vision needs reinforcement at individual level. Secondly, customers are conditioned to work with major half-yearly releases within their eco-system and they need to be educated on the benefits of the cloud model and be guided to change their consumption patterns. It may also make financial sense for the customers to move to a subscription-based solution. Thirdly, transformation to a cloud-based continuous delivery is a journey and a hybrid model is likely to stay for a period of time to help customers to adapt.

What do you think?

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