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AgilePM 06: Collaboration

Business people are a vital part of any project. However, the way in which they are involved in the process differs between Agile and Waterfall methodologies. More specifically, in Predictive methodologies they are heavily involved at the beginning of the project and in the closing of the process, whereas in Agile methodologies they are involved throughout the project, during each developmental stage.

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Their participation takes place during the Specify and Test phases of each development cycle. This is why, in Agile projects we need to have access to business people throughout the development process.

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This means that, unlike for predictive systems, in Agile projects you cannot afford involving busy business representatives. Their presence is needed in order for the optimum product to be reached. One thing that should be avoided is the “Us vs. Them” relationship that is found in some companies between stakeholders, business people on the one side and management and technical people on the other. This is detrimental to the ultimate, common goal of reaching the objectives of the project.

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For this reason in Agile it is needed to bring these parties together in active cooperation, creating a one-team culture. This is because with collaboration, the understanding and speed is vastly increased and a sense of shared ownership is created, this allowing the teams to work together much better than if the team members worked individually.

We used a new term above, stakeholders. A stakeholder is any person who has an interest in the project and has the ability to influence it (e.g., customers, suppliers, competitors, etc.). As you can see, in most systems there are three types of stakeholders: business people, management people, and technical people. Importantly, in DSDM we have a fourth category: process oriented people. These stakeholders are merged with management people in other methodologies.

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Bringing these four categories of stakeholders working closing together is what is called collaboration in Agile, this representing one of the DSDM principles.