When businesses and clients get too caught up in contract details, they lose focus on what’s important in real-world projects and products.

We’ve all seen it: construction projects with rigid contracts that lead to low build quality materials because of unexpected cost hikes; healthcare, software that doesn’t fit what nurses and doctors need; and schools stuck with learning platforms that don’t really help students, all because of a fixed contract. From construction to education and beyond, sticking too closely to contracts can stifle innovation and trust, making projects less successful.

Focusing on “Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation,” as the Agile Manifesto suggests, leads to better outcomes for everyone involved.

The Essence of Agile: A People-Centric Approach

At the heart of Agile lies a simple yet powerful idea: people matter more than processes. The mindset proposes, “Hey, let’s communicate with each other instead of being overwhelmed by a complex contract.” This people-centric approach is what makes Agile not a methodology but a shift in how we think about work.

Agile Coaches believe in Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools, as well as working closely with customers. These values, along with the 12 Agile Principles, can greatly improve your team’s performance.

Imagine a team that’s more like a jazz band than a traditional orchestra. In a jazz band, there’s a structure, sure, but there’s also a lot of improv. Members listen to each other and play off the vibes, creating something unique and beautiful in the moment.

That’s Agile. It’s about giving teams the freedom to innovate, to make decisions close to the ground where the action is, and to keep the dialogue open and flowing with the people who’ll actually use what they’re creating.

This isn’t about throwing contracts out the window. Instead, building relationships on trust and mutual respect, where agreements serve as a starting point, not a straitjacket, is essential.

The Role of the Scrum Team in Customer Collaboration

The Scrum Team drives Agile development (not just software development, but any solution development), with each role playing a unique part in building a collaborative relationship with customers.

Product Owner (PO): The Customer’s Advocate

The PO ensures the product vision aligns with customer needs and feedback. By keeping in touch with customers, the Product Owner can easily change the product plan to fit new priorities or opportunities. This helps the team focus on creating valuable features.

How does a Product Owner do this? They get up and go! A good Product Owner travels to meet with customers and uses technology to address their needs and challenges effectively. This fosters the kind of relationships that ensure tremendous value creation by the team.

Scrum Master (SM): The Collaboration Catalyst

Your Scrum Master helps the team work well together and follow Agile practices. They create a space where the team can quickly adapt to customer feedback. They facilitate events that center on customer insights and transparent communication.

Developers: The Solution Crafters

Developers bring customer needs to life through problem solving. In working with customers, they focus on understanding why they do what they do to create better, more relevant solutions. Developers can make informed decisions and propose innovative solutions by actively participating in discussions about customer feedback.

So, remember that traveling your Product Owner does? Consider including your developers on those trips. Or, bring your customers and Developers together. Feedback sessions help connect people with problems to those who will solve them effectively.


The benefits of customer collaboration extend far beyond the immediate improvements to a single product. Improving customer loyalty, reducing wasted effort, and creating a sustainable business model are all benefits of these ripples in the market. This Agile value emphasizes the idea of working together to create meaningful solutions, rather than following strict contracts and specifications. It focuses on being flexible, responsive, and building strong relationships throughout the product development process.

You have the training.
Now you need the job.

Unlock your potential with our new course: ‘How to Build an Agile Resume’. Dive into impactful lessons, gain exclusive insights, and join our Launch Party!


Leave a Comment

Related Posts

A young Jedi looking at himself in the mirror, seeing an older wiser version of himself with experience

Experience vs Certifications: The Agile Dilemma

Oh, what joy! Another day, another credential. You’ve just added a shiny new set of letters behind your name, thinking

May 3, 2024
Corey Stewart

Navigating Agile Transformation with Generative AI 

As we continue to witness unprecedented growth and transformation in technology, the potential for Generative AI (GenAI) to revolutionize Agile

May 2, 2024
Denise Jarvie
Retrospective Toolkit

Retrospective Toolkit

Explore our Retrospective Toolkit to enhance Scrum sessions, address challenges, and improve team dynamics for continuous growth and efficiency.
April 29, 2024
McCaul Baggett

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer

Explore how Agile prioritizes customer satisfaction through early and continuous delivery of valuable products, adapting beyond software to various industries.
April 25, 2024
Chris Sims

Responding to Change over Following a Plan

Explore the Agile value of Responding to Change over Following a Plan, and learn how to adapt quickly in a
April 18, 2024
Chris Sims

Working Product over Comprehensive Documentation

Prioritize working product over comprehensive documentation to create solutions that solve real human problems.
April 11, 2024
Corey Stewart

Elevate Your Agility

Join our free weekly coaching tips
Unlock your potential with free, bite-sized Agile training and coaching delivered straight to your inbox. Learn from leaders with practical experience in Agility.
Scroll to Top