Lean Customer Involvement : A Multiple Case Study on the Effects of Kanban on Customer Involvement
Customer involvement is an important, but challenging part of software development. Delays and failures can often be attributed to a lack of customer involvement. Different development methodologies provide different strategies for customer involvement, all with their own challenges. Kanban is a new development methodology quickly gaining popularity in the software development community. This thesis aims to answer the question: How does Kanban influence customer involvement?
The main problem formulation is split into three research questions related to the influence of Kanban on the customer-developer communication, customer representative role and customer-developer trust.
To answer the research questions, a multiple case study was conducted in three similar software development projects. A series of interviews were conducted with select team members representing both technical and functional resources.
The findings show that customer-developer communication, collaboration and trust have increased in all three cases after the introduction of Kanban. The customer representative role has seen several changes. The most visible change is that it is much more focused on providing continuous clarifications. User representatives have become more involved in the projects, in some cases taking over tasks previously held by the product owner. Kanban has increased transparency, mainly through the use of Kanban boards with WIP limits and a kaizen culture has been established in the teams. Productivity and quality have increased in all cases after adoption of Kanban.
The results of the case study show that Kanban has had a positive influence on customer involvement. The increased visibility has made issues with the process apparent and the kaizen culture has provided the team the opportunity to do something about it. The end result is a more customer- and user-driven software development process.