When users don’t want to be agile

It is said that agile methods are created mainly with the user in mind. They are user-centric approaches. Yet I have one project where the users are the most reluctant to join the process!

Here’s the story: We’re doing a complete visual overhaul of one of our software packages and we want users to test as early as possible. So, as usual, we have a staging server that is updated every two weeks. Our users say they can’t use that, they don’t have time for testing.

So we set it up so users can work either on the new or on the old user interface, both working on the same database. Essentially, users can choose which interface to use for their daily work. But someone has to test whether this tandem approach works, so we have two test systems, one with the old, one with the new interface.

Users tell us they don’t have time to test that.

So we are kicking this into production immediately, skipping user feedback, skipping user testing. They can, in production, soon choose which interface to use. Can you guess what I think will happen? They’ll say they don’t have time to use the new interface.

What they’re saying right now is: When will we be able to test that? And what we’re saying is: You can test every two weeks, the staging server is always up to date with the latest code. And they say: Oh, we don’t have time to test that!

So the idea is now that we have a formal testing phase (!!!) at the end of a Scrum project, before going in production. They want to focus testing on two weeks of the year instead of testing for half an hour every two weeks.

It’s their call, but I think that when users resist user-centric processes, something is wrong, isn’t it?

Have you encountered projects where users are the most resistant to adapt to a Scrum process? What did you do then? Discuss 🙂

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