Focus the organization on the customer

State of mind

The choices and means must be linked to the satisfaction of the Customer

State of mind
Agility Maturity Cards > State of mind
Focus the organization on the customer

The concept of customer-centric organisations

The subject of a customer-centric organisation dates back to at least 1954 with the work of Peter Drucker [Drucker 1954]. Thus, the company must often transform itself from a product-centred organisation to a customer-centred organisation. In this respect, the standard [ISO9000 2005] places "customer orientation" at the top of its eight principles, because "organisations depend on their customers, so they need to understand their present and future needs".

Thus, adopting a customer-oriented approach is essential for a product to find its market and flourish in its sector. Without such an approach, the chances of success can become ridiculous even if the product is perfectly designed.

This transformation involves changes at different levels [Shah 2006] :

  • the behaviour and culture centred on a common value where every decision is agreed with the customer and everyone comes to carry the voice of the customer within the organisation and a result-oriented culture [Ulwick 2005]
  • the organisational structure where functional silos are progressively eliminated and the notion of "Value Stream" is used [SAFe 2021-21]
  • processes which are then adapted to the typology of the clients
  • financial metrics that define the orientation of the customers and the capital they represent for the company

When an agile company tries to get to know its customers, the role of the Product Owner (PO) is then involved to carry the voice of the customer within the team. The customer mindset can then be captured by tools such as :

  • Design Thinking [Lewrick 2018]
  • Empathy Map [Gray 2009]
  • Lean UX [Gothelf 2013]
  • Lean Startup [Ries 2012]

also allow the link between what the customer seems to want and what needs to be done.

Once captured, this voice can then be imported into the code and testing with the notion of ubiquitous language.

Some companies decide to get so close to their customers that 'growth hacking' techniques based on user psychology are then used to trap each user in a phenomenon akin to addiction [Eyal 2014] [Ellis 2017].

Application to testing maturity

There are many testing practices related to the voice of the customer and this is obvious as the tester is the first look at the finished product before the company's Business Owners.

Among these practices, we find in particular that of the Persona, which makes it possible to make the link between types of customers from marketing and the use that the tester will have of the product [Moustier 2019-1].

A strong relationship with customers allows us to go even further with Customer Journey Mapping [Kalbach 2020] and techniques from the DevOps culture allow the implementation of A/B testing and Canary releasing.

The idea behind the Lean Startup, Lean UX, A/B Testing or Customer Journey Mapping approaches is Argyris' notion of a Double Loop Learning [Argyris 1977]. Indeed, the tests relating to a series of requirements constitute a first feedback loop and it is necessary to introduce a second loop of higher rank in order to have a product that does not simply comply with the requirements but approaches the "good product", the one expected by the market [Moustier 2020].

Agilitest's positioning on customer-centric organisations

Agilitest's positioning is clearly on the conformity of a product to requirements and the organisation must absolutely introduce a higher order learning loop in order to improve the chances of obtaining a good product through a global view on the product.

To discover the whole set of practices, click here.

To go further

  • [Argyris 1977] : Chris Argyris - « Double Loop Learning in Organizations » - Harvard Business Review - SEP/1977 -
  • [Drucker 1954] : Peter Drucker - 1954 - “The Practice of Management” - New York: HarperCollins
  • [Ellis 2017] : Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown - FEV 2017 - “Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success” - ISBN 9780451497215
  • [Eyal 2014] : Nir Eyal - « Hooked - how to build habit-forming products » - Portfolio Penguin - 2014 - ISBN : 978-0-241-18483-7
  • [Gothelf 2013] : Jeff Gothelf & Josh Seiden - « Lean UX - Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience » - O’Reilly - ISBN: 978-1-449-31165-0
  • [Gray 2009] : Dave Gray - « Empathy Map » - 12/NOV/2009 - 
  • [ISO9000 2005] : ISO - SEP 2005 - « Système de management de la qualité - principes essentiels et vocabulaire »
  • [Kalbach 2020] : James Kalbach - NOV 2020 - “Mapping Experiences” - ISBN 9781492076605
  • [Lewrick 2018] : Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link & Larry Leifer - « The Design Thinking Playbook Mindful digital transformation of teams, products, services, businesses and ecosystems » - Wiley - 2018 - ISBN 978-1-119-46747-2
  • [Moustier 2019-1] : Christophe Moustier – JUN 2019 – « Le test en mode agile » - ISBN 978-2-409-01943-2
  • [Ries 2012] : Eric Ries - « Lean start-up » - Pearson - 2012 - ISBN 978-2744065088
  • [SAFe 2021-21] : SAFe - FEV 2021 - “Operational Value Streams” - 
  • [Shah 2006] : Denish Shah, Roland T. Rust, A. Parasuraman, Richard Staelin & George S. Day - NOV 2006 - “The Path to Customer Centricity” - 
  • [Ulwick 2005] : Anthony Ulwick - SEP 2005 - “What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services” - ISBN 9780071501125
© Christophe Moustier - 2021