The Role of the Customer in an Agile Project: A Multi-case Study

  • Erno VanhalaEmail author
  • Jussi Kasurinen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 370)


In this multi-case study we report the findings from three software projects conducted with SCRUM agile development framework. Each project took approximately a little less than a year to design, develop and test before the launch to the user groups. All project vendors utilized SCRUM framework customized to suit their processes, and included customer as a participant in the overall process. Due to this fact, this study focuses on the role of the customer in daily life of an agile project. The findings show what is actually required from the customer – especially when the sprint length is only one week and the development process is very time-intensive. Although a one week sprint cycle can lead to improved efficiency it required a full time worker from the customer side and it burdened also the developers. Based on our observations, as the developer teams and customer were located in various places around Europe, smooth communication was a key for success. In all cases the asynchronous communication tools, such as Slack, were highly praised, although also direct communications were used to handle more complex issues. According to our findings, these agile projects did not have significant issues caused by the online communication being the preferred way of communication. All of the cases had difficulties in fitting the agile project to the fixed budget, but good collaboration, partnership and trust alleviated most of these problems.


Agile software development SCRUM Customer relationship Multi-case study 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tampere UniversityTampereFinland
  2. 2.LUT UniversityLappeenrantaFinland

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