By Brad Powell

You can get relationship advice nearly everywhere these days, it seems. And now I will be offering it at Agile 2014 on July 29 in Orlando.

agile2014 orlandoIt won't be that kind of relationship advice. My session focuses on Agile service providers and their prospects and customers. Negotiating the start of such a relationship can be tricky, so I believe it's best to approach it a little bit like we approach dating.

If you're attending Agile 2014, I'd love it if you came to the talk. It is scheduled for Tuesday, July 29 at 9 a.m. in the Naples room. Here's a longer desscription of the session:

When there is an existing relationship between an Agile service provider and their customer, a level of trust exists. The customer trusts that the provider will deliver. The provider trusts that the customer will be a good product owner. There is an openness that can only come with working together. It's sort of like being married.But what about providers and their customers/prospects that have no established relationship? Will the customer trust the provider to deliver on time and on budget? And what if the customer is not accustomed to using Agile? Will they trust you if you don't have a detailed project plan extending for 12 months with an accompanying Gantt chart? Beginning any new customer/vendor relationship can be daunting. Add unfamiliarity with Agile into the mix and it may seem like a giant leap of faith.

So the big question is, how do you get to a state of trust and openness? How do you get to that married-like state?

The answer: you date first.

This session will cover concepts and teach you how to 'date' in your new Agile relationship. Specific topics covered in this session are:

• Taking the Long Term View
• Establishing Initial Match
• Educating on Value vs. Scope
• Putting Your Best Foot Forward
• Getting to Know You
• Sometimes It Helps to Have a Chaperone
• Delivering Value Early

As we cover each topic, we will integrate the story of a successful match between a supplier of bespoke software and their client: a financial services firm. We will focus especially on insights and recommendations from our experience of establishing an initial trust and working relationship. The lessons of this session are applicable to customer/external supplier relationships, and are equally applicable to customer/internal supplier relationships that exist in larger organizations.