Measuring Customer Delight Though User Stories

Extracted 01FEB2012 from

Making money and corporate survival now depend not merely on satisfying customers but on delighting them. To prosper, firms must offer a continuing supply of new value and deliver it sooner. The new bottom line of business is: is the customer delighted? As Umair Haque has pointed out in The New Capitalist Manifesto, it’s a fundamental shift from outputs to outcomes.

Once the goal of each work team shifts to that of delighting clients, the definition of work moves from an abstract adding up of “things delivered” to an understanding of “the quality of the customer experience”. The questions become: What is going on in the world of the customers? What is their current experience like? How could that experience be different as a result of what we can accomplish during a cycle of work? What can do that would eliminate irritation or enhance delight?

Capturing these elements takes the form of a user story. Stories catalyze our understanding by providing direct access to other people’s actions, thoughts and feelings. They enable us to climb out of our own self-centered world and see things from someone else’s perspective. With that understanding, we can begin to imagine what kind of a product or service will be likely to delight them.

...the opportunity for everyone to participate elicits new insights and inspiration to contribute to the complex goal of delighting the client... The written version of the user story is less important than the conversations surrounding the story...

The transformation occurs, and the huge benefits come, when the management deploys user stories as the primary measure of progress of the work, ahead of outputs.