Internal stakeholders (also affectionately known as The Business) are never customers. A lot of people in IT organizations have this misconception. While they are usually the people with the budgets that define that needs to be build, but that does not make them customers.
Customer are people who are paying money to your company for goods and/or services.
It will lead to very distorted relationships with both your stakeholders and your customers.
Here is why.
It reduces you to a cost center
If the business is the department making money, you only cost money. So the only thing they are interested in is getting more features for less money. You see this when important metrics are velocity and $/storypoints. What you want is an honest discussion how IT can help creating value for your true customers.
You are pleasing the wrong people
You are pleasing your internal stakeholders instead of the people who are paying good money to your company. And the real shocker?
Your business is probably not talking to a lot of customers. They most likely spend most of their time talking to potential customers. People that have not bought your software yet, but are really going to switch once these 2 new features are implemented.
And just in case you are thinking: “But my application is not for customers, it is for internal use only“. Being a user of an application still does not make them a customer. In this cases it is ever more important to really know who your customer is. Most likely you are doing little or nothing to help them. It is great that you are writing a fancy application to show real-time statistics about some key performance indicator, but if no customer is going to benefit you should be stop right about now.
So always keep in mind who your real customer is. And as a handy trick: If they are getting their paycheck from the same bank account, it is certainly impossible for them to be one.Tags: cost center, customer, IT, users