Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Aspergers/ASD and Agile software development: Part Two- Customer Collaboration

Part Two (Read Part One here) of my series on Aspergers/ASD & Agile focuses on the Agile value of Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation.

This sort of flexibility can be doubly hard for those on the ASD Spectrum as it involves responding to customer demands which can come in to play at any time AND devaluing the adherence to a plan which many on the Spectrum value as a method for knowing what is coming and what is required of them.

Still it does not have to be a job killer. As with the response to change issues a few simple things will help keep the ASD person sane.

First off, when considering a position, gauge what the response to a Customer request is. There are generally two forms of yes... there is "yes we will do whatever you want right now without question" and there is "Yes we can deliver that in such and such a time-frame and with this cost to already laid plans". The second method means that there is more support from the technology leadership on pushing back so it is not totally left up to you to deliver two impossible goals at the same time.

Second, keep in mind that the plan is to focus on Customer Collaboration and not the endpoint generated at the beginning. You are re-framing the concept of the plan in your mind so that you can expect the Collaboration rather than expect the original endpoint.

Third, Collaboration does not necessarily mean a bunch of face to face meetings. Set your needs/expectations up front that you work best with your chosen format (e-mail, defect/change system, etc.). If an employer is not willing to entertain that concept then they are not for you.

And fourth, like the responding to change, when the collaboration requires too many alterations to the sprint then the sprint should stop and a new round of planning done so that everyone is on the same page.

The customer collaboration certainly presents obstacles for ASD folk to overcome but they are not surmountable. Sometimes a little personal coaching will guide you through the rough spots... and other times you should just avoid the worst places altogether.

-->Part Three<--


  1. Good job for this informative article. So happens I used to work in an office which hired an ill person as a software engineer, and that guy turned up to be brilliant. So I think the employers should not block newcomers just for unimportant reasons such as diseases.

  2. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

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