Gathering customer feedback
During and after the Sprint, Scrum Teams need to find ways to gather feedback from actual customers. Internal stakeholders are not actual customers, and though they usually have strong affinity for customers, internal stakeholder feedback is not a substitute for actual customer feedback.
The short time duration of a Sprint makes it challenging for some teams to gather feedback from real customers. However, there are a variety of techniques that Scrum Teams can use to improve the quality and frequency of customer feedback.
A few different techniques to try are:
- Building feedback mechanisms into the product. This provides the Scrum Team with real usage data and can be done by recording how people use the product and what they achieve by using the product. Keep in mind that customers have legitimate concerns over personal information, so data should always be anonymized, and customers should always have the option to opt-out.
- Conducting surveys and interviews. Information about subjective experiences can provide information that mere usage data cannot. For example, they can help the Scrum Team learn about how the customer feels about using the product and how well (or poorly) the product meets their needs. Keep in mind that surveys can be expensive to conduct and analyze while also time-consuming for customers, and interviews even more so. Teams should use them sparingly when they want to dive deeper into questions raised by usage data. This helps them keep surveys and interviews focused and cost and time effective.
- Observing customers directly. Actually watching how customers are using the product, and asking them questions about what they are trying to achieve and how well they are able to achieve it, is often the most useful way to understand how to help customers achieve their goals, but it is also the most expensive and intrusive of the approaches outlined here. Used sparingly, and informed by the other approaches, it can yield new insights that can help future planning. It can also help to challenge and improve Product and Sprint Goals.
Data gathered from customers during the Sprint helps inform Sprint Reviews, even though that data is often based on work done by the Scrum Team in prior Sprints. Having fresh data about customer experiences and preferences is always useful as it may help to inform current Product Goals, future Sprint Goals, or product priorities through Product Backlog Refinement.