Customer delight in a cost-of-delay model?

Two authors who have had recent away over me are Steve Denning and Don Reinertsen.

Denning’s focus on the changes needed in management in order for business to thrive much less survive are interesting. Given that I’ve spent the past seven years in a variety of IT leadership positions that have all involved agile methods, perhaps my admiration of Denning is too easy; he looks at managers with Agile experience as the potential next leaders of business as a whole.

Reinertsen’s statistical and mathematical focus on product development flow have given me a vocabulary to express many things I previously only had understood intuitively.

One of the key tenets of Denning is to focus on customer delight. Effectively, this is a rebellion against the popular management theory of recent time that all focus should be on shareholder value.

Then we have Reinertsen’s number one principle of using an economic model to make all product development decisions. One of the primary methods he supports is cost of delay.

Although I’ve recently seen Denning’s key tenet rephrased something to the effect of “focus on customer delight in an economically responsible way“, I still struggle trying to rationalize focusing on customer delight while utilizing an economic model for decision making.  Is it possible to come up with economic variables to represent projected customer delight in a cost-of-delay model?

One thought on “Customer delight in a cost-of-delay model?”

  1. Hi Peter,

    Thanks for the link!

    Your post expresses a key paradox of Product Development that many struggle with. We know we should be focusing on the customer but we also need to keep in mind the economic tradeoffs we have to make in product development. Ultimately, insufficient profit makes it very difficult to sustain any sort of focus on the customer.

    For the most part, these two shouldn’t be in conflict and I attempt to align them here:


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