We are starting to use Scrum in some of our projects. I'm not involved in these projects directly but am providing support from our PMO. One concern that has arisen regards user testing. We have heard from the customers regarding user testing - how can they judge the validity of testing incremental sprints deliverables without at that time knowing the full picture?
Is this a genuine concern? If the sprint delivers the stated objecives is the big picture not relevant? Has anyone else had this issue at all?
Yes, this is definitely a concern. In a process that I employ, as soon as we know about a new version of a product is going into development, we begin education. We want each tester to be an expert in the software so that the customer is confident that their interests are being considered in the testing of the product.
At the VERY least there should be one or two people who are subject matter experts who can act as champions for the product and ensure that appropriate testing is taking place.
When I first started this process, this was one of the main reasons I did start it. This about what you're saying. You're saying that currently UAT takes place at the end of your current development cycle, but they're not sure how to fit into your current iterative model. I actually didn't think of this until I sat down and did exactly what you're trying to do now
Think about it, currently you COULD be testing all the wrong stuff for a project that may last a year or more. Then you give it to a customer who tests it for a day and tells you that you've got it completely wrong. So they, effectively, derail a year-long project and set you back months after a single review. Now, of course, that's exaggerating, too. But it isn't far off in some cases. Think of iterative development as an opportunity for the customer. They SHOULD be able to see something representative of a final product every iteration, meaning they can keep better track of where you are with it. However, also, keeping people educated and having them be experts on the product is a really big deal with this sort of development.