Internal Clients, or "How to feel the love"
I've mentioned before that we are blessed with a very accommodating customer where I currently collect a paycheque. He interacts with the team a minimum of once a day at our daily stand-ups and attends almost every other meeting we ask him to. And he has the power to make decisions, most of which are made on the spot (which is sometimes bad, but for the most part good).
But sometimes I feel like we take his time and contribution for granted. We're all very appreciative and polite to him but on a couple of occasions I've sensed a bit of frustration on his part. Not with our progress which has been pretty good. More with little one-off conversations. Like the way we'll try to nail him down on priorities when he has other things he feels are more important. Or how we'll ask him a question and not offer guidance or suggestions on how things are done in other applications.
I can't point to any specific instances of this because my memory sucks when it comes to things I don't feel I need to remember. And I should mention that I believe our relationship with him as a team is nothing short of stellar. I'm just left with some vague impression that, in a couple of instances, he was uncomfortable with something but wasn't quite sure what it was or whether he should bring it up.
My guess is, we could be asking him, "how do you think things are going in general?" more often. And not at a sprint review meeting in front of the entire team. Just one person from the development team walking with him to the elevator after the daily stand-up to talk with him on a more subjective level. Or someone inviting him to coffee in the afternoon every two or three weeks just to see if there are any pain points he's feeling off the record. It would also give us a chance to show appreciation for his efforts. He is, after all, paying for us to play with some cool, bloggable technology.
I'm not going to go into a whole spiel on relationships with your client. If you're the type of person I think/assume/expect you are, you know better than to take your client for granted. But the moral is: be nice to your customer. Within reason and within your own situation's context, of course. Not every customer will be so cooperative and/or available. If you are heading for the comments button to recount stories about your own Franken-client, make sure you can honestly say you've tried your best to make him or her happy first.
And I don't just mean with the software you've built.
Kyle the Sentimental