Today I had a meeting with the customer that I consider a victorious event. I was thrown into an iteration to address some backlog items this week. I have about a month to do this, so I started out working with the customer to refine the product backlog items for this iteration.
The product in question is an internal application and the customers are another department within the organization. I have seen some of this application before, but I am generally unfamiliar with the workflow and the terminology involved. We began by getting me up to speed with the workflow. Next, we tackled the more specific issues one at a time. Some of the backlog items are still a bit fuzzy, but we were able to design acceptable solutions for the ones we went over.
Having the primary business resource at hand was integral to designing successful solutions. The three of us were able to quickly assess the situation, with code and data at hand, and get to the real solutions without having to ask too many "what ifs?" that clog up the development process. In the past I've asked every "what if?" I could think of until I was over committed to the point of under-delivering. This could have been avoided simply by having the customer at hand to discuss the solution.