A few weeks ago, I wrote that I love Agile Development because it provides an opportunity to learn. Ultimately, my example led me to the point where the repetitive planning inherent in Agile Development allows my team to get better at it. I left off by stating "Since your customers don't buy plans, consider why this matters."
So why does it matter?
What do customers buy? Certainly, they buy products and services. But let's go a bit deeper. In the enterprise world, which I've been part of for twenty years, there is something intangible that goes into selling. There is something a C-level buyer wants.
At some point, you have to look your customer in the eye and commit to delivering what she needs. This was true many years ago when I was involved in non-stop mission critical systems, and it remains true today.
You can make a commitment and hope for the best. Alternatively, you can create a plan that demonstrates how you are actually going to achieve the commitment. This is the connection back to my earlier post. By having more "at-bats," you plan better and faster. You are able to have a realistic shot at collaborating with your customers on a real commitment - one that is negotiated based on mutual trust and respect.