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We use Scrum and we make software products for other companies (I guess it's called B2B).

So, first subquestion: Who should be satisfied by the Development Team: the Product Owner or the Stakeholders? I believe both. But I think, that the main goal of the Development Team is to make the Product Owner happy as the single entry point of requirements and the "aggregator" of all other Stakeholders.

And this is the root of my question: all thought of the Product Owner will be subjective. Different Product Owners means different psychotypes. One of them may be generous with praise and be glad for any positive changes in the product. Others may always be dissatisfied. And if the Development Team produces a great increment he will only be a little less dissatisfied, than usual.

As Scrum Master I want to assess the level of customer satisfaction after each increment and search for a way to increase it. But how can we make an objective assessment of customer satisfaction

So:

  • Is asking the Product Owner's opinion enough?

  • Or, maybe it's a good idea to suggest that the Product Owner get formal feedback (like surveys) from other stakeholders?

  • Or maybe there are more formal methods for measuring such an abstract entity as customer satisfaction?

  • Finally, maybe it's better to not use this subjective measurement at all?

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    What type of customer - seller relationship are you talking about here? What is the context of this question? – David Espina Aug 12 '15 at 11:20
  • Also what type of product? Customer satisfaction around manufactured goods can be assessed quite differently than for a service. – Doug B Aug 12 '15 at 11:33
  • You need to add some context. As it stands, the question is both too broad and too vague. – Todd A. Jacobs Aug 13 '15 at 5:19
  • Done. I hope that my question become more understandable now. – Sergey Kudryavtsev Aug 13 '15 at 13:35
  • I would probably start by asking the question (as an org) - what is success? Is it simply customers liking the product in an anecdotal way, or also the results they see from their side? Which results? Would having an extremely satisfied PO and/or stakeholders but only moderately satisfied end customers mean success? In my experience, great POs do everything they can to qualify and quantify success for the end users they are representing by proxy. – Jeff Lindsey Aug 13 '15 at 14:29
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Role boundaries and swim lanes apply not only tasks and areas of decision making but also lines of accountability. And there's a difference between accountability and responsibility. In my view, the product owner is the sole owner of accountability to the end-user stakeholder. It is not shared, IMHO. The developers do own some responsibility to the stakeholder, but that ends at building an elegant solution with minimal defects against the stakeholders' requirements. Ultimate happiness rests with the product owner. Similarly, the developer is accountable for the satisfaction of the product owner.

No one indicator or measurement tool is 100% valid. Every measurement tool we have in every industry suffers from validity issues or measurement error. This is true when you are trying to measure something extremely tangible and even worse when measuring something very abstract, such as happiness and satisfaction.

There are so many variables that go to customer satisfaction, including a ton that has nothing to do with the transaction, that you have to mitigate as you interpret satisfaction results. Therefore, you need to NOT rely on one method of satisfaction measurement.

Obviously, surveys are important. But building the surveys with proper types of questions, and then interpreting those surveys to draw the most accurate conclusions, require expertise, time, and money. But you cannot move forward without them.

You can also use other markers to infer--the process of inference is subjective of and in itself and subject to biased results--customer satisfaction. For example, buying behavior. In your case, this would show itself by product owner acceptance of a delivery, stakeholder acceptance of delivery, decreasing defect findings during testing, decreasing defect findings during production, requests for more business, referrals to other departments, increasing revenue, etc.

A customer chronically complains but continues to buy. This would suggest to me that they are overall happy and satisfied with product but have other drivers, including those things intrinsically with the customer like personality make-up, that drive the complaints. There's risk with this interpretation, which is why you do not rely on one method of measurement or even one interpreter.

I hope this helps.

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I think if your goal is to measure customer satisfaction, then it is irrelevant what your product owner thinks. It would make no sense to ask the product owner about customer satisfaction, in case he is the one responsible to make the customer happy. Why? Because in case he does not talk about such things with his customer, he just has assumptions about it.

I think the most valuable contribution would be to talk to the customer from time to time (informal, without additional work for the customer or product owner to fill out forms or other paper work). You just need to ensure that your Product Owner accepts this and he should also be the one introducing you to the customer and tell the customer about the idea.

I think a satisfaction level measured in points or something, is not useful. In case you want to improve his satisfaction you need to understand what he "says".

Also satisfaction is not very "objective" but rather "subjective". I am sure, it will feel wrong for the customer, if his satisfaction level will "get measured," in case something like that is really possible. So I would rather take the approach of talking often to him (a few days after each increment?).

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