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Lean Customer Development: Delivering Solutions to Your Customers on Time and on Budget

There are many things to attend to when working on multiple projects for a customer. Having an overview and the correct tools is essential to eliminate the waste of managing multiple projects, and to streamline the development process. Having accurate customer information, such as accounts and contact persons in the project management system, makes it possible to set up lean processes like Kanban, so as to ensure that customer projects are delivered on time and on budget with sophisticated time tracking.

With JIRA, it’s easy to set up projects for your customers and define the workflow needed to govern the work processes between the customer and provider.

Sample Project Workflow JIRA

Agile sugar is needed to minimize lead time, and GreenHopper provides a great agile solution for JIRA. The lead time -- the distance in time measured from an original customer request to the time they receive a solution to it -- is the key metric in maximizing customer satisfaction. The Kanban board is a great way to oversee these processes, providing just the right overview of the issues and reporting on them.

Sample Kanban customer board

Tempo is the glue that holds the customer and the lean development process together by making it easy to set up Kanban and Scrum boards for each customer or for a subset of a customer’s accounts. The time tracking capabilities in Tempo provide the accurate reporting needed to keep the projects on budget and to deliver quality worksheets along with invoices.

Setting up Customer Kanban Boards

The ‘Tempo Account Manager’ makes it easy to define customers and to create multiple accounts for them. The accounts can then be mapped to one or more projects. When creating a Kanban board in GreenHopper, it is possible to specify a JQL query in order to pull in all customer issues. For example:

Sample screenshot Kanban board

Here, the JQL finds all issues with an account for the customer Wikkkieea. For greater flexibility on searching issues based on accounts, check out my blog on Account Searches using JQL.

Kanban Timesheets and Reports

The ‘Account Timesheet’ is a great way to view hours worked for a customer over a period of time by accounts, and to monitor how work is progressing towards budget. Every ‘Saved Search’ is available in Tempo under the ‘Advanced Timesheet’, where you can view hours based on user contribution. From the time sheets, it is easy to jump into reports and get a detailed breakdown of completed work.

Kanban screenshot customer timesheet and advanced timesheet and reports

Customers love the detailed reports they receive with their invoices, which helps to establish trust between vendors and customers. With Tempo 7.1, we introduced a new PDF export feature which enables users to create PDF reports of worklogs for one or all accounts of a particular customer downloaded and ready for invoicing.

PDF Export Tempo Labs screenshot

Lean Dashboards

Using the provided reporting gadgets on the saved search for your Kanban board, and further using the ‘Account Custom Field’ in Tempo as well as the extra gadgets from GreenHopper and Tempo, you can create very powerful customer dashboards in JIRA that give you a quick overview of everything related to a particular customer.

Kanban sample super customer dashboard

Using Tempo with GreenHopper adds Agile project management to any JIRA process by serving as a catalyst for change through small, incremental improvements to existing processes.


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