Empowering the client with a red button…

Some years ago I worked with a team that was doing continuous integration.

We wanted to move to continuous deployment, yet we could not convince our client to do so.
Although we could not install automatic, we did build a pipeline for our installation. 

At that moment we did demos at the end of our sprints. When the demo was finished we asked the client if we could install. When the client agreed could, we launched our pipeline to do the installation.

I bought the red button you see on the left. (I bought it on DreamCheeky yet that website no longer sells it. The link on barndo.com still works, yet the item is no longer sold)
This USB button, has two events, the opening of the cover and the pressing of the button.

One of the developers look at the code that came with the button. The code is now available on github, yet then it used to be on codeplex. That developer adapted that program that the opening of the cover, would launch the webpage for the pipeline and the pressing of the button, would triggering the launching of the install.

Although it started as a gimmick, it create a real interesting dynamic.
At the end of our demo, we would slide the button to the client. If the client was impressed with the demo, the button was pressed. The client loved that control. Even though before had asked also, and we even briefly had allowed the client to press the right button on our pipeline, it felt too much an IT thingy. The button changed that dynamic. Now the client really felt in control,

The logo.

After most demos, the button was pressed; Yet I still remember that one time, the client had complained about the color of a new logo, at the start of the demo and then everything went smoothly.  The team felt they nailed it again; Helas. The slight wrong color of the logo was enough to not press the button. After the initial surprise of the team,I saw in the corner of my eyes two developers making signs to each other.  Later it turned out one of them she wanted the other to stall the client, she went back to her computer, implemented the requested color change, once she committed that was automatically installed on our demo site. In less then 5 minutes she came back, showing the results to the client, who asked for the button and pressed it. The combination of the feedback, the refusal, the quick fix and the button made a huge impact on both the the client and the team. Not long after that we were allowed to do an continuous delivery (The client now felt we would be able to roll back very fast if needed. )