Bringing Agile Thinking To Your Business
If the definition of insanity is to try and do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, then why do so many companies refuse to make changes to the way they compete for customers? If you want to push my buttons, pull me aside and let’s talk marketing strategy: if something is not working, do you go out and do more of what you’ve already decided was not working? (i.e. buy more ad space, dump more cash into SEO, host a few more boring webinars, send out a few more spam emails a month, set up a table at a regional conference and hand out mugs and buttons with your company logo)
Ok, even now I was just about to go off on a marketing rant, which is not the point of this post (I’m a powder keg on the topic of crappy marketing, believe me). Actually, what I want to talk about – for all you software dev shops, consulting companies, and organizations with large internal IT teams building custom solutions – is the need for agile product development practices, because the concepts behind agile development are more critical than ever to reaching the right customers more quickly. Competition is crazy tough out there, and organizations need to find people, and adopt practices, that are much better at pivoting on changes to the marketplace, and in rapidly prioritizing which features and which services to focus on first, which to focus on second, and so on.
Note: That’s where the marketing message slipped in as part of my thought process – thinking of the requirements definition and prioritization process much like a marketer that is constantly tweaking the marketing mix, adjusting price, promotion, placement, and of course, the product, to optimize costs and revenue. That’s essentially what an agile development methodology does for an organization – it institutionalizes the constant tweaking, focusing on the nuances of change within the marketplace, and delivering on those items which will maximize customer visibility and value.
I’ve spent enough time in consulting and operations management roles to realize the need for constant change, and to begin immediately to transition to agile, limiting the scope of your initial efforts so that you can show some successes, and build on them, making necessary changes to enable continuous improvement across the organization.
Are you thinking about your development and operational “marketing mix” and making adjustments as necessary? How agile are you in how you respond to customer needs, and a rapidly changing customer landscape? Are you hiring and developing employees to operate in an agile model?
If not, you’re already losing ground.