Over the past year, our team spent time with an experienced agile coach developing the first version of our own MarTech product. The product is the culmination of over 20 years of witnessing issues and gaps throughout layers of communications and marketing cut across functional teams. So…developing a little piece of software using the agile approach as a guide should be easy right? Wrong!
During the journey, it occurred to us that we naturally take an iterative approach to work whether it is in our editing processes, creative engagements or media relationships. It is not too far from an agile mindset.
So, we asked ourselves what it would take for the team to apply the agile mindset to our client work as well as internal processes. A makeover? Maybe. Focus and commitment come to mind as well as a willingness to embrace change. The outcome: An invigorated and differentiated team populating client programs with great ideas within a proven and deliberately honed framework.
BUT what is agile?
Agile has been changing the approach of software development for quite some time with the core of the thinking residing in the Agile Manifesto. The Manifesto offers the values and principles organizations, teams, and individuals can follow to achieve better responsiveness and adaptability, with a focus on delivering value faster to the customer.
People often do not know what they want until they can touch it, see it, and experience it. Agile flips this approach on its head by courting uncertainty and unanticipated variability with outcomes. But, how? By ensuring transparency by asking for feedback while delivering small chunks of incremental and iterative value. This feedback is then incorporated back into the development/programmatic or creative process to fine tune and improve upon the next delivered chunk of value. As such, agile approaches are an alternative to up-front document-driven and plan-driven heavyweight processes.
This time of year, the biggest – albeit hairiest and scariest – projects most marketing and communications functional leaders have on their plates is planning for the new calendar (and often fiscal) year. Development of grand and comprehensive plans is expected, but what if we only addressed the planning activities that provided the most value? Before long, there is a trail of strategic programs that have delivered on their promise rather than a trail of tears over a huge plan that never got rolled out properly. The challenge is that teams will have to make the transition to work this way. Work with leadership to help create and understand that greater value can be found through an iterative process. So often we go through the same motions, but every now and then it’s worth turning things on their head and shaking up the status quo.
Will 2017 be the year you to take a new path?