Think about the clothes you wear and the way you put them on.
Some people rigorously plan their outfits, making adjustments only if something goes wrong. Some people mix-and-match articles until they find an arrangement they like, putting minimal effort into planning. Some go with their gut and whatever looks good in the moment, eliciting feedback from a mirror or trusted friend. Some just throw on any old thing.
Now imagine a high-stakes scenario where success depends on what you wear. How would you get dressed? You’d plan your outfit in advance, right?
Maybe. Sometimes the mix-and-match or intuitive style works just as well, if not better, than the rigorously planned approach. It depends on your personality, your strengths and your scenario.
Why the sartorial metaphor? To illustrate the difference between Agile development and Waterfall, the more traditional approach. Agile is one of the most misunderstood concepts out there right now. A lot of marketers think Agile = responsive. Which is sort of true, but oversimplified. And a lot of marketers think Agile is inherently better. Which, again, is sort of true, but oversimplified.
Successfully going Agile depends on the business context you’re applying it to. Are you trying to go Agile in your development process, your marketing strategy or both? For an in-depth investigation into Agile and what it means for marketers, download our latest white paper, “Leading the Scrum an Executives Guide to Agile.” It’s a jargon-free, high-level guide to Agile development and Agile marketing. Plus it’s free, which means you don’t have to pay anything. You will learn:
- What Agile is, how to use it and whether you really need it
- The benefits and drawbacks of Agile and alternatives
- What Agile means for marketers
If you’re not quite convinced yet to take the plunge and download, keep reading. As with anything in life, to understand Agile, you have to understand its history.
In the 1980s, Agile began as an iterative or cyclical project management methodology for software development. It emphasized people over processes, functional prototypes over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change over following a plan. In laypeople’s terms, that meant working in an environment open to change, incremental development and listening.
Originally, Agile was a reaction to the more familiar Waterfall development methodology, which relied on heavy planning, rigorous technical documentation and a sequential, linear approach. Waterfall focused on the end-goal of delivering a perfect, finished product. Agile focused on continuously building and improving a product piece-by-piece while staying open to change, discovery and innovation.
Several companies experienced huge successes after going Agile. Adobe and Salesforce.com are two of the better-known stories. But many Agile projects failed and continue to fail because leaders, team members, product owners and stakeholders either misunderstood the method or didn’t fully commit to it. Now, as more and more marketers consider adopting an Agile strategy, it is more important than ever to fully understand the method and its challenges.
Think of your brand as an interface. In the digital world, an interface is the interaction point between users and a particular device. For marketers, a brand interface is the ever-evolving environment where consumers encounter your brand. Every component of your brand interface should ultimately facilitate people buying and using your products.
Every time someone comes across you, your products, your logo, marketing, customer service, social media, etc., they alter your brand interface slightly. Adopting an Agile marketing strategy requires cultivating a responsive, experience-focused environment, making continual upgrades to your interface and not being afraid to improvise.
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