Once relegated to software engineering teams, IT departments and other technology-centered practice areas, agile has made inroads to almost every area of business today. Yet many companies, and teams within companies, still are either reluctant to adopt more agile practices, or take steps to formalize the nascent agile practices they have already.
For those that are still on the fence, the gaps in their ability to deliver on transformative change initiatives, as well as the incremental improvements that keep businesses competitive, continue to grow.
In this article, I’m going to discuss why agility is no longer an option, and how agile marketing organizations and businesses are best set up to weather whatever storms may be on the horizon.
An 18-Month Plan Is an Exercise in Futility
Far be it from me to discourage any company or individual from setting some long-term goals. However, there is a difference between setting goals and measurable objectives, and creating a detailed implementation plan of exactly how those goals will be achieved.
We simply can’t know what will be happening 18 months from now, let alone 18 days from now. Creating an agile method of planning still lets us have a North Star or goal we want to achieve, but it adds the realism that lots of things can change. This could be a change in the economy or socio-political landscape, a change in the competitive landscape or industry, or even a change in the workforce or consumer landscape.
When done well, agile planning can be the best of both worlds: it keeps teams focused on creating the maximum business value from their initiative while recognizing that the world changes too quickly to specify exactly how things should be done months in advance.
Related Article: Growing Beyond Agile: Adaptability for Today's Marketing Landscape
How Agility Benefits Your Team’s Results
In addition to benefiting your ability to plan and execute important initiatives, agility can assist you in achieving better results from you and your team’s work.
There are several ways in which this is possible.
First, agile approaches prioritize continual reassessment of priority and backlog, allowing you to quickly shift from things that are not working.
Additionally, a sprint-based approach in which work is performed in relatively small time frames (generally two or four weeks) allows you to benefit from additional information you weren’t privy to when the campaign or initiative started.
Finally, an agile approach allows you to improve the process that your team is using as you go, which helps with both team morale as well as results.
All of this adds up to the ability to achieve better results from your team’s efforts and maintain a clear focus on what will create the most business value and make the most improvements for the initiative.
How Agility Benefits Marketing, IT and CX Operations
Finally, agile practices and approaches enable more effective execution of your initiatives. This can translate into tangible improvements for your marketing and customer experience (CX) operations.
For instance, an adherence to agile practices means that the tasks and items that contribute most to business value will be worked on first, rather than having low-impact work prioritized due to other project management needs.
Additionally, agile practices focus on creating a working version of a product, campaign or initiative as soon as possible (otherwise known as a minimum viable product), so there is less time spent waiting to see if all of the work your team is putting into a new initiative is able to translate into something feasible.
Finally, agile practices embrace a mindset of continuous improvement of both results and the methods that generate those results. This means your team will only grow more efficient over time. This means that not only is there a focus on better results, there is a commitment to improve the operational aspects that will sustain and improve efficiency and effectiveness over time.
As you can see, agility in all areas of business has a positive impact on strategy, delivery, as well as the results achieved. If you or your colleagues believe it’s optional to use agile practices, it’s time to rethink your assumptions.