The challenge is to meet customer expectations…and deliver fast!

As old quotes go, that one from the movie Top Gun has always stuck with me. I never got to become a professional fighter pilot, but I guess working in product development has to run a pretty close second doesn’t it? After all, one thing our clients want is to improve their speed and agility!

OK…So that’s a terrible comparison, but in all seriousness a common theme with every client that we work with is that they want to accelerate time to market while delivering products that genuinely match customer expectations. And that’s why I’ve become a fan of Agile techniques – even for those companies that are highly traditional in their approach and sometimes only just starting on their digital journey.

Agile techniques, appropriately applied, can make a big difference, achieving faster development times, managing changing priorities more effectively and better aligning the commercial and technical sides of the business.

However, it’s not straightforward. Agile often brings with it a need to change the business culture in an organisation, and that’s not easy. The number one barrier to Agile adoption reported in the recent State of Agile Report is “ability to change organisational culture” reported by 52% of those surveyed, while 70% of telecoms companies surveyed by IQPC said that silo mentality is one of the biggest organisational hurdles (Telecoms IQ).

Agile project failures usually happen because the people in an organisation aren’t well integrated and there’s no team-based culture. In other words, to make Agile work, stop working in silos and get people to work together in cross-functional teams!

And the benefits from working in cross-functional teams can be quickly delivered. For example (and I deliberately generalise my observation here) marketing folk tend to be less structured and more creative, while technical people tend to be quite structured and logical in their thinking. So each has a different perspective when it comes to how a product and it’s associated customer experience is delivered. But, very often, magic happens when you get those people in a room to talk about how the product can be delivered. And when it’s structured as a discussion of User Stories, another great Agile technique, you can get fabulous contributions. I’ve witnessed the emergence of great ideas from the fusion of those different perspectives!

But regardless of whether it’s a digital company, a software company or a manufacturer of brass widgets, there are other simple but valuable techniques that ANY business can adopt that can really make a difference. If you’d like to know more, find out about the 5 techniques with this info-graphic and discover agile techniques that any business can adopt.

Anyway, all this talk of working together reminds me of that other classic quote from Top Gun….It’s a solo mission … Yeah! …And I’m going with him…

jet fighter 2

About the author

Since the emergence of mobile telecoms Miles Cheetham has delivered market-leading change in the industry, from blue chips to start-ups, both in the UK and internationally. His experience in senior roles in companies such as Vodafone, where he spent over 12 years, has given him deep and valuable expertise and insight. Latterly, as the digital economy has accelerated, he has specialised in customer-experience led product development as a well-regarded consultant with some of the world’s biggest brands.