How to Make Agile Work for You

When you think of agile, what do you think of?

Most people think about building a prototype quickly and testing them with users. Once you have feedback, you iterate on your product and test again. It’s about velocity.

Unfortunately,  far too many organizations “go agile” before they deeply understanding the problem they’re solving for. They prioritize speed over everything.

This of course comes at a cost. You can prioritize speed but if you aren’t solving a real problem, your solution will fail. And it’ll likely take many more iterations to get to a viable solution.

So how do you make agile work for you?

Start slow to go fast.

Spend more time defining the problem up front. Use a design thinking process to build empathy and spend time with your customers. Once you have a direction, run a design sprint to align your team and come up with possible solutions to test.

Amazon is famous for going slow to go fast. They clearly define the customer problem through significant customer research. Jeff Bezos was even known for being “The Chief Slowdown Officer” to make sure new ideas were well vetted.

Of course, I’m not recommending spending months and months researching your customers before you launch. You should at least get to a point where you’ve spoken to 5-10 potential customers and understood their core challenges. You may also want to use frameworks such as the Value Proposition Canvas to help you identify the jobs, pains, and gains of your customers.

If you’re looking for ways to test out a new product or idea, I’d love to help. Book a complimentary strategy call here or shoot me an email at peter@peternakamura.com.

4 thoughts on “How to Make Agile Work for You

  1. I’m a big fan of slowing down to speed up. The example you gave above reminds me of the consequences of focusing on speed but going in the wrong direction…not only is it important to do customer interviews, but I’ve also learned I need to continually take an empathic stance with my customers – to stop thinking about what it is I want and to consciously put myself in their shoes every step of the way.

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  2. Love the slow start – no point in sprinting off in the wrong direction. It’s amazing how few people take the time to speak to just 5 customers. They will open your eyes!!!

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  3. Oh, what a good reminder! “Slow down to speed up” is definitely counter-intuitive to me 🙂 I see lots of examples of me jetting off in the wrong direction, and I am going to write this on a Post-It!

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