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.