Saturday, May 5, 2012

Agile Strategy Development

The article for this week, “Should You Build Strategy Like You Build Software?” discusses the similarities between software development models and strategy development models. It suggests, in my opinion, an “agile like” approach for strategy which can adapt based on changes in the environment and context. I found an article1 by Justin McMurray that discusses an interesting approach on “agile strategy” development.

The article basically consists of the following main points (with my interpretations of those points):
      1.       Collaboration and Conversation VS Strategy Decks and Documentation
Here the suggestion is that instead of spending time on documentation and preparing elaborate business plans, we should spend more time talking to customers and stake holders and collaborate with them (and the team internally) to decided what the next action should be.
      2.       Simplicity of Purpose VS Consumer Insights
In tune with the above point, gather customer insights can be helpful, but that can sometimes distract you from your main purpose of building the product. So while customer insight gathering is recommended, you need to make sure you don’t divert from the main concept of your product.
      3.       Testing Hypothesis VS Long Winded Research
We can create elaborate research plans and take years to test something inside a lab. However, following the agile methodology, if we follow an iterative process of creating a prototype and releasing it, geting customer feedback and improving the product, we will be able to solve the customer need faster.

      4.       Responding to Change VS Following a Plan
In my opinion, the author is trying to say we should be a little more reactive. What that means is instead of sticking to something which we think is going to work, we should respond to how the customers react to our product and decided the next course of action based on that reaction.

The author of this article does make some interesting points. However, in the case of certain products like the ones in healthcare, where lab research, FDA approvals, etc. take years, will an agile approach towards strategy be effective ?

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