Making a decision to allocate budget for long term improvement can be a tough call. Of course, we know intuitively that investing in the future delivers exponential rewards. Be it buying a physical product that improves efficiency or putting dollars toward intangible line items like employee education such as Agile training.
Either way, reinvesting profits back into a business supports the roots of innovation and productivity.
So why is this such a hard thing for leaders to prioritize?
Business leaders know they need to bring in new technology or train the team on an alternative way of working. However, the status quo may prevail in the face of too many improvement options.
Sorting and vetting these choices is a daunting task that requires time and focus. Unfortunately, both of these are often scarce for leaders. As a result, most put off the final decision until the need becomes urgent.
This is what has been happening at the intersection between marketing operations and agility. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, reinvesting in more effective, efficient ways of working has become a much more obvious choice.
If you’re on board with putting those investment dollars toward marketing agility, but you can’t quite convince others that this is the right choice, here are the top 10 reasons to invest in Agile training.
Why Invest in Agile Training
Begin making the case with these most compelling reasons for making the investment in Agile training.
Most important is the impact on customer experience. Adopting Agile frameworks enables marketing teams to focus their effort on creating the right campaigns and messaging for customers. When marketing does this successfully, customers feel known and understood, which is critical for customer engagement and retention.
Support the pace of change and evolving customer demand
It’s the first year of a new decade and we see how much change we’re all facing. Changing customer and business needs require a nimbleness that was once rarely required. As a result, traditional methods of project management can no longer do the job. Agile supports the process of keeping teams on track, while at the same time processing incoming change requests.
The change introduced by COVID-19 has altered some businesses to the point of complete transformation, so quick insights are critical to figuring out how the business can survive. The timeboxed iterations of Agile frameworks support the experiential learning needed to make key decisions.
Waste is an expensive by-product of traditional ways of working. It can be decreased through the adoption of practices originating from Agile’s Lean-based DNA. This foundation incorporates a deliberate focus on increasing efficiency by cutting out activities that don’t add value. This is a practice that boosts all areas of the business process.
Enhanced ability to manage priorities
Prioritization is a challenging task for even the most successful teams. Fortunately, the very nature of Agile frameworks allows teams to refine and adjust to work on their top priorities. Combined with increased transparency and customer perspective, prioritization gives teams the necessary direction and autonomy to shift their focus where it’s needed.
Increased team collaboration
Bringing Agile to your company introduces a number of options for team design. Depending on the nature of the work, teams can organize by function, or create autonomous cross-functional teams. Regardless of team design, if you begin from Agile first principles the result will yield greater alignment and increased productivity.
Maintaining competitive leadership is the goal of every business; however, that requires constant attention and innovation. Through consistent interaction with customers, both external and internal, Agile teams are able to stay attuned to the pulse of customers as they react to proposed products and services. This communication pipeline supports the company’s effort to stay competitive.
Faster time to market
While not a primary goal, reducing the time needed to complete crucial campaigns is a common outcome of adopting Agile practices. Quicker completion times are a natural outcome of focusing on customer needs, building work around desired customer outcomes, and increasing transparency around the work being done.
Higher employee satisfaction
A well-oiled engine keeps the machine running, and employees are the engine of all modern organizations. The impact of Agile on employee satisfaction has been well documented, and most enjoy a significant uptick in employee engagement and retention. The cost of employee churn is high, especially in marketing, where we often lose both institutional knowledge and connections to customers, influencers, and partners.
Happier customers, happier employees, responding to customer demand, faster learnings, reduced waste, greater innovation, and more team collaboration, all yielding to faster time to market. With all of these wins in place, there’s no doubt stakeholders will be more satisfied.
More Components for Evaluating Agile Investment
After you’ve assessed each of the ten reasons above, you can continue to build your case for a long-term investment in Agile ways of working by taking an inward look at your company.
Taking the step to introduce Agile to your organization should not be a rash decision. The list of benefits of a successful Agile adoption is lengthy, but successfully introducing agility and completing a transformation requires — and deserves — proper vetting.
You can explore the opportunity to invest in Agile by assessing three key areas within your business: people, process, and culture.
Consider these to be the legs of the stool you’ll stand on as you make the case for the business to “go Agile.”
Examine your current team(s). Think about their roles and how their work contributes to customer satisfaction. What’s their mindset about their work?
Is there a tendency to repeat tasks the same way just because that’s how it’s always been done, or is there openness to explore new and better options?
Agile frameworks are steeped in the notion of continuous improvement, which requires a growth mindset across the team.
Adoption of Agile will bring adjustments to your current processes; however, it’s important to have a baseline of current activity. Most importantly, it will be vital to have clarity on who does what, where, and why. In addition, transparency is a key tenet of Agile.
It shows up in team stand up meetings and the use of Kanban boards where the team openly shares the status of tasks often. Getting a handle on processes across the organization requires discussion with the people in the trenches and close to the customer.
Above all, the factor for determining whether an investment in Agile training is right for you is considering your company’s culture.
What aspects of your business do you believe will support the adoption of Agile practices? Where do you anticipate challenges?
Most attempts to begin using Agile approaches fail due to misalignment with the company culture.
Rigor is a key concept when evaluating any long-term business investment.
Carefully applying due diligence gives leaders and stakeholders confidence that all options have thoroughly been explored, and risks have been assessed and mitigated.
Finding Your Place on the Agile Adoption Curve
Agile and its associated frameworks have been in existence for over twenty years. First, they changed software development. More recently they began evolving marketing and other business functions.
There are certainly pioneers who quickly embraced this new project management approach. These early adopters determined the need and benefit was valuable enough to justify the investment in Agile training.
Many marketing leaders have been following and admiring these Agile success stories from afar. Unfortunately, most haven’t taken their own first step.
Sometimes they’re waiting for a perfectly documented, easy-to-follow case study.
Other times they’re working on allocating the right budget.
How Agile Creates the Future
All of the reasons to bring Agile to your team are pretty compelling, but in fact, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Now that you know what you could achieve with Agile ways of working, take the time to deeply consider where you’re at now.
What’s happening around you that supports the drive to change and leverage Agile?
What’s the future vision of your organization?
Where do you believe Agile can play a part in getting there?
As you can see, connecting the vision of your business with the elements needed for the journey requires a bit of clairvoyance. Yet, answering these questions honestly will set the stage for a successful Agile introduction and transformation journey.