Strategic Agile Business Development

Agility in management, organizing and infrastructure

Management emphasizes immediate results especially during depression. Managers often claim to have their eyes fixed on the future, but the reality tells a different story – why is it that sales meetings always handle those deals that were never closed or the problems with clients, or the manager spends two hours presenting financial figures from the previous quarter.

An organization cannot be called very creative or future-oriented, if most of the time is spent reflecting on the past. Not enough time is spent on future deals or future events. Operationally, agility sets new standards for information systems, among other things. For example, inflexible ERP systems, lack of connections between different operations and specialized systems hinder agility.

A major organizing-related problem is that resources are easily tied down, which becomes evident as, for instance, the core business monopolizes all available resources or competent managers only orientate themselves towards the core business, consequently depriving new, promising business ideas of any resources and appropriately-skilled managers. Agile organizing aims at separating profit-making from the ownership of resources to allow free mobility of resources.

Individuals and Interactions – in agile development, self-organization and motivation are important, as are interactions between key stakeholders. Business in practice will be more useful and welcome than just presenting documents to clients in meetings. Requirements cannot be fully collected at the beginning of the business development cycle, therefore continuous customer or stakeholder involvement is very important. Responding to change is the key in the Agile Development, which is focused on quick responses to change and continuous development.

From agile software development to strategic agile business development

Agile software development is a group of software development methodologies based on iterative and incremental development, for example: “During each “sprint”, typically a two to four-week period (with the length being decided by the team), the team creates a potentially deliverable product increment (for example, working and tested software). The set of features that go into a sprint come from the product “backlog”, which is a prioritized set of high level requirements of work to be done.”

The agile business development can be seen similar way, but there is several issues that require more attention. The agile business development have:

  • to focus the whole business, not just a single product
  • to take account the whole product lines or family
  • more people involved to development
  • people from different functions e.g. sales, marketing, production, logistics
  • all issues that are strongly linked to business model, strategy model and its guidelines
  • more stakeholders such as customers (not just users, but also various decision makers), suppliers, partners, resellers, authorities, etc.

Accordingly, you need:

  • Enhanced visual collaboration between people
  • Element based business model (“what”) and strategy model (“how”)
  • Longer development periods – sprints 8than in agile software development)
  • Intensive and transparent top management involvement, because development based on strategy and business model
  • Manageable amount of “projects” or tasks, which are all linked to strategy
  • Keep deadlines (pedantic) and decrease “features”
  • Find customers with urgency to purchase your product or service right now
  • Focus on MVB – Minimum Viable Business (not just Minimum Viable Product)

The key issues of Strategic Agile Business Development:

  1. A sprint is a basic unit of development in the Agile Business Development methodology. Sprints tend to last between one month and three months, and are a “time-boxed” (i.e. restricted to a specific duration) effort of a constant length.
  2. Each sprint is preceded by a planning meeting, where the projects (or tasks) for the sprint are identified and an estimated commitment for the sprint goal is made, and followed by a review or retrospective meeting, where the progress is reviewed and lessons for the next sprint are identified.
  • Program per new business is about 30-40 projects or tasks
  • Reviews in sprint workshop
  • Status reports 1 page every month per project or task
  • Status meeting every week 30 minutes

Summary

Agile strategy is diversely present in the day-to-day operation of an organization and everyone experiences the challenges set by agility in different ways and at different intensity. A new era has begun.

Minimum Viable Business [MVB]?

You need to:

  1. Business model with visual elements (1 picture)
  2. Customer: there needs to be a sense of urgency to get the problem resolved right now. Not the largest potential market, but the easiest and the fastest one.
  3.  A Minimum Viable Product has just those features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more
  4. Pricing scheme simple as possible
  5. Sell something or anything to target customer
  6. No hiring: outsource everything; production, marketing, sales, logistics, delivery, etc.
  7. Use only ready and cloud based tools and processes for ERP, CRM, SCM, etc.
  8. Sell and deliver first via existing companies and found a company later on.
  9. Iterate your business model elements

There is a real need for agile strategy development?

What shuld be included to MVB – Minimum Viable Business?