An Hypothesis is Really a Prototype [Series 4/5]

Agile as the Innovator

Thought bytes

Don’t think research is a phase, it is really ongoing. Prototyping is the way you learn. You learn so much by watching how people learn. It’s OK if the prototype is really rough.

Rapid prototyping your guesses* is an iterative process. You learn just enough to feed into building a better prototype. Then you go out and learn more, build again.

Launching is validating how much more solving is needed. If not solving the problem, re-calibrate.

Service design seems similar to product design – but it is harder to prototype an “experience.”

Product design creates an experience. ID the real issues.

Key is have a clear objective of what you are trying to find out.

Think about the smallest thing you need to do to get the most learning – throughout the entire life-cycle.

Storyboards! Stories describe a type of interaction.

Always design for people.


* My note:  a simple word for hypothesis?


Next up:   Outside in Perspective


Why Customers Still Need Voices

You’d think customers’ communications with product management and product marketing is way better now with Social – probably so but when are the voices actually being heard by the PM department? Depends on who’s managing the Twitter and Facebook accounts, right?  And that job is probably with big “M” marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I love these guys but another layer for customer voices to filter through is just too much!

Sooner is always better.

Continue reading “Why Customers Still Need Voices”

Great Scott – We’re Agile but Where’s the Rest of the Company?

Marketing, sales, accounting, support – how do the rest of us handle the cadence of releases from fast, efficient Agile development teams?

I captured a high level summary of product professionals’ discussions at a recent event in Atlanta, called the Agile Affect. The panel of four and moderator all had significant experience in both waterfall and Agile. The audience was no different. Bottomline, if your product organization builds to MVP, so should your stakeholders.

  • You don’t have to be a developer or a product manager to use Agile methods in your craft. That being said, it’s not one-size fits all.
  • If you are in marketing, sales, support or operations in a company the embraces Agile in product development, it’s best practice to modify Agile methods to build your own cadence.
  • There should be a balance between major and minor releases to product. It’s fine to deploy every month yet hold a marketing launch every quarter or to the time-frame which best fits your market.
  • Whatever you do, do not overwhelm sales or your markets with over communication. Here’s that word again – balance the need for iterative product development with the need for clear product benefit messages.
  • Every stakeholder department can create repeatable processes for sharing market context and messaging. All can prioritize demands based on the most urgent needs.
  • Operations and support really, really need to be engaged, at the hip, with the Agile development teams.

ProductCamp Atlanta 2012 is next Saturday 18 August. I would bet this discussion continues there as well.

Would like very much to hear your stories about creating the Agile Affect in your company.



The Inclusion Factor

I now work within an Agile software product development organization.  This isn’t my first position working within software companies, but it is the first time in an Agile environment.

I’ve noticed one special thing – the inclusion factor.

In the other positions marketing was invited late, or we just crashed the party, but not here. Instead, the product marketing manager is part of the team and expected to participate, collaborate, add value and answer these questions:

1) what have I done?

2) what am I doing?

3) what roadblocks do I have?

4) how can we help?

 Way cool!

More to come…

SprintZero Update -Agile Marketing Movement

“Agile Marketing is a Movement”

An intrepid group of marketing professionals organized SprintZero earlier this month to pave a path to Marketing the Agile way. SprintZero participants met to discuss Agile Marketing values and principles. The outcome will be the Agile Marketing Manifesto.

On the highway, speed kills, but in business, it is slowness that kills. – Jim Ewel,

Agile Marketing Moves Forward

Social marketing hasn’t dispatched old marketing practices but put the first fork in it.  Global marketing professionals need to be nimble, confirm business value & bottom-line impact, be spot-on aligned with company strategy and not forget to listen to markets – done with rapidly moving targets and more and more channels. What the C-Suite wants to know about Agile Marketing:

  • Increased flexibility and speed
  • Strategic alignment
  • Customer engagement

It was a great start. #Sprint1 is planned for later this year.  The site to provide feedback on the work-in-progress Agile Marketing Manifesto will go live soon. I’ll keep you posted. We’ll need your advice.

Keep on, keeping on!

Agile Marketing is On Fire!

It’s only the beginning of summer and Agile Marketing is getting hotter!  It made sense to me “marketer” to use Agile techniques and it’s making sense to a good many others in the industry.

Not unlike Agile Development and Product teams, marketing professionals use Agile methods to increase speed and gain the flexibility required in today’s fast-fast global economy.

…two of the key features of Agile Marketing borrowed from Agile Development: fast iteration and objective testing. – Jason Cohen of SmartBear Software

SprintZero, the first gathering of Agile Marketing Professionals is planned for 11 Jun 2012 in San Francisco. I have been following their blog posts and it sounds positively great. I’ll be sure to share the Agile Marketing Manifesto with you once it’s done.

Here’s to marketing the Agile way! So looking forward to the ride.


Speedy Doesn’t Have to Mean Sloppy – Agile Marketing

MIT's Solar Car

The need for marketing speed is obvious and not just because customers are global and they buy 24/7/365. Factor in market segment fragmentation – how many ways there are to reach customers (channels, multiple devices) and don’t forget the usual product tweaks/frequent updates, along with new world-market dynamics. Speed? no kidding.

How’s a marketing professional supposed to meet the customer/prospects’ expectations of first-rate, quality, relevant and dynamic product messaging in this will-o-wisp environment?

Try a little Agile with your marketing.

  • Forget “big batch” Market Plans for the year and instead chunk the campaign or market planning into small marketing projects. OK, you really can’t do this YET!   So >>> start by limiting the number of pages in the plan. Fill in the details the further along you go. Now you get the picture!
  • Define the success measurements – decide upfront how you’ll know if the campaign, new web page or video you posted is meeting/exceeding expectations. Use tools like Google AdWords or ROI calculators to do this and do this often.  Be flexible, adjust or fix as necessary, maybe even “can” the project. The sooner you know the results, the better you can allocate your scare resources (people, time, money) to the best performing projects. Congratulations, you now have results based marketing.
  • Failure is an option – learn from it…
…just don’t fail the same way twice. – Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, CMO Mindjet


User Stories Help Build Sales’ Stuff

I’ve been thinking how  product development, product marketing and sales teams should be joined at the hip.

Seems only natural since we build stuff (tools, live product demos, APPS, websites, etc) to support sales’ efforts converting leads to customers. One thing I have noticed is that not everyone in this triad is on the same page regarding “done” or what is to “be done” when it comes to creating sales tools. That’s a problem. Continue reading “User Stories Help Build Sales’ Stuff”

It’s Not Small Change (Series 4 of 4)

Part 4 of Agile Product Marketing Series:

  1. Product Marketing Becomes Agile
  2. What’s a Product Marketer Doing with a Roadmap?
  3. The Launch Queen Speaks
  4. It’s Not Small Change

This is the last of a series written to help Agile and B2B Marketing teams understand each other’s conversations and methods.  Previously, we discussed how Agile practices can integrate within traditional product launch management and commercialization.


It’s the people- the human element– that we’re talking about.   Continue reading “It’s Not Small Change (Series 4 of 4)”

Product Marketing Becomes Agile (Series 1 of 4)

Part 1 of Agile Product Marketing Series:

  1. Product Marketing Becomes Agile
  2. What’s a Product Marketer Doing with a Roadmap?
  3. The Launch Queen Speaks
  4. It’s Not Small Change

This post is the first in a series designed to help Agile and B2B Marketing teams understand each other’s conversations and methods.

Attention Scrum Master or Product Owner!

Are you working with a Marketing Team and hoping they don’t think Agile practices mean another form for Yoga? Actually, we marketers know about Agile and are cautiously curious and optimistic.

You can be absolutely sure that marketers working with Agile development teams wonder how they’ll be able to Sprint faster, while shaping, communicating and testing the product’s market message, value prop – in time for successful commercialization.

Provide a Bridge

Invite your PMM to join in the Stand-up. Share your Backlogs. Collaborate.  Marketers must be plugged into product information as real-time as possible in order to understand the product as it is now defined. With your help, we’ll do a much better job working our magic. Continue reading “Product Marketing Becomes Agile (Series 1 of 4)”