Sprinting to the ultimate goal
Quick, quicker, quickest! Agile working teams or scrum teams, are hot. Because with agile working you can develop something which responds to the market in a very short time. But working quicker can also be a disadvantage.
Els Molenaar, CEO of Blauw Research: 'Due to the speed of agile working, it can happen that customer feedback is not used or is used to a lesser degree and that is precisely what makes research so worthwhile.’ That's why Blauw Research is launching the agile research label SPRINT. SPRINT delivers that to order when necessary, so that a scrum team can take it further.
Flexible and agile
Some 10 years ago a product was conceived as follows: this is what we want to achieve, this is how it should look and it'll be ready in two years. In the IT sector in particular this working method continues to give software developers the same problems: later delivery than expected, it is always more complex than anticipated and more expensive than it was supposed to be. And when the product is finally ready, it doesn't meet the needs of the market at all. That's why the agile working method came about. Agile working basically means that everyone in a team (also called a scrum team) is given a task and completes it in a very short time. All of these actions combined lead to a product or service. This means developing something new is no longer a long-winded process and adaptations are made during the ‘sprint’. Awareness of the agile way of working has increased during the last two years, even in the world of creatives.
Els Molenaar: ‘Certainly at a time when things are changing so quickly, agile working is a result and you see more and more businesses beginning to work in this way. You know what sort of product you want to develop, but you don't yet know precisely what shape it's going to take. This is an entirely interactive way of working. Key words for agile are flexible and nimble, because you adapt your product according to what you have learned during the process.’
Impatient speed is rarely a good thing, but this doesn't apply to agile. Although agile does have its disadvantages. Sometimes there isn't enough time to process customer feedback. Everyone wants to be the first with an innovative gadget, a groundbreaking campaign or a solution to a problem. Developments move so quickly these days, being the first with something is a real challenge. At the moment, there is no organisation in which the business and the business model is not undergoing change. This means that many businesses are reorientating and developing new products and services. They are doing this in different ways than in the past, for example by working with scrum teams. And they all understand that they must involve their customers in this. But how exactly? Agile teams do not usually have the in-house expertise to process customer input in the correct way. Developments move quickly and doing thorough research still costs time. Teams which work agile do not have that time. As a result Blauw Research's position is also changing. We asked ourselves: what is our added value in a new world? We choose to be strategic partners to our clients as much as possible. And by getting to know our clients and their problems well, we contribute to their customer focus. That's going really well, but at the same time, we have also identified that a number of our clients are moving toward agile working. The pace of thorough research may no longer suit the pace at which the client wishes to move. Our clients give us the feedback that things could be accelerated further if the collection of customer input could be outsourced to a party which adapts itself to the pace at which development is taking place. That's why we want to do something with agile research, because we see that there is a need arising from the market and we believe we can claim a leading position.'
And Blauw is claiming that position with its agile research label SPRINT. SPRINT ensures that a scrum team can obtain extra information quickly, within the frameworks in which it works. Does a scrum team need quick customer input? If so, SPRINT can organise this. SPRINT actually sprints along with the scrum team to deliver the correct insights at the correct time. ‘Everyone wants to innovate, therefore processes are often accelerated and there is no longer any time for the proper collection of insights from the market. Our ambition is for the customer's voice to always be heard, because naturally you produce your products for your customer. Our clients give us the feedback that things could be accelerated further if the collection of customer input could be outsourced to a party which adapts itself to the pace at which development is taking place. This is possible with SPRINT.’
SPRINT suits the working methods of the year 2016. SPRINT is quick, flexible and links seamlessly to the working methods of scrum teams. ‘We want to think along the same lines as our clients and to be a partner in their development process. The launch of our agile research label SPRINT is artly defensive and partly offensive. Defensive, because we can continue to work with clients who would otherwise collect less customer input, and offensive because similar initiatives are very rare, both in the Netherlands and abroad. With SPRINT we want to create an entire new category. At Blauw we are always seeking ways to continue to improve and with SPRINT we are offering our clients that extra step forward.’