Agile methodology is not just for developers anymore.
That’s the mantra heard from many of the speakers at this year’s MarTech conference in Boston. Conference chair Scott Brinker mentioned it as a useful tool in his keynote presentation Tuesday morning.
Several other speakers this week have agreed that the iterative process — also known as design thinking — is key to making the most of your marketing stack.
Agile methodology was initially created to give software developers a framework to create their products with plenty of feedback along the way, instead of waiting to get feedback until the end of the process. It forces developers to think more fully about and empathize with their end users, a lesson that marketers should heed.
Marketers are on board
On Monday, Analyst Tony Bryne from Real Story Group talked about how using the methodology can help marketers build testing into their product to “go beyond the demo.”
“In a demo, you’re watching the vendor play out your story; by testing you spend time with it and see how it works with your actual scenario,” Bryne said.
In their talk Tuesday on how marketing and technology can work better together, Pamela Della Motta, director of product, marketing technology and Kristian Kristensen, vice president of engineering, spoke about how they used the methodology to facilitate collaboration between their teams at the New York Times.
Della Motta said that “you can’t build a tool without thinking about the organizational method around the tool,” illustrating the point with an example of what happened when they built a tool without including training early enough in the process. She said that it happened because the team was concentrating more on the tool than the people who would use it.
“Every time you introduce a new tool, chances are that your operational process will change. And as a result (of us not anticipating that), there was chaos,” Della Motta said. “The first thing people blamed was the tech, but there was nothing wrong with the tool.”
And Kirk Johnson, partner at Lenati, echoed similar themes in his talk about Solving Human Problems: A Case for Martech + Design Thinking.
He said that design thinking can help companies deliver the right kind of customer experiences, choose the right tech and help with employee adoption.
But, Johnson, said, there can be pitfalls. He said that if your teams are not aligned, or if they don’t have enough interdisciplinary representation, the methodology won’t work the way it’s supposed to.
It does seem, however, that the benefits of using Agile outweigh the pitfalls, which is why we’re likely set to see more marketers adopt the process as time goes on.
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