With agility, customer is king (or queen)

The benefits of improving agility in your communications team

Agile is trending now. A new way of working in today’s digitalised, fail-fast-move-on world.

Silos, large teams and bureaucratic attitudes are a thing of the past. Instead, small, cross-functional teams, led by a product owner, work towards a common business objective and involve the customer along the way.

In the agile world, customer really is king! 
 
Maybe you’re still a newbie to the world of working agile (you'll love these clips). So was I. Up until recently, I had only heard of agile from IT nerds or physiotherapists in my gym. When I started a five-month communication assignment for a large bank I got more acquainted with the concept and realised that agile working can mean a great many things. Also in communication.

In the agile world, customer really is king.”

The bank’s communication team experimented with working in an agile way for a concrete design deliverable. For a set period of time (in agile language, a sprint) during which specific work had to be completed and a "minimum viable product" (MVP) been made available, the team drove for direct customer interaction. They incurred regular feedback in all development stages – even if this meant showing a communication toolkit, video, app or website design in its infant state.

Agile takes a no-surprises approach. It’s all about feedback loop, interacting with the client and reducing cycle time. Its credo: when something needs to be said, say it. This avoids potentially compounding an issue by ignoring it and hoping it will go away.
 
In fact, good communication is key to project success in agile. It underpins the team’s ability to produce quality. Informal, face-to-face communication creates an “OK to fail” environment of trust, which fosters innovative thinking and engagement. Isn’t this what all companies want anyway?
 
I’m curious to see how agile takes shape in some of my projects to come, and I really feel this concept is interesting for the communication trade. It’s a bit of Pareto law (80/20-rule) brought into work-life practice, with (product) imperfections along the way tolerated in exchange for making progress toward the goal, instead of ‘nobody moves until we’ve made the perfect plan’.


You can more find more insights in danibu's next Communication Bootcamp.

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Dani Buijtenhek

Dani Buijtenhek is founder and owner of danibu, an international communication consultancy based in the Netherlands. She has 18 years’ experience managing international communication initiatives with some of the world’s leading brands, such as Roche, DSM, adidas and Danone. danibu helps companies of all sizes and individuals get the best out of each other through communicating more effectively.