"Agile" has become a popular buzzword in research and product development. While an agile process has advantages, namely its speed, creating a truly agile environment can have far-reaching impact across an organization. That’s why it is important to take a step back and first consider exactly what your team needs in a research process and methodology to be successful. Are there ways to achieve faster innovation and other agile benefits without completely disrupting your current workflow? Yes! Here’s how.
An Overview of the Agile Process
An agile process is an intentional, iterative approach to product development and project management with roots in IT and software development. Within an agile environment, each part of a project builds on the next in a series of feedback loops. It begins with exploring, then testing, validating, and optimizing before feeding into the next phase of development with additional exploration, testing, validation, and optimizations until the project is complete.
The goal of an agile environment is to be responsive to shifts as they occur, rather than reactive to changes afterwards. As such, agile research depends on a high degree of transparent contact and efficient collaboration from a cross-functional team. The team itself has the power to make decisions rather than involving upper management in day-to-day activities which tends to slow the project process. The team must be flexible, adaptable, and willing to respond to what is learned along the way, changing their trajectory as new findings are uncovered. A high degree of trust is needed both within the team itself, and between the team and management above it. However, common challenges to this approach include:
- The time commitment and attention needed for a single project
- Willingness of upper management to step back in decision-making
- Organizational and cross-functional buy-in on what may be a radically different way of working
The Importance of Focus
In our experience working within the agile processes of various organizations, we have learned that the key to project success lies in the amount of focus a team is able to place on the task at hand due to the structure and time intensiveness required in this approach. For example, frequent, perhaps even daily, touchpoints keep everyone focused in the same direction - allowing the team to quickly relay and respond to changes as they occur.
That’s why prioritization of a team’s time and resources is so crucial to the agile process in general - underscoring the importance of focus for a research project to be successful. However, a focused approach to research isn’t exclusive to an agile environment. Focus is a common driver of any speed-centric research approach.
Achieving Fast, Focused Research Outside of Agile
Whether your organization is ready to support an agile environment, or you simply want to increase the speed of your research, Blueberry is experienced in delivering fast, focused insights from a customized approach. In fact, there are a number of tools we can leverage to speed up the research process in fielding and execution across both qualitative and quantitative methods.
To learn more about how we can help you innovate faster within an agile environment, or with similar benefits and success outside of one, contact Blueberry today.