I recently presented at a figaro digital travel event, and not one to make it easy on myself I wanted to go all out in making a point about how to be more effective and not waste time. I had a 10 minute slot so I decided to do my presentation Petcha Kutcha style (20 slides, 20 seconds per slide) which meant I’d be done in 6 minutes 40. The experience was terrifying, there is nothing like feeling vulnerable in front of a bunch of strangers.
You can see the presentation here if you really want to see me rushing through 20 slides, but it will save you reading the rest of this.
What I was talking about is important
It was about being Nimble – here is the dictionary definition of nimble:
“quick and light in movement or action”
Who doesn’t want to be that?
Let’s go back to 2016, I was under 40, there Olympics were in Rio and KMP went lean. I’d been frustrated with processes that were wasteful and unnecessary, my mascot example of this was the Specification document, I’d write hundreds of pages worth of document, with untold hours of research, scoping meetings, decisions, details, more meetings and at the end I would have spent weeks creating a document that would guide us through a build process and deliver the most perfectly perfect product at the end of the process.
Only what would actually happen is we’d end up building the product and learning a bunch of things along the way, clients would change their mind and we’d have to go through a change control process and by then end of the project if the spec would have been proven incorrect – well it would have if anyone had actually read the damn things (I don’t blame anyone for not fully reading one, they were huge and they were detailed).
The whole endeavor had been a massive waste of time, and that is frustrating for me. It is frustrating because in my view wasting your time or anyone else’s time is the most despicable thing you can do. Time is a precious thing and is NOT be disposable, you can never get time back.
Think about the last time you were working on a website or digital project, I’ll bet it was a long process and a lot of the well researched requirements ended up with being things that weren't useful or worthwhile – or even worse they were things that you don’t know were useful or worthwhile.
All of that is wasted time – time you can’t get back. Time you could have spent on something else.
It doesn’t have to be like that though – there is a better way.
And we call it nimble
Well, I’m sick of the connotations that ‘Agile’ brings, and I’m not knocking Agile here, just the connotations. We take all that is great about agile, and we add to that the benefits of being a lean organisation and we call it nimble. We get to be quick and light, continuously adding value but getting to the important stuff first. We help our clients to gain clarity and work to ensure benefits are realised quickly and effectively without compromising on quality.
Being nimble isn’t the easy route, actually it is pretty hard, but it is worth it.
A quick example
Let me give you an example of the UK’s leading childcare provider. The had been through the old way of doing things elsewhere, but they needed something changing, and quickly because their site was not working
They needed nimble
So we got everyone together and ran a Google Ventures Sprint. We involved a bunch of people who wouldn’t have normally been involved in this project, nursery managers, call centre staff right up to the MD – and as a team we set a long term objective, we mapped a journey, we came up with a host of assumptions, risks, and a list of opportunities better than any spec would have defined.
Importantly we learned together and all agree what was important – nursery pages and a target of prospective parents.
The same team then came up with a bunch of solutions, refined them and the prototyped the ‘winning formula,’ bear in mind at this point that this was just our best idea. And we had only spent 3 days working on it.
We put the prototype in front of the people that counted – prospective parents and we tested it
We wanted to make sure we were delivering the right thing. We had a ‘qualified success,’ we learned a bit more, we refined a little and we added in some elements form the insight we got from the parents – like the fact there is only so much attention you can give to a website at 3am with a crying baby
We launched an amended set of Nursery pages within 4 weeks, at a fraction of the original web build budget and we transformed conversion to enquiry overnight – it increased by 168% for the nursey pages and importantly the conversion rate for the site overall almost doubled
All of that from a single page change, focusing on what was important and launched in under 4 weeks
Applying that mix of Agile and Lean we call Nimble, all we did was value collaboration and conversation over documentation and identify the most important thing and focused on that.
Our spec was a post it’s a, sketch and a prototype, the feedback loop was instant and before we committed to any code we already knew we were building the right thing. We wasted no time and we saw massive gains.
Next time you are thinking about a digital project – do yourself a favour and get nimble, grab a team, get to the core of the problem and get on with it. You’ll be amazed what you can achieve in a short space of time.
Thanks for reading this far – if you like to find out more about how we can help you be nimble then please give me a shout. Who knows what we might achieve.