In the old days of product development customers didn’t see a new product until it was finished. Everything was polished and the bugs were (mostly) worked out. Sometimes the finished product wasn’t really what the customer had in mind though, which exposed some painful flaws in this model.
Product development today requires a much more nimble approach, one where customers not only see but also provide detailed feedback long before the product is considered final. In fact, products often need to change so rapidly, based on customer demand, that there never really is a “final” stage.
This newer, better approach I’m describing is called the “agile model.” If you Google that phrase you’ll find all sorts of definitions, mostly intended for software developers. The fundamental concepts that define the agile approach aren’t limited to software development though.
Purists may scoff at this, but the key elements of the agile model can be summarized as follows:
There’s plenty of product development happening in the digital content world these days, and that’s terrific. What worries me though is how much of this is being done with the old model, in a vacuum, where huge investments are often made before a customer even has a chance to weigh in. The agile model helps you avoid going too far down a blind alley.
If you’re working on a new digital content initiative are you creating an MVP, getting customer feedback, and iterating on that feedback? If not you’re probably wasting a lot of valuable time and resources.