By working closely and regularly with customers, delivering early, iterating ideas and working cross-functionally towards a common goal Agile software development transformed the business of creating software.
Agile development massively increased the value delivered by the typical software development project by favouring “individuals and interactions” over specification, “working software” over pretty much everything, “customer collaboration” over contract negotiations and “responding to change” over blindly following a plan…
What would happen if we used these “Agile” principles to deliver Growth rather than Software?!?
We could favour “customer collaboration” and “individuals and interactions” by forming a cross functional Growth team including both “customers” and “suppliers”.
We should include representatives from Product, Sales, Marketing, Technology, Operations, Finance and so on…
We could favour “working software” or Growth in our case by giving the team the single unifying purpose of growing a carefully chosen growth metric.
The Growth Team could be “responding to change” rather than a plan by delivering early and taking a measure-act-measure approach to ideas through “on ramp” to “live” stages.
The Growth Team could communicate and meet regularly, maybe a quick “stand up” at the same time and place every day would work really well.
We could work to a weekly or fortnightly rhythm with the cumulative affects of the growth activities on the Growth metric being publicly demonstrated (and hopefully celebrated) at the end of every cycle or “sprint”.
So we have created a cross-functional team meeting regularly with the unified common purpose of doing anything and everything necessary to measure-act-measure the impact of their ideas on a single carefully chosen growth metric.
That’s cool but…
Maybe we could give this sort of approach a name…like Growth Hacking or something?
Yes Growth Hacking is the sort of term that means different things to different people but anyone familiar with Agile software development will be struck by the similarities between the approaches, rituals and rhythms typically used in both Growth Hacking and Agile Software Development.
“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
Does it all work in the real world?
The same underlying principles that make Agile software development so effective also mean Growth Hacking can totally transform the effectiveness of a company’s growth activities.
I recently spent a day with the talented team at a well backed UK based energy startup called Hometree who are creating a great brand by disrupting the domestic energy market customer experience.
We had a really productive workshop where we honestly examined the Strength Weakness Opportunities and Threats in their current growth landscape, discussed and then selected initial and ultimate growth metrics, collected growth ideas, created a growth board, reconstituted the growth team and set up the new team’s rituals and rhythms.
Not bad for one day and Andreu Tobella Brunet the Co-Founder of Hometree UK commented…
“As a start-up that is using an innovative way to sell online, we created a growth team from scratch but were having a few challenges to structure it well and have clear objectives and team alignment. This is where Rorie stepped in and helped us understand well all the roles, define our single metric and create a high performing growth team. The whole team was extremely pleased with the improvements, I would highly recommend him”.
Whether you call it Growth Hacking or something else, a very effective way of accelerating your growth is to learn from agile software development and to create a cross-functional team meeting regularly with the unified common purpose of doing anything and everything necessary to measure-act-measure the impact of their ideas on a single carefully chosen growth metric.