I have to imagine that whoever named “Agile Development” may well regret it by now. The approach of complementing a long-term roadmap with frequent, short-duration sprints has proliferated to marketing, retail and even urban development. So I’m trying Agile business development, aka biz dev aka drumming up business.
In the name of transparency and in line with a lot of other Agile [x] practitioners, I’m simply stealing the name and the broadest outlines of Agile. However, I have done some actual planning around Agile Biz Dev here that I’m sharing.
Step 1: The roadmap
As with everything, step one involves setting an objective and designing plans to meet it. Not surprisingly, that objective takes the form of more business. However, since “get more business” would result in simply dialing everyone in my contact list willy-nilly, I’ve refined the objective both to give clearer direction and to focus on specific measurements:
Drive leads (net new prospects and requests for proposal) with a focus on market research offerings
In service of this objective, the current roadmap includes units such foci on specific industries, branding and thinking big.
To accomplish the elements of the roadmap, I’ve created a series of two-week (-ish; lots of fall holidays may force me to extend timelines a bit) sprints. Each sprint focuses on one unit to leave time for my business-as-usual work.
Step 2: Initial sprints
So far, I’ve got a few sprints already planned. These initial sprints include a few units of specific industries, since it makes sense (to me, at any rate) to create a specific pitch for a specific industry and then rattle the cages of the appropriate contacts. After that, I’m including one unit to review and revise key branding elements (website, LinkedIn, elevator speech) and another to dream up new opportunities.
Of course, management retains the right to change plans without further notice!
Step 3: Ready, fire, aim
Having defined what I want to achieve and how I will go about achieving it, I have begun executing the plan. I really appreciate the built-in self-correction implied in an Agile methodology. As much as I joke about making up the rules as I go along, I believe that flexibility underpins Agile. If something ain’t workin’, it means going back to the drawing board and making adjustments rather than simply pushing ahead.
Accordingly, I’ve built in a measurement check-in at the end of each two-week sprint. I’ll take time to tally up leads, to confirm next steps and to hone strategy and measurement.
I’ll keep you posted on how things work out.