I’ve been struggling with whether or not to write a post on culture. I usually try to make my posts be positive and forward looking. And yet, I can’t write an article on culture without first doing a small rant on what I consider the dark side of culture. The sometimes use of culture to exclude people that don’t “fit”. Even when they might have relevant skills and can add value. As a woman in technology, and now an older woman in technology, on the surface I don’t always look like I “fit”. Though, I guess I’ve been lucky. The teams and environments that I have worked in have been diverse, just by virtue of me being on them. And now, I’m at a point and level in my career, where I can positively impact a culture, not just “fit” into one.
For this post, I’d like to step back a moment. Instead of looking at the why’s and how’s of the methodology, I would like to instead consider one of the key benefits that Agile brings to both us as product creators and to our customers. What you might think of as the “Value” with a capital “V” of Agile. This is that it brings down the cost of change.
Startups should first start with trying to understand the market and what you can uniquely offer of value to that market. That I meant not to ignore traditional branding activities, just not to prioritize that before they have product/market fit validated. And base your branding on this discovery.
I love the disclaimer that “past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future gain” that is often affixed to advice or information from investment houses. Because it’s just that, a disclaimer. I get a chuckle out of it. The goal of most business owners is to do the opposite. To find a way to integrate lessons learned into their business models and build positive momentum towards future gains. And yes, if you find a way to do that consistently then everyone does come along – customers, investors, and the best talent – regardless of the disclaimer.
A lot has changed over time in terms of company business organization. Traditionally Marketing was about lead generation and collateral production. Basically inputs to the sales process. Sales was all closing deals and achieving quotas. Marketing had the long view, trying to please all Customers. Sales had the short view, trying to service a specific Customer today. Marketing had indirect exposure to Customers. Sales owned direct relationships. The turf wars in existing companies grew naturally about these very different mandates and responsibilities. A real life “best of times and worst of times” saga.