"Agile", you are not good enough anymore
We always cared about the customers, that was never the problem
What the “agile mindset” solved for us was the problem of creating products with big teams. We solved that problem well compared to the past.
But AI / Machine Learning and better available learning accelerated an existing trend: We don't have a problem anymore of not having products for our problems.
We have too many. The existence of a product is not a differentiator anymore
Our tools became so incredibly good at reaching everyone with products we created quickly that there is now a new enemy: Choice.
And in order to battle choice you need to stand out, except…
Customers don't know whom to trust anymore. Everyone says they have the best, and convincingly so. It is an absolute bloodbath that everyone tries to solve in sales and marketing by convincing people somehow better.
Users turn to the only trust we have left as a reaction:
Other people who have no incentive of deceiving us -> Word of Mouth
Trying something before buying it -> Trials, freemiums
Building custom solutions ourselves
Limiting liability on contracts (monthly vs. multi-year contracts)
Creating visibility into our tooling and cutting off things that don't work
This is a reality that swoops up from B2C markets into B2B and ultimately enterprise whether you accept that or not.
You can have the perfect sprint and achieve still nothing
And this in turn means being agile - building fast and being organized - is not enough anymore. You could have the perfect sprint and achieve nothing.
In the past, you had to be fast because there were so many valuable destinations to reach
Today, discovering the right direction is the key. Whether you get there 20% faster than a competitor is just nice to have
Being customer-centric is not a buzzword anymore. It means, only if you have a lasting impact on your customer's success you can persist.
Agile may not be entirely dead but if anything it became a small cog in the machine. In the past, it was the machine. No scaled agile framework will ever change that.
Speed without direction is wasted energy. And you can't guess the direction anymore from the top.
Only your customer knows it.
The problem with the intent of “being agile” and the outcome of it
To clarify, there is nothing wrong with the intent of being agile.
We never tried to actively create products that are not good:
Waterfall was invented to deal with the absolute chaos that no organization at all brought.
Agile was invented to deal with the weaknesses of waterfall projects to be closer to the customer and create software faster and more iteratively
Product-led principles like intently measuring customer success are now necessary to bring it over the finish line because agile processes have a fundamental flaw