Startups and Agile manifesto

In the mid 1990s a big research has been conducted in the United States of America, under the code name "Chaos". The research was focused mainly on the way that companies are used to work and deliver to their customers based on the Waterfall approach. The results of the research were like an earthquake on the foundations of working methods, as it has shown that trillion of dollars were lost alongside with all the opportunities of evolving their products and services to deliver value to their customers.

The reason that so many opportunities were lost during that decade alongside with some trillions of dollars is because companies used to sign a contract with their customer to deliver the product in three years time, planned for 6 months to 1 year, develop for 18 months, test for 6 months and then call the customer to deliver the product.The best case scenario was to deliver on time, which usually was not happening so we had a few more months of delay of the general release. Customer was not present or even part of the development. Customer interaction was only at the beginning when they closed the deal and at the end on the delivery of the product.

This approach was a big failure with really high costs and lost opportunities because the customer was absent for 3 years. Therefore the solution or product delivered was obsolete in the market and was agreed and built based on the requirements and needs of the customer that were already 3 years old.

Nowadays, start-up companies are born on daily basis, full of young entrepreneurs with dreams and ambitions to dominate the market. In order to be able to achieve this very challenging and competitive goal, start-ups need to work closely with the customer on daily basis if possible. Do not forget that you are building a product for the customer and not for yourselves. Customer needs to be the key stakeholder of the product and provide the feedback early on the production.

For example, if a customer needs a car to move around, it does not necessarily mean that we have to wait for the whole car to be produced to deliver it. We could agree on an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that the start-up will deliver much faster and start having income from the very early stages of production. Which means, instead of waiting for the car to be produced, we can deliver a skateboard to the customer to move around. After a few iterations we could deliver a bicycle, then a motorbike and finally a car. With this way, we delivered something to the customer which can use and empirically together we evolve that MVP to a product that will continuously improve and change based on the customer needs.

Konstantinos Kareklas - Agile Coach and Trainer / Innovation Facilitator / Agile Transformation Lead