How agile is your business?

The key to business success lies in the ability to respond quickly to changes in the business environment, whilst remaining cost efficient and embracing innovation and technology. In today’s highly competitive market place, it is critical for all business owners to remain flexible, so they can move and adapt, as well as actively encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship and innovative thinking.

Agility over perfection

We all know that the early bird catches the worm, but now more than ever before, we are seeing a scenario where agility is winning over perfection. Whilst browsing on the internet I read the following quote from movie maker John Lasseter at Pixar, which made me think.


“We don't actually finish our films, we release them."

What Lasseter is saying is that your company, product or service will never be finished and will never be what you would consider to be "perfect." So instead of beating yourself up, increasing numbers of companies are simply launching their offering as it is (90% perfect rather than 100% perfect) and are often able to gain a major advantage. They are doing this because they understand that there is no way to know every flaw, bug or feature request until they actually get their product/service in the hands of their intended customers.

Good enough?!

Whilst some of us might balk at the idea of launching something that is not 100% perfect, it’s worth remembering that there are some advantages. And whilst there are certain services that I wouldn’t want to compromise perfection on – MOT, heart surgery etc., there are without doubt some interesting reasons why being agile in business may present some interesting opportunities.

  1. Clear advantage over your competitors – when you launch something new quickly, you have an immediate advantage over your competitors who may still be at the testing or trialling stage. And whilst they are trying to achieve imaginary perfection, your company is achieving real sales and real market share.
  2. Time vs. perfection – if it took you 19 months to release the perfect product, you need to remember that a lot can change in that time, including customer demands and competitor behaviour. By being agile, you can set smaller, short-term deadlines that reduce the chances that your market will shift too sharply on you.
  3. What’s perfection anyway? – You will never know if your product or service is perfect until you get it into the hands of your customers, and even then some of the features that you spent months agonising over may never actually be used.
  4. It boosts your employees – Being an agile company means that your employees get the chance to work on different projects and have the invaluable experience of launching new features. It reduces the rates of burnout that can come from months of working on the same project with nothing to show for it.
  5. It energises your customers - Customers get excited about new features, new versions and new product development. It gives them something to talk about and keeps your company at the forefront of their mind.

So next time you are wondering whether your latest product or service is good enough, why don’t you do what the big brands are doing and launch it anyway?