Saturday, November 10, 2007

Demonstration-Based Agile (DBA)

Adopting agile development processes means adopting key practices, usually some combination of the following:
  1. Develop in short iterations.
  2. Release frequently.
  3. Write tests first.
  4. Communicate frequently.
Organizations moving towards agile product development typically face major hurdles as many people are entrenched in old waterfall thinking. How can you most effectively move towards agile in such an environment?

Forget about Scrum, XP, and all the buzz words. Let me introduce a new buzz word.

Start with demonstration-based agile (DBA) on a small scale. With demonstration-based agile, you insist on only one thing:

Regular Demos. The development staff demos the product to the product manager and other members of the team at the end of every week (or some other short period).
It's a lot easier for a team to agree to regular demos than it is to short iterations or frequent releases. Yet regular demos aren't much different. The team must iterate on developing the product and must have something to "release" (as a demo) frequently. Regular demos also stimulate frequent communication. Finally, the team sort of plans "tests" by defining in advance what to expect from each demo.

Some curmudgeons may resist the idea of regular demos, but for many the concept is easier to swallow than all of the agile practices that fall out of it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Positioning Cough Syrup

Positioning your cough syrup can be like positioning mouthwash.

Last year, I cited the example of Listerine as a product that highlights the weakness within its strength. It tastes bad, but the bad taste instills confidence that it kills germs.

Now John Moore at Brand Autopsy tells us about Buckley's Cough Mixture employing a similar positioning strategy.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Effect of Fees on Your Brand

Sometimes fees above and beyond the base price of your product are a lucrative part of your business. For example, late fees, though they purportedly are exceptional and merely for recouping revenue that would otherwise be lost, are in fact a major cash cow for video rental stores.

From a narrow economic point of view, such fees are good for your business. After all, business is about making money, and the fees bring in revenue.

But the long-term impact of such fees is hard to measure and may be negative. Fees affect the long-term perceptions of your product and company. They affect the equity of your brand.

For details, see this post by Roger Dooley on the Neuromarketing blog.