If scaling agile is proving to be a challenge, you may want to reexamine your customer engagement efforts. Customer engagement is key to scaling agile because it fosters better partnerships with customers: Instead of feeling like “those agile folks never deliver anything,” customers see their input being considered and acted upon. As an added bonus, your teams get better feedback. This post looks at how you can scale customer engagement and scale agile in the process.
Why Customer Engagement Matters
As part of agile adoption, teams need to move from a project to a product focus. When you make this move, the relationship with your customers needs to change dramatically. A project manager typically engages with a customer for a given activity—a one-time event—then moves on. As a product manager, the nature of the relationship you need to have is significantly different. First and foremost, engagement needs to be sustained. To make this happen, customers need to perceive value through this engagement.
The Need for Scale—and How to Deliver
Establishing sustained customer engagement with a customer base of 10 or 20 may be practical through targeted, one-to-one interactions. However, for any customer base that’s larger, these one-to-one approaches quickly hit a ceiling. The question then becomes how do you scale this engagement, while ensuring there’s still value in these interactions. Following are a few key approaches:
- Build a curated membership community. Many organizations have public communities that are easy to sign up for. However, the reality is that these communities may include members who have different incentives. It is better to establish a carefully curated community that includes only verified customer champions.
- Leverage video or audio conferencing. To move to one-to-many engagements, establish video conferences or audio calls instead of just offering chat, community boards or blog posts. These methods foster more connection and information sharing than just typing. This way, you can turn your engagement into a regular event as opposed to just another social media forum.
- Prioritize consistency and transparency. Establish a regular, consistent cadence and keep to it. This is critical. It must be a priority for all involved in managing these events, whether they’re weekly office hours or quarterly calls. When there’s uncertainty, customers will be less likely to rely on these forums. In addition, you want to make sure your event is exactly as advertised and you stay focused on the main objective.
- Make sure participants are getting value. Ensure you are using engagements to meet expectations and ultimately help customers in their day-to-day lives.
By engaging customers at scale and enabling them to dynamically shape roadmaps, businesses can scale agile—and more fully capitalize on its promise. Product managers engage with customers more effectively, so they can ultimately deliver greater value. Agile teams build trust and overcome that perception that they’re “not delivering anything. ” Further, they will be motivated to deliver the things for which real customers are waiting. Customers get more of what they want sooner. In short—everybody wins.
Click here for more on how Broadcom can help you scale both agile operations and customer engagements.
2022 Value Stream Management Summit
View On-demand sessions on how to level up your VSM efforts, told by peers at Honda, Unum, Verizon and other experts. Watch now!