Is Claiming to be Agile and Product-led an Excuse for Lazy Thinking?

Is Claiming to be Agile and Product-led an Excuse for Lazy Thinking?

Is Claiming to be Agile and Product-led an Excuse for Lazy Thinking?

I was recently shown a “technical strategy” document for a proposed startup, containing input from an “award-winning” technical strategist, to review.

After an outline of the business opportunity, it launched into a product road map from MVP up to Version X, where it detailed the functionality and would be delivered at each stage.

It then stated the only strategic element I could find; the “pieces of the puzzle” that the business wanted to control were “project origination process” and “the user experience”.

Everything else will be “partnerships and collaborations” with the document listing an AtoZ of (currently) hot tech. I struggle to see this strategy document and I wonder if I am alone?

When I challenged the content I was told that the evolving design of the product would determine the strategy, with the implicit suggestion that I should just respect and trust an “award winner”!

NB: Did you know that there are almost a million names on Linkedin claiming to award winners of one sort or another? Coincidentally, there are over 2.5 million experts and over 3.5 million coaches!!

Creating strategies has never been easy and always comes with a high risk of being wrong – plus it is not getting any easier as the world becomes more joined up, more complex and moves faster – but that does not mean they are not valuable. Strategy is also harder, but not impossible to develop as a lone founder – consideration of different perspectives usually enriches the thinking behind an eventual formulation of a strategy.

Wikipedia reports that a “technology strategy is the overall plan which consists of objectives, principles and tactics relating to the use of technologies within a particular organization”.

To my mind, the strategy also provides the value framework against which the selection of new or alternate technologies can be judged. Of course, things change and so can/should strategies when necessary, but that does not discount the value of having done the thinking and developed a plan ahead of time.

It can be and clearly is tempting/exciting to jump into solutionizing, designing product(s) and pulling them together however you can – and then hope someone has a big enough problem to make it a viable, investable business.

I guess that if you don’t have a strategy no-one can accuse you of getting it wrong, but likewise without an articulated strategy how do they have confidence that your proposition is robust and scalable?

My suggestion is that when looking at “strategy documents” the reader considers the Wikipedia entry and decides if a “strategy document” clearly articulates the technology-related objectives, principles and tactics. Test them out by asking other people what they understood from the document.

Overall, don’t be lazy just because something is difficult. Investors put money into enterprises with three things: People, Product and Potential

Having a strategy illustrates the potential, strengthens the product and elevates the people.

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Ian J Sutherland 

Business Change Expert

Ian J Sutherland is a highly skilled director with expertise in governance, partnerships and regulation and almost four decades of experience serving as a powerful catalyst for change for organisations of all sizes and sectors. He thrives on identifying areas for innovation and improvement, forming effective strategies to drive efficiency and create bottom-line results. He has a proven capacity to serve as a bridge between organisations and functions, creating unity and operational coherence. A personable and creative leader, with a unique insight and the ability to see the big picture and provide constructive challenge, he writes on many matters including the delivery of change in today's world and is an opportunistic photographer who seeks to capture images that interest him. He enjoys good beer, good company and good music - not necessarily in that order.

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