A recent article in Bank Innovation called Agile Development Has Banks Failing Fast (in a Good Way) by Philip Ryan presents a range of cogent points around the benefits and importance of agile development methodologies. These include:
- the observation that the threat to traditional banking practice from Silicon Valley comes as much from the adoption of new software development practices as from new technologies and disruptors;
- the benefits of agile in terms of delivering rapid product innovation;
- the importance of being prepared to ‘fail’, ie pivot and re-position; and
- the observation that ‘fast fail’ does not necessarily signify ‘failure’ as much as ‘hypothesis testing’ – in other words allowing product design/development decisions to be based on observations and facts rather than assumptions and preferences.
All of this is true and salient.
However, it doesn’t acknowledge that agile is but one part of the a wider ‘ecosystem’ of cultural and organisational practices that are necessary to succeed these days.
From a cultural perspective, the issues concern matters such as open communication, flat structures, true stakeholder engagement, cross- functional participation, collaboration and empowerment.
From a product design perspective, what’s needed is the recognition that agile is as important as UX-based design principles and Lean Canvas methodologies.
These, in fact, form but one part of a wider array of approaches and practices that fully-support ‘fast failing’.
A nice infographic that expresses this is from Lithespeed: