Closer to the customer: How agile teams are paving way for better CX

By Will Lavender

Everyone’s got their theory, mine’s that teams of subject matter experts—be they clients or agents—will work together to create everything.

And, whatever’s going to happen to our creative industry in the future will accelerate, thanks to all that the world’s throwing at us right now.

We now have 18–months’ working in agile creation under our belts. Where subject matter experts—project, strategy, design, UX, story, tech, data people—are working in-house with client specialists, solving business problems. What started as a small pop-up agile trial has become cultural and is now an operating norm.

Firstly, agile creation is not an in-house agency.

In the past, the goal ‘climb that hill’ cascaded through management layers with deepening method and direction until it got down to the ‘doers’—probably in different silos.

With agile creation, ‘climb the hill’ goes straight down to the agile team who, with the right subject matter experts, ideate and execute the solution for omni-channel customer connection. And, because the agile teams are closer to the customer, it has a greater chance of being right for the customer.

Over time, the teams have broadened to include product, operations, systems, and data folk, so the teams’ abilities to complete complex tasks have increased—and with that their confidence too. Things are not only more efficient, they’re more enjoyable.

Returning teams love the can-do-ness of agile creation. Dare I say it, some find the agency less fun and fulfilling than onsite agile creation up at the client’s place.

Already, of course, techies tell me how they’ve been doing this for decades, and in a way, I feel I have too—at CX Lavender—because we’ve always ideated with techs, creatives, strategists etc. But, what’s different now, is that mixed skills, from different places, are working without agendas, at the clients’ offices—a bit like a zoo, where visitors, keepers, lions and camels sort stuff out and get the shit done.

It’s funny to think that the agency environment is an older way of working. The agency has always been the best way to solve a problem creatively. I’m not saying that the agency way is over, it’s just that the agency way, in my opinion, needs to change. Our zest will always be creativity, we just need to work in an agile way. Each area of expertise needs to understand the broader landscape and contribute with a broader offering, in an agile way. It’s a start-up mentality. And I make no mistake, this is very different to a traditional agency place, where roles and contribution are often really quite narrow.

As featured by Mi3 on the 22nd March, 2020