The first step into failure and disaster, e.g. when launching a new product or entering the Chinese market, is solely sticking to an earlier, commonly known path to success. Especially in a unique and dynamic market like the Chinese market is right now, obstinately following strategies that have shown success in the past, can be fatal. One example would be when many companies continue using the commonly applied New Product Development (NPD) model. This product-centric model focuses on identifying market opportunities and best practices. What sounds very promising, actually has a crucial point: to not purely focusing on identifying market opportunities and develop and produce a new product, but to not neglect the customers. One needs to have the ability to ask first “who are the customers and why do they buy?” as well as to say “stop” or “slow down” until the customers are fully understood instead of live to the credo “build and they will come”. In short, that means one has to have the ability to be agile in order to not develop and produce a product full-scale which ends up not getting purchased.
In order to be sustainably successful, companies should act agile. But what does this actually imply? At Daxue Consulting we define being “agile” as making a series of small, iterative refinements so that an organization has the flexibility to respond to unpredictability. This unpredictability is the reason why following to formerly or even currently successful strategies may lead to failure in the future. The Chinese market changes and so do its customers and their behaviors. Thus, while creating and following to a vision and long-term objectives is imperative, the idea of acting agile is to break those long-term goals into smaller iterative projects which the organization can quickly test and learn from. Interestingly, choosing agile strategy also means to fail on the road to success:
The Iterative Customer Development Model as part of Agile Strategy; Graph Credit: Daxue Consulting.
Because failing is okay if one plans to learn from it. In doing so, through iterating the processes, each step can be optimized. Moreover, only if repeatable customers (the goal of the Customer Discovery is to understand the customers, their preferences and buying behaviors) with a repeatable sales process (the goal of the Customer Validation is to make customers loyal) that yields profitable business model appear, it will be moved on to engaging in heavy marketing. Creating and driving end-user demand into the company through marketing (Customer Creation) should only be done after the point where a company acquired its first customers and knows who they are. Finally, the focus can be shifted to building the organization to scale and execute the business plan (Company Building).
In order to perform each of these steps as effective as possible, the organization needs to be flexible and agile. But how can a company ensure to meet the requirements? At Daxue Consulting, we have the required experience and expertise in the Chinese market to know which methods are applicable in China to act agile. The most common agile strategies are the following:
Most important aspect about Scrum is that the scrum team is self-organized within the framework, meaning that the team is responsible for scheduling and completing the work. Using Scrum will lead to a fundamental shift, which is why external help from experts can be crucial. At Daxue, we can help you setting up your first agile team. We suggest to start with a small team of maximum seven members (the core team) that understands how to act agile and is able to teach others in the organization later on.
At Daxue, we can enlighten you further about these values, whether this method is applicable for your organization and goals in China, as well as how it is connected to Scrum.
Our team is constantly working on agile solutions in the Chinese market to provide clear guidelines for your success; photo credit: Daxue Consulting.
Contact us now to discuss with our project management how you can be agile in China. Our project managers will work closely with your team to explain the different approaches in detail and collaboratively decide on which agile strategy suits you and your business the best in China.