If today the importance of social networks for the B2C sector is no more questionable, this does not hold true for B2B. Social networks don’t always come naturally to B2B companies, especially not those in traditional industries. They don’t see the point of “wasting time” to communicate on these networks and above all they do not understand the benefits they could gain from such a presence.
The fact is that more and more B2B companies are on social networks and the usefulness of these networks for B2B marketing has increased in parallel. It is therefore urgent and necessary for all these “unconverted” B2B players to change their mind-set and understand what these networks can bring to the B2B sector.
Mike Berry (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/mikeberrylinkedin) – strategic management expert and course leader at GEM – insists on that point: during our courses he pointed out that social networks have to be part of the global marketing strategy of any company.
Social networks are unavoidable for B2B companies.
Social networks represent a huge potential for B2B actors
First, social networks (professional and B2C) represent a huge potential thanks to the incredible number of their users.
The number of active users of the main social networks in 2016:
- 1, 55 billion: Facebook
- 668 millions: Tencent QZone
- 400 millions: Instagram
- 307 millions: Twitter
- 300 millions: Baidu Tieba
- 300 millions: Google+
- 230 millions: Tumblr
- 176 millions: Sina Weibo
- 100 millions: LinkedIn
- 100 millions: Pinterest
But the number of users is not the only figure that is amazing; the number of likes, shares… is also stunning: it is up to 10 digits!
Social networks cannot be ignored. But it would be a huge mistake, as a B2B actor, to limit professional networks (LinkedIn, Viadeo, Xing …). B2C social networks (Facebook, Twitter …) also have to be used. Both present different benefits: some are more focused on brand awareness, community… others more on products, customers, recruitment… But definitely they are complementary.
As a brand, developing a strong strategy on these new modes of communication has become essential for any B2B company; this is, truly, where the audience is expecting these latter ones.
B2B Companies have to use these social networks to communicate with their target, exchange, collect its opinions towards their brand, their products…
Social networks and B2B: let’s break the silos
Social networks are not to only be used externally. They can also be used inside the company. And in fact they should. They can surely help any company to get out its tradition “silo structure”. Cross communication will have finally space to exist; the possibility to exist. The benefit will be triple:
- Better communication and collaborative spirit,
- Reinforcement of the company culture,
- Last but not the least, a first step for the beginners toward the knowledge of the “standard” social networks.
Social networks and B2B: let’s federate teams
If social networks are not that much developed in B2B companies, it is more due to a lack of knowledge and understanding than anything else. People don’t like what they do not know and do not master. They simply mistrust it by ignorance; start with internal social network could then be a good option.
The knowledge by the use. The ownership thanks to the taste of community and all that it can bring positive in the daily work.
Next step will be the use of the employees on “standard” social networks. But this use will be “voluntary”; they will do it on their own. They will want to share their knowledge, experience, feelings …
Employees can easily be turned into advocates. Companies will then watch leads, sales and customer satisfaction increase.
They are some easy lever to put in place and use:
– Increase the pride of belonging to the company
– Develop a better quality of life at work
– Be in the Top 10 Best Employers
Employees are the companies best resource when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM). They can reach an audience 10 times larger than any brand’s current audience, and can increase engagement.
Improve B2B brand awareness thanks to social networks
Engaging employees is a great part to brand awareness. But customers have also to be part of this journey. Customers have to be engaged with the company brand, with the aim of becoming true ambassadors and promote the brand. The benefits will be tremendous.
The problem many brands are facing is not being able to connect with their customers on an emotional level. Social networks can help by humanizing the company brand. This is very important and can transform your brand from a logo, corporate name to a living entity.
Social networks will also help B2B companies in their brand awareness mission in the sense that they drive traffic. When maximized, social media sites are excellent at generating leads and driving traffic to external landing pages or websites. It is a very organic method of traffic acquisition and a very valuable one.
Social networks can also be used to find out what people are saying about brands and use that knowledge to improve Brands’ processes, communications, or features.
Social networks improve B2B brands’ visibility on the web
To be visible on the web is essential for a quality web marketing strategy. Since late 2009, Google and Bing have integrated even in their search results of messages on some social networks. The content published (by users, professionals or individuals), has thus a real added value.
Companies must create quality content, encourage contributions and regularly update their news. Here more than ever content is king. This knowledge should always be kept in mind.
Visibility can also be achieved by demonstrating its credibility and expertise. The exchange of expertise and mutual support is what’s most important on social networks: by positioning itself as an expert in a specific field, the company can participate in its exchanges bringing real qualitative and relevant answers, and develop this way its brand awareness.
Social networks: the B2B partner to identify and attract customers and talents
Social networks use a real strategy for identifying and attracting new quality clients. These social networks allow easy access to recent (as they are published by the contact itself), valid and complete information: Often , users do not hesitate to disclose their personal details, email, phone. .. Companies with time, clear objectives and respecting the main actions that are required to attract customers (http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing/online-marketing/social-media-and-online-networking/how-to-use-social-media-to-attract-consumers ) can easily get great benefits of being present on social networks.
With social network companies not only attract customers. They also attract talents. And this is a major asset. What is a company without great new talents? Isn’t it easier to recruit talents, if they are already attracted by this very company?
Still not convinced about the use of the social networks?
Please go and listen to : https://soundcloud.com/linkhumans/jonathan-wichmann-orca-social
Till recently I thought social networks were useless; especially for business. I couldn’t understand their popularity, their success. I decided to dig deeper the question: if so many people were interested in it, there might be a reason. I read, watched videos and carefully listened to all tips and precious information on business technics and trends given by James Barisic (@jamesmb – https://fr.linkedin.com/in/jamesbarisic ) – social media specialist at GEM. He gave the taste for social networks. Things became clearer.
It was then obvious: Whatever your opinion is about social networks, THEY are crucial for business. They are very powerful tools for any business – small, medium and large – to promote their brand online. Social networks are free to use but also offer paid advertising options to gain even more audience for those who want to promote their brand even more. But it is not because all businesses should be on social networks that you should be on all social networks. You have to choose the one(s) that are relevant to your business and nurture it (them) regularly with the right content.
Familiarize yourself with the different social networks
Before choosing the right social network(s), thinking about content marketing and building up your social strategy, you first have to know these social networks; you have to know how they run, know perfectly the audience you want to reach to select the most adapted one and see how your business could benefit from these different networks.
To help you in this selection, we chose and analysed 3 of the most famous social networks for business (1). This information should help you to better know these platforms and thus should ease your task to select the ones that are the most adapted to your business.
Facebook – the social network to transmit emotions and target your audience
Facebook is the undisputed leader of social networks – in terms of number of users and time spent on its site and its mobile applications.
Facebook brings together all age groups and population categories, making it an extraordinary marketing database.
With its advertising program able to target users according to many criteria, Facebook offers a powerful tool to promote your company, your brand, your products, your applications and content.
Twitter – the social network to reach influencers
Twitter is a major social network focused on real-time information and having a stream of publications limited to 140 characters. Twitter is as such an ideal platform to reach opinion leaders and is a network adapted to the relationship between consumers and brands (hot news, latest trends …).
Unlike Facebook, rather centred on the close network of friends, Twitter allows virtually to follow and subscribe to the news feed of any user: friend, colleague, customer, personality, brand…
Twitter is an extremely viral(2) media through the feature “Retweet” that allows to republish information from one wall to another. Advertising on Twitter can target users very precisely. Thanks to its statistical tools, it is possible to analyse the impact of all your actions on this network.
Linkedin – the social network to reach businesses
Linkedin – world leader in professional social networks – is a network focused on business contacts and skills. It is as such an exceptional database for prospecting and targeting Linkedin profiles based on their skills and areas of activity.
LinkedIn now has a wall like Facebook allows all users to post and relay their blog posts or the result of their sector of activity. Linkedin offers business pages to speak on behalf of your company or your brand. Groups allow you to create communities around specific topics.
Linkedin has its advertising program: Display, targeted emails and sponsored posts. Through its statistical tools, it is possible to analyse the success of your publications and your advertisements.
Tips to market with social networks
As discussed previously, now that one has chosen your social networks, building a social media marketing plan is essential. Considering keyword research and brainstorming content ideas that will interest your target audience are mandatory. But to ensure your success make sure you will cover all the hereafter topics – no matter you intend or not to use paid advertising options.
Get to know your audience
To be most effective on social networks, it is very important to perfectly know your audience. The use of “personas” (3) can be very useful. Before communicating anything, you need to know precisely who you are addressing. This particularly determines the tone and content
Don’t forget that content is king
Once the audience is identified it has to be nurtured in content. But not just any. You have to create valuable information customers will find interesting. Create a variety of content by implementing images, videos, and infographics in addition to classic text-based content. Don’t hesitate to also use links to outside articles that would help you gain followers and fans. Linking to outside sources improves trust and reliability, and you may even get some links in return.
Your publications on social networks have to be of enough interest to the customers, so that they will want to come and visit you on-line regularly to check your latest publications.
Have a consistent brand image
Before thinking about publishing anything, make sure your business looks the same across the variety of the social networks. The social networks have all a different layout, but your business’ core identity should stay consistent: profile, bio, “look & feel”. Choose one brand voice, define one editorial strategy and stick to them both: it is very important that with quick glance, a short reading any customer understands that he is dealing with one of your publications.
Identify the right blogs or create your own. There are blogs, but also forums and groups. Select the ones that are the most appropriate for promoting your business. Make sure you join or engage the conversation. Look for the influencers and build relationships with them. One should never forget that behind all these platforms there are humans, and humans need communication, real one. So talk true on social networks and don’t be afraid to be human.
Track and learn from your Competitors
You have to know your competitors and follow them. By analysing what they are doing on social networks, it could provide you with valuable data about keywords research, the best links dedicated to your industry and other social media marketing tips. You have to take the most of what your competitors are doing in term of social media marketing. If a technique seems to be working for them, then you just should do the same, but even better.
Track data and measure your success
Through the various statistical tools available today (Google analytics but also statistical tools specific to each social network), you have the opportunity to easily measure and determine which strategies are better off abandoned. Similarly it will be easy to monitor the success of your social media marketing campaigns. By cons not forget to implement the different tracking tags necessary to generate the data essential to create statistics.
Towards success on social networks
You now have in hands all elements to start and succeed with social networks marketing. It is then up to you to complete or not the free services of each social network with their paid advertising options.
Nevertheless, one thing needs to be pointed out: social networks marketing takes time!
So the question you should now ask yourself: do you have enough time to do all these things properly? As mentioned the quality of the publications on social networks is important, but also the consistency and the regularity. If you have time but no budget, then no issue and do it yourself.
But if you don’t have time, you’ll have to consider paying someone to do it. One thing should be kept in mind: it is not because someone will take care of your social networks accounts that it won’t take you time. Be aware of that, and make sure you will have enough time dedicated for that part of marketing. Otherwise it could be a waste of time … and money!
(1) This selection and analysis is freely based on the social networks presentation guides provided by Webmarketing Conseil http://www.webmarketing-conseil.fr/guides/
(2) Viral: “go viral” – used in reference to Internet content which can be passed through electronic mail and social networking sites (Facebook, etc.): an image, video, or link that spreads rapidly through a population by being frequently shared with a number of individuals has ‘gone viral’. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=go+viral
(2) Personas: In user-centered design and marketing, personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. Marketers may use personas together with market segmentation, where the qualitative personas are constructed to be representative of specific segments. The term persona is used widely in online and technology applications as well as in advertising, where other terms such as pen portraits may also be used. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_(user_experience)
In the first part of this SEO/SEA synthesis, we have been through the SEO best practices to improve your website ranking.
But as we have seen, SEO is not enough. To have all chances to be well positioned, you will have to always be up-to-date (as far as digital and technical trends are concerned), you will have to regularly monitor your website not to be surprised and to anticipate the necessary changes but more importantly, you will have to understand and use SEA (Search Engine Advertising).
As mentioned in part one, I had the opportunity to recently follow a course on SEA basics and best practices taught by Mr Arnaud de Terline (https://www.linkedin.com/in/arnaud-de-terline-55540914). Today I would like to share with you this very useful knowledge.
Best practices to improve your ranking thanks to SEA
1- The principles of SEA (or more widely SEM)
““Search Engine Marketing” (SEM) was once was used as an umbrella term to encompass both SEO (search engine optimization) and paid search activities (SEA). Over time, the industry has adopted the SEM acronym to refer solely to paid search”. http://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-paid-search
Today SEA is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. SEA includes all activities that aim at enhancing the visibility of a website. It is no longer strictly limited to search engines, but is also open to social networks.
2- SEA, search engine and Search Engine Result Pages
“A web search engine is a software system that is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. The search results are generally presented in a line of results often referred to as search engine results pages (SERPs)” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_search_engine
On one hand, research on the web is and will remain very important. The main challenge for the search engines is to answer in the best way possible to any request coming from users; to always improve the quality of their SERPs.
Of course, there are several search engines locally but if we take a closer look at Google, we can see that it is dominant in the world.
On the other hand, the main challenge for companies being present on the web is to make sure their website will be present in the consistent and qualitative results (SERPs) that will be returned to the internet users’ requests. To be present within the results is one thing but to be among the first results is something else: this is the true business success. To have all chances to reach that target, the use of paid ads is a very useful way. And if we consider that Google is leading the dance, Google AdWords (Google advertising program) could be a very good option to improve the ranking of your website’s ranking.
3- Better understand the AdWords auction system to improve your campaigns
If the use of Google AdWords and the launch of campaigns is definitely part of your success on the web, it is by far very important to understand what a campaign is and how the AdWords auction system works.
A campaign is a “set of ad groups (ads, keywords, and bids) that share a budget, location targeting, and other settings. Campaigns are often used to organize categories of products or services that you offer.” https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6304?hl=en
If you want to create a campaign with Google, you will have to use AdWords. And to do this in the best way possible AdWords, the auction system is something that you should definitely understand.
Firsly, one must bear in mind that ads have to be relevant. Indeed internet users want to have information related to what they are searching for. They don’t want to be bothered with anything else. On the other side, the advertisers want ads to be relevant so that users click on them. As for Google, the company wants everyone to be happy, to have a good experience so they will come back and use their system and services again.
When talking about paid ads, the first element that is to be taken into account is the amount advertisers are willing to pay for the users to click on their ad: here we are talking about “bid”. But this amount doesn’t mean they will actually pay that amount, neither that they will be better positioned if they pay more. Ranking is not all about money, neither limited to “bid”.
There is what we call a second price auction. This mean we don’t have to pay the full amount of our bid. We just need to pay just enough to beat the competition.
In the Google system, the advertiser only pays when he receives a click. But here again the price is not only linked to the bid. Google wants to encourage good quality ads and this way Google shows more useful ads in a higher position.
In fact there are many factors that will impact your ads positioning:
Expected Clickthrough Rate : It corresponds to Google’s prediction on how many times an ad will be clicked on when shown; This prediction is based on users’ feedback: in fact users are voting by their clicks. They are helping to decide who the best to answer to search query are;
Landing page experience: Highly relevant landing page lead to higher score. To reach that, the landing page has to have relevant and original content that helps the user completing his task. This page should be easy to navigate and transparent about the nature of your own business and how you intend to use this information;
Ad relevance: There should be a clear relation between the ads and the search query. Only useful ads are shown; this system prevents advertiser to promote unrelated elements;
Ad formats: All information (site links, website domain phone numbers,…) you can add on you ad that will give more information about your business. This information should give more reasons to click on your ad: your ad is to be useful for the user.
All these factors will create a score that will directly impact your ads’ ranking. To improve your ranking, you can play with all the different factors. The objective – to always better support your campaign – is to have the better score possible. As we have seen, the good news is that this score is not only about money: we can actively influence it!
Would you like to know more about it, please go to www.adwords.google.com/support .
SEA, a true support to support your business on-line
With these two articles we have been through the main basic actions (SEO and SEA) that you can do to improve the ranking of your website.
But one important thing should be kept in mind: all this is not magic. Before doing any of these actions, and especially launching any SEA actions, you should follow this process:
- Define your strategy – define your business objectives – define your budget
- Set up adwords
- Assess the performances – define the KPIs – monitorize
- Optimize the campaigns
Indeed SEO and SEA are there to help you to promote your business on the web. But in no case it should replace your own knowledge of your own business and all basic marketing actions that should be put in place to drive a business correctly.
A good start on the web, might be to first validate all these basic marketing points?
One of the biggest challenges on-line businesses face today, is to be well ranked on the different search engines; above all to be well ranked on Google (https://www.netmarketshare.com/search-engine-market-share.aspx?qprid=4&qpcustomd=0). We all know this. But what to do exactly can be quite confusing.
I had the opportunity to recently follow a course on SEA basics and best practices. These very useful tips on SEA – taught by Mr Arnaud de Terline (https://www.linkedin.com/in/arnaud-de-terline-55540914) – were completed by a very interesting conference on SEO I had the chance to find and watch on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nhot524-qa0 . Here is a synthesis I suggest you to follow in two blog pieces. Let’s start with the first one. I hope both of them will help you.
Best practices to improve your SEO
1- Make it crawlable
First we need to understand what crawling and indexing mean. On the web, softwares – called crawlers (that is to say “search robots”) – are used to find all pages accessible to the public. The most famous robot is Googlebot.
These Crawlers examine web pages and follow links contained in there, in the same way you do when browsing the Internet. They go from link to link and return information on these web pages to search engines servers.
On Google’s servers, pages are ranked thanks to this information: from A – highest rate corresponding to these pages that are stored permanently in the main index – to F- – lowest rate corresponding to these pages seen by the crawler but never crawled. Not to mention the pages ranked 0 and that are not even seen by the crawlers.
To ensure a good ranking “grade”, some best practices have to be respected:
- Have a well-structured website:
- Avoid flat website structure and orphan pages;
- Have one or several sitemaps (general and by main theme);
- Limit your navigation depth to a maximum of 3 clicks;
- Stop the 404 pages in favour of 301 redirections or 410 code;
- Limit the use of 301 (permanent redirections) and 302 (temporary redirections) pages.
To help you on your website structure, here are some very useful free tools: screamingfrog, Watussi Box, AWStats Log analyzer, visual site mapper, SeeUrank, XenuLinkSleuth.
2- Improve internal page rank
A well-structured website will directly improve your internal page rank; the latter is tightly linked to the global SEO ranking of your website.
“The Internal page rank is the page rank computed considering only pages in your analysis scope, as opposed to the standard page rank used by search engines which takes into account the entire web – or the part of the web they have visibility over. In other words, the internal page rank indicates how your website’s page rank is distributed within your website.”
When developing your website structure, you should take into account all matters related to internal page rank.
3- Avoid duplicate content
If the structure has to be of quality, the content too, has to be of quality.
Indeed robots do not analyse only the structure. They also analyse content. And what search engines hate most is to face same content on different pages (URL). Indeed when there are multiple pieces of identical content, it is difficult for the search engine to decide which URL is more relevant to a given search query. They are forced to choose by themselves which URL is most likely to be the best. Your page rank will be lowered.
(source : https://moz.com/learn/seo/duplicate-content)
Happily there are some ways to work this around or at least to limit the negative effect:
- To create a txt file: in this file you can mention all pages that should be ignored by the crawlers;
- To put in place canonical tags;
- To avoid as much as possible duplicate content,
- To work on title and description tags.
Here you will find all details https://moz.com/learn/seo/duplicate-content
4- Improve your CTR in the SERP’s
But content and structure are nothing, if no internet users click and view your pages. Part of your website success will thus depend on your CTR level.
First here is the translation of the title of this part: “Improve your Click Through Rate (CTR) that is to say the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click-through_rate) in the Search Engine Results Pages.
Some easy things can be put in place to improve your CTR and indirectly improve your ranking.
For example, adding a structured data to the code can increase page visibility: the rich snippets – A small piece of code that changes everything.
“Snippets are the lines of black text that accompany every search result listing. They describe the page’s relevance to the phrase that the searcher used as his search query, with the words that match the query shown in bold as shown below.
Rich snippets are additional pieces of information that the search engine is able to identify on the page, used to enhance the searcher’s understanding of the value of that page. Ratings, pricing, and availability are commonly seen in ecommerce rich snippets.” (http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/82075-SEO-Using-Rich-Snippets-to-Increase-Clicks)
Here you will find a very interesting infographic on that matter: http://socialmedia.biz/2012/10/22/a-visual-guide-to-rich-snippets-infographic/
5- Increase social signals
Content, structure and code are one thing. But ranking is not limited to that. Social networks have a great impact on ranking; it is very important to increase the social signals. And this takes account UX (User Experience) that is a major asset of all today’s websites.
The social sharing bars should be used accordingly. The size should be different according to the position. The position should be determined according to ergonomic standards. But the goal should always be the same: encourage internet users to click! In that sense, adding counters could be a good option.
6- Boost social linking
In order to make the most out of social Networks, social linking should be boosted as much as possible. And here again some simple actions can be put in place:
- Twitter cards: With Twitter Cards, you can attach rich photos, videos and media experience to Tweets that drive traffic to your website. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpage, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a “Card” added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers.
- Google+ connexion, Open graph and Rich Pins : these are also some small parts of codes that will allow you to take advantage of your connection through Google+, Facebook and Pinterest.
(Must-Have Social Meta Tags for Twitter, Google+, Facebook and More: https://moz.com/blog/meta-data-templates-123 )
7- Improve page display speeds
“Page speed can be described in either “page load time” (the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) or “time to first byte” (how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server).
No matter how you measure it, a faster page speed is better. Many people have found that faster pages both rank and convert better.
Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. And research has shown that Google might be specifically measuring time to first byte as when it considers page speed. In addition, a slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget, and this could negatively affect your indexation.
Page speed is also important to user experience. Pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page. Longer load times have also been shown to negatively affect conversions.”
Website ranking is not to be limited to SEO
Of course there is no question that all this, is just an introduction. The purpose of this review is to help you understand and define your SEO priorities. This is by no means a silver bullet.
Through this quick overview, you will be able to implement all that will be required from an SEO point of view, to ensure a good ranking for your website. You are now able to understand that, with the rigor, labour, time and technology, you can positively act on this ranking.
But SEO is not everything.
To ensure optimum ranking to your website, you will have to work on other areas: for example, you will always have to keep informed of the latest news (Google considers today’s mobile compatibility as an essential element in the ranking; tomorrow?); you will also have to regularly monitor your website not to be surprised and to anticipate the necessary changes (https://www.zionandzion.com/google-analytics-best-practice/).
But more importantly, you will have to understand SEA (Search Engine Advertising) and the importance of its use.
This is the second part that I suggest to discover next month: “SEO & SEA – All you need to know for your website to well rank (Part two) “.
Until recently I did not know what the term Agile meant. Or what it covered. I did not even know it existed. Then I started hearing that term more often. So I decided to look into it. First I wanted to understand where this whole story started. Then why so many people are interested in it. Why such enthusiasm? And yet why some people are still raising their eyes at the very mention of the word Agile?
I had to understand all of this. I suggest you to accompany me in this discovery.
Agile – An old story still up-to-date
First of all it is important to clarify that these methods – even if very popular nowadays – are not new. They are not new and there is no one and only method.
Agility was born several decades ago. This movement emerged from a specific need – unique at that time – to software development. Technology is evolving, and the needs of the customers and users are changing. So, an adaptation was required. Responsiveness, flexibility and adaptability became the watchwords in the “development” world. New development methods emerged. Everyone followed their own rules.
Born from the need to put order in all this, the idea appeared to homogenize and standardize all these trends.
In 2001, seventeen IT experts decided then to meet in the USA and created a framework: the Agile Manifesto. This Manifesto was there to support and help all IT actors.
“The Manifesto defines the values and principles software teams should adopt in order to achieve the ultimate goal of creating good software.” (https://www.neotys.com/blog/the-four-values-of-the-agile-manifesto/ )
This manifesto provides all its users with 4 values and 12 principles.
I will not go into the details of these values and principles. I’ll just list them. You are free to browse the web to learn more. Digging deep into the Agile manifesto is a long process. This is not what we want to do. So we will move quickly on this part.
The 4 pillar values of the Agile methods
- ” Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
- Working softwareover comprehensive documentation;
- Customer collaborationover contract negotiation;
- Responding to changeover following a plan.
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.” (http://agilemanifesto.org/ )
Although we have decided not to dwell on the subject, here is a very entertaining and useful video: A good way to quickly and easily understand why these four values.
The 12 Agile principles
These four values come in a variety of 12 general principles, common to all Agile methods:
- “ Satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery
- Welcome changing requirements, even late in development
- Deliver working software frequently
- Business people and developers work together daily
- Build projects around motivated individuals
- Convey information via face-to-face conversation
- Working software is the primary measure of progress
- Maintain a constant pace indefinitely
- Give continuous attention to technical excellence
- Simplify: maximize the amount of work not done
- Teams self-organize
- Teams retrospect and tune their behaviors
These principles are fairly simple in concept, but are profoundly deep in practice.”
Agile – no one and only method
As you have noticed, when discussing the Agile method, I always use the plural form. I have never talked about one single Agile method. I’ve always used the plural. There is an easy explanation to this. But this should be kept in mind: Agility is a movement; a new approach to project management. In that sense there are several Agile methods.
Today the Scrum method may be the most popular one. But it’s not the only one.
“Scrum, XP, FDD or Kanban are some of the many Agile methodologies that share common characteristics, practices and philosophy but at the same time they differ at implementation standpoint, where each methodology has its own practices, terminology and tactics.”
Agile and by-products
If there are several methods born from the Agility movement, there are then many by-products. Discovering the fact that Agilty was not limited to IT development, made this emergence possible. The movement was going far beyond. It could be adapted to many other fields.
Agile – birth of Management 3.0
“Management is often the main obstacle to agile software development” https://management30.com/product/management30/
Following the Agile movement impulse, management has evolved. This is the birth of the freedom management: Management 3.0. There is no more a notion of command and control. Processes are not at the heart of management anymore. There is space for vision, action, collaboration, interaction, team spirit and trust.
Agile – beyond standard boundaries
But Agility is not limited to work place. And this to my great surprise! It can also be adapted to our real day-to-day life. Bruce Feiler (American writer and television personality) got the following radical idea: to use agile methods to deal with the stress of modern family. And his idea is not as crazy as it seems.
What future for the Agility?
Agility seems to be everywhere. But what is its real future?
There is no doubt this Agile movement will continue. But it must evolve and diversify. This movement is now 15 years old. One of the watchwords of Agility is “continuous improvement“. A new version of Agility is thus necessary. Not to mention new methods and new derivatives. New applications.
Also not everyone is Agile. And even if the opponents are more for lack of knowledge than anything else, it can be a big obstacle to the development of this movement; For beyond a lack of knowledge, there is also and above all a desire to keep his hierarchical “absolute power” (http://changeleadersnetwork.com/free-resources/how-command-and-control-as-a-change-leadership-style-causes-transformational-change-efforts-to-fail ); Indirectly a rejection of collaboration!
Teaching these people could then turn into a long and perilous journey. But the game is worth it, don’t you think? Isn’t collaboration something major for the future? Won’t Agility contribute to the well-being of tomorrow in everyday life – at the office but also at home?