Last weekend I heard one guy saying: “I don’t have a Facebook account because it’s a waste of time, I’m not digital at all!”. After that he took his mobile phone, one of the newest smartphone versions out of his pocket.
We live in a digital era and there is no doubt about that. Most of us have the newest mobile devices, smartphones and have a tendency to stay online almost 24 hours a day. The advanced technology has made people transition from using desktop to smartphones which resulted in creating new technologies. It sounds like a vicious circle where the only certain thing to happen next is CHANGE. Randi Zuckerberg, one of my favourite digital authors working in Silicon Valley and a sister of the famous Mark Zuckerberg (one of five co-founders of Facebook) said: “Technology is not the End – It’s the Means… and especially nowadays it’s no longer tech world – it’s simply modern living“.
For me “digital” does not mean a department anymore or a way an ad is produced but it is also a state of mind. I think the main reason why people are becoming digital is not because they spend more and more time online with each day but also because they must adjust to changes. For example when a new technology is being used, they need to learn it and adjust to it. Being digital is about accepting and adjusting to changes which is also an equivalent of being agile. When you look up in a dictionary you will see that “agile” is described by adjectives like: quick in movement and nimble or mentally quick or acute. In other words it is reacting readily to a changing environment, environment of new technologies and simply modern living.
In the world of advertising it is particularly important to become agile and that’s why in 1995 Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland officially presented Agile development process and Scrum as a part of it. I think it was a great move because not only in software development but also in advertising you need to be flexible and manage a never-ending flow of incoming client requirements.
For example a campaign brief never stays the same and changes are inevitably unpredictable and you always know they will happen along the way. Some of you might know them from practice when clients are asking: “Please, could you add a space in all banners?” (In total there are 80 banners), “Can you please make the face more happy?”, “Could you please make the colour black more black?”, “Can you make the girl’s legs in “N” shape?” or “If I change this, will it cause a delay?” etc….
That’s why you need to accept the fact that requirements will evolve throughout a project so that you are able to manage the changes, not prevent them. The Agile methodology can be used everywhere where change is about to happen. The Agile project management defines an iterative (repetitious) approach to project planning mostly in software development. This is true but we cannot forget it can be applied to any other project where you assess a change is likely to occur and repeat. Therefore, industries taking the most out of Agile are definitely: IT, sales, marketing and advertising. Surprisingly enough, Agile can be also used in an entertainment industry!
Imagine, there is a company that offers its software services to a movie industry. The Agile methodology has been applied all relevant roles and principles in an organization defined by Agile Manifesto. All team members had to change their mindset and lifestyle and start implementing their Agile approach in everyday work life. In a movie industry a finished commercial was a release and the release was split into three sprints. As you can see, Agile can be used almost everywhere, maybe apart from environment where change is less likely to happen. This would include industries such as: automotive, healthcare or aerospace where you have to do a proper planning up-front and define exactly what your client’s requirements are.
On top of that, Agile is so easy to understand comparing with traditional project management concepts and tools of creating sophisticated project documentation which you need to prepare for your client but it’s hardly ever read and often changes.
Whereas, Agile methods offer simple tools and principles easy to understand. Its simplicity is a part of this lifestyle! A team is no longer managed by a manager or team leader but it’s a modern self-disciplinary team who release product based on regular user feedback.
Ultimately, being digital in life or agile in an adverting agency is a natural way of living and adjusting to changes. And if someone says: “I’m not digital”, perhaps he or she is not even aware of being one. “Digital” also means taking the best out of technology and using it so that we enjoy our digital life and more importantly we manage our digital world and not let it manage us.