CCT Advertising partners Cameron Bridges and Tom Leydon attended the “Making Digital Work” conference at Boulder Digital Works last week. CCT is the only Denver ad agency focused on 5 to 9 brands, travel, leisure and lifestyle brands that help people get more out of their free time. So it’s important we stay on top of the latest digital developments, as people are looking for more online tools they can interact with during their free time.
One of the featured speakers at the conference was Tim Malborn, a founding partner at London communications and software development firm Made by Many. Made by Many is building the latest social and mobile marketing tools that are laying the foundation for Web 3.0.
Tim spoke about how Made by Many has incorporated the principles of the Lean Start Up movement and Agile Software Development into their business model, and how digitally-enabled communications firms like CCT Advertising can do the same.
According to Tim, the Lean Start Up movement is focused on teaching companies of any age and size how to fast forward its processes and adapt the ways of a start up company. The goal is to bring innovative answers to their clients’ unsolved marketing challenges.
Tim and the crew at Made by Many have adapted six principles from the Lean Start Up movement to the way they work:
1. Rapid prototyping
Tim’s whole philosophy can be summed up in the idea that the software solutions they develop are in permanent beta. Which means, they get a prototype into the market as quickly as possible, then keep developing new iterations as they receive input from their clients’ users and customers.
2. Minimum viable products (MVPs)
When they create rapid prototypes, the goal of Made by Many is not to put out a robust product they have no idea if users will like. It’s to put out a bare bones product, that end users can help them develop. That way, they don’t end up wasting months of development time building out features users don’t want.
3. Nail it then scale it
Tim and his team have found that if they put out an MVP, and then build out additional features and functionality based on what users say they want, it’s much quicker to build a product more users want. Only when they have nailed the concept, do they scale their software products and apps for a mass audience.
4. Customer-centered development
Made by Many’s process is all about putting a beta product out as fast as they can, and using a variety of online customer feedback tools to include their users in the process of refining the product. One of their favorite tools is to do A/B concept testing by setting up two landing pages with two variations of the concept. Then they buy keywords associated with each concept, and see how many people sign up to receive more information on each concept. The winning concept is the one that gets the most email sign ups. I’ve included an example of a landing page Tim’s team created for a Skype project below.
5. Iterative, metrics-driven, & agile
Tim says that once Made by Many launches an MVP, it uses metrics-driven qualitative and quantitative data from customers to quickly create new iterations or versions of the product. Tim’s team uses the principles of Agile Software Development as guidelines. These include: placing individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Creating working software over doing comprehensive documentation. Making customer collaboration a high priority.
6. Learn fast, don’t fail fast
Tim’s iterative process is focused on iterating new versions of the product as fast as you can. The partners at Made by Many have found that if they make fast learning a part of their process, they can quickly adapt to the needs of their users and stay ahead of their competition. The alternative is to build out a fully-functional product your user may not want, and have the product fail shortly after you introduce it.
At CCT, we’re already implementing parts of the Made by Many process into our development process. How about you? Are there aspects of this that would help you speed development of new online technologies or products for your customer or end users?