Both marketing and software development have a storied history of big projects with big releases. The big new campaign. The big new product launch. The big new website. Those big missions are a large part of what has made both professions exciting and sexy—yes, software is sexy too—the chance to make a big splash, have a big impact, and be a big success.
Big ideas are good. They inspire teams. They are bright stars by which to navigate and to guide our work. We want to dream big—to stir our imagination and to grow our business.
Agile management is not about displacing big dreams with small ones.
But agile management recognizes that big ideas are often best realized through a series of many small ideas. Each small idea is an opportunity to learn what works, or doesn't work, in the multitude of steps we take pursuing our big idea. We can then adjust our approach based on what we learn and readily adapt to changes in the market. We increase the probability of hitting our mark, because we are able to continuously fine-tune our aim. It's the organizational equivalent of a heat-seeking missile guidance system—a successful hit is not limited to what we originally calculated when we pulled the trigger. We can intelligently track to the target as we go along.
Agile management also recognizes that big ideas often grow out of small ones. Having the liberty to try experimental concepts on a small scale—without having to make large bets on them right ...