16Balancing Strategy, Quality, and Agility

People often raise two concerns with agile management: quality and strategy. How do we make sure we're producing good work and not rushing stuff half-baked out the door? And how do we connect fast-moving agile sprints with a larger strategy so we achieve longer-term goals and don't run aimlessly at high speed?

Waterfall-style planning and top-down management were designed to dictate strategy and enforce quality. Although those traditional approaches struggle to keep pace with the digital world, does becoming more agile resign us to less strategic focus and fewer quality assurances?

Definitely not.

Agile marketing does not impede a company's ability to have quality control or strategic focus. Although it is a different approach to managing the execution of strategy—and a way of making strategy more adaptable—agile management still values strong strategic leadership. Its purpose is actually to make it easier for a company to act strategically in today's environment.

Before we discuss the interplay between strategy and agility, though, let's address quality.

Quality Control in Agile Marketing

Agile is not quick and dirty. It produces things quickly, but it does so by emphasizing iterative and incremental deliverables and letting the team focus on a clear set of priorities in each sprint. The output of any given iteration or increment may be small, but there should be no compromise in quality. Small can be beautiful.

Quality is enforced ...

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