Is it an Agile thing?

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I woke up the other day to find that my computer had restarted itself overnight.  I knew it was coming, and frankly, it was my own fault; the desktop warning and request that I either pick a time or it’ll happen of its own accord “outside of active hours,” as if a self-employed consultant has such things.  Nevertheless, I’ve been assimilated and do expect to fall prey to how The Borg chooses to run my electronic life.

Then again, if such a restart is so vital that it will happen when the computer wants, it seems a bit incongruous to even give me the option to wait at all.  As a side note, when my Air Force computer wants to restart, it simply does…I’ve been in the middle of building lesson plans—and for that matter, in the middle of a class in front of a room of cadets—and it’s simply restarted itself.  I know I have my own IT department to blame for that, though.  At home, it’s all the OS.

I’ve searched in vain for a way to simply turn this “feature” off altogether:  Make it so that it never restarts ‘on its own,’ no matter what it wants to do.  (And for the techies, yes, I’ve tried to adjust active hours—you’re limited in what you can do, i.e., you can’t make all 24 of them ‘active’…and don’t get me started on gpedit.msc—it doesn’t work either.)  This is a very straightforward case of a brand choosing explicitly not to address what its Customers want.  And if there’s any doubt to that in your mind, peruse the online forums of people trying to turn this off…people are livid.

They know that people want this fixed, but they choose not to.  Why?  Why do brands not address the glaring issues with their products and offerings that are clearly highlighted by use-cases in the real world and brought to their attention by their own Customers on a constant basis?  Software and technology companies are incessantly updating their products, adding bells-and-whistles.  I’ve written before about how some of these whiz-bang organizations are regularly adding creative neat features, while not addressing straightforward fundamental capabilities that are really the difference between using their products or looking for another brand that will actually deliver on the must-haves.

Do you remember how long it took for Apple to offer copy/paste on their iO/S?  (Spoiler, it was two years)  Now, of course, to their credit, you can actually copy and paste between devices, which is slick.  (Then again, that may just be an incentive to buy more of them!)  But why did that first, obvious technology take so long to implement?  Every new update to their iOS, theoretically could have included this upgrade.  It’s not as though they needed new hardware, an updated iPhone version itself, to make it happen.

So what don’t brands seem to listen?  Why does it sometimes take them so long to respond to the markets?  They’re always doing things, but just never seem to be doing what we want.

I wrote last year a series of articles about the application of Agile principles to CX.  There’s a tremendous synergy between the Agile approach to software development and the continuous improvement that is the hallmark of a wise and responsive Customer Experience operation:  Listen to what your Customers want (and what they’re upset about, and where you’re falling short), and take action on what you learn.  It’s a dynamic, constantly moving forward, exciting and robust way to approach your development efforts.  Surely Apple and Windows (as well as Google, Yahoo!, and everybody else) are leveraging some form of Agile management and prioritization when it comes to their development endeavors.

But I wonder to whom they’re listening.

Consider your brand.  You come up with The Next Big Thing.  But is your product or service even functioning yet the way your Customers want?  Is this newest flashy function or feature really what they want?  Or do they just want to be able to use what you offer in a way that they want?

Agile and CX should both be centered on what your Customers are telling you, and not just on what’s there on your roadmap and backlog.  After all, in both circumstances, those should be determined by your Customers in the first place.

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