Bringing Agility to Business Development

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By Somik Raha, SmartOrg

First, let’s define what we mean by “business development (BD)”: turning of an idea into a marketable asset. This fundamental endeavor is driven by our desire to get our products and services in the hands of those who can use them.

The Agile ManifestoAgile Business Development (ABD) draws on lessons learned from agile software development, a movement that revolutionized software development practices. These lessons are summarized below in what is popularly called “The Agile Manifesto”.

There is a lot of room for organizations to take advantage of ABD. In a recent survey of participants at an international webcast attended by product development practitioners, only 10% indicated that they had a formal BD process and were agile. Eighteen percent indicated that their company had no formal BD process and 40% reported that they had a formal process but were not agile.

Instead of proposing yet another methodology, we will emphasize the wisdom behind ABD using a “pattern language”. Pattern languages are a literary form of communication that attempt to capture the wisdom of communities of practice through patterns, which are solutions to commonly occurring problems. A catalog of patterns makes hard-earned and sometimes esoteric wisdom accessible. Readers of the catalog can select patterns to formulate their own methodology appropriate to their context.

ABD patterns focus on embodying five agile values:

  • Communication: open communication is welcome and encouraged
  • Simplicity: things should be as simple as possible and no simpler
  • Feedback: to learn iteratively and make course corrections
  • Courage: to tell the whole truth to each other
  • Respect: for the human need to do high-quality work

ABD patterns can broadly be classified in three categories, each of which responds to different questions:

  • Business Development Success: How can we build a marketable business asset?
  • Market Performance: How will our asset perform in the market?
  • Holistic Comparison: How does this asset compare to others in our pipeline?

We present two patterns below, one from each of the first two categories:
Agile Business Development Patterns
To learn more about agile business development patterns, view a slide catalog and watch a webcast replay on Agile Business Development, click here.