On December 17, I'll be co-presenting (with Ryan Martens, founder and CTO of Rally Software) a webinar, "Making Agile Work For Your Bottom Line." This is part two of a series, "Agile In Turbulent Times," that Rally is hosting. (Click here for the link to the series.)
* SPOILER ALERT *
Yes, Agile definitely can have a profoundly positive effect on your bottom line. In fact, it addresses directly some of the chief sources of financial anxiety for technology companies.
Agile is also a change that's necessary in the evolution of the technology industry. "Turbulent times" just raises the urgency of making the change, if Agile is right for you. My inevitable historical analogy is how the maniple defeated the phalanx. I say no more until Thursday.
For a Forrester-ite like me, market forecasting is often top-of mind. Sizings and forecasts represent perhaps the most powerful research tool at an analyst's disposal -- in some cases, forecasts are both our bread and our butter. Thus, when I launched coverage of the innovation management tools market this past spring, the question of how and when to forecast and size the market was a key part of my planning. Indeed, a market forecast can often "make or break" a coverage area for a Forrester analyst -- especially a nascent one ripe for analyst buzz.
Nonetheless, in recent months I've become convinced that -- for now -- I should firmly resist the forecasting "itch."
Already, this position has caused me considerable grief. For months, multiple parties have been clamoring for me to publish a market forecast -- parties including vendors, buyers, and even some of my own colleagues at Forrester. Case in point: Three separate vendor CEOs have privately asked me about my (apparently forthcoming) market forecast. One went so far as to send me his own company's forecasting framework, suggesting that I should follow suit. Another CEO proactively provided me with sales data and market projection numbers -- in another not-so-subtle nudge.
We spend a lot of time here at Forrester studying the effects that both Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 have had on marketing and sales. Seems that, with a wealth of resources on the web (discussion forums, blogs, you name it) outside of the control of corporate marketing, companies now have to adjust to the reality that people are talking about you, whether you like it or not. Best to understand these discussions, both as a source of market intelligence, and as a vehicle for getting the word out about your products and services.
The one-way medium Television has undergone a similar transformation. Back when I was a lad, TV was a one-way medium. You had few choices: only three networks, a handful of local stations, and you watched whatever they happened to be broadcasting at the moment.
Similarly, there was a time when the technology industry felt more like a one-way medium. Vendors felt that they created value (hardware and software), and then transmitted it to the awaiting audience. Companies restricted the communication, as much as possible, to their own sales and marketing channels.
For those who don't know me, I work on the "Vendor Strategy" team at Forrester -- the research group that owns this blog. For my first post, I wanted to outline a major reason why I'm excited about posting on this blog.
The basic story is that now I can actually tell people what my work is all about. At Forrester, my research coverage focuses on topics such as Innovation Management and Business Services -- research which is then filtered and targeted for an audience of Vendor Strategists. To most people -- even Forrester clients -- this sounds like pure gibberish (and I don't blame them for thinking so). Finally, with this blog, I can actually explain what all of this nonsense-sounding jargon actually means to me. The possibilities are almost infinite -- and infinitely exciting.
It's good timing too, because communication challenges these days are significant and getting worse. The world is changing so fast that the cognitive gulf between different people seems wider by the day.