Agility with stability: Avoiding the pitfalls of agile research transformation

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Posted Aug 17, 2022
Kandice Coltrain

Agile principles were first conceived in the software development world of Silicon Valley, and have now become a primary goal for businesses in virtually every industry. But every organization has different cultures and different needs. Agile research represents a fairly radical transformation for the market research industry. And although it may have huge benefits, if not handled correctly a change like this can cause controversy rather than solve business challenges.  So, it’s worthwhile to be aware of potential mistakes that could cost you resources so you can avoid them. It’s also why it makes sense to find a partner and a platform that puts you first.

Why choose agile research?

With the likely challenges stemming from making a change like this, it’s logical to wonder if it's even worth it. But when you realize the many problems a versatile, agile research tool can solve and the benefits it can bring to your business, the answer to that question becomes clear. Traditional market research, although familiar, falls short when it comes to timing. If it takes a month to design your study, then another two weeks to deliver it, and finally another two weeks to analyze. That’s eight weeks from the time your client made their request! These days, the market’s moving far too fast to rely on speeds like this. That’s why so many businesses are beginning to make this transition. However, you may run into serious issues if the program is not implemented correctly.

Pitfall #1: Not preventing the culture clash

Whenever you propose a fundamental change in how a team operates, it’s essential to keep in mind the cultural implications of that decision. Your organization's market research teams may have a fixed set of processes they’ve become accustomed to following. If you’re not careful, changing these processes without first securing the buy-in of those teams could result in a lot of resistance to change. This can bog down your transformation initiative and potentially derail your project. Fortunately, avoiding this mistake isn’t too difficult. Communication is key. Ensure that you have shared with your team leaders all the benefits of agile market research and how it will make their job easier and more efficient. When everyone’s on the same page, your agile research transformation has a much better chance of success. 

Pitfall #2: Failing to get alignment

Moving to agile research is a more significant change than it may appear on the surface. While it may be tempting to simply focus on the marketing department, failing to secure a leadership agreement can lead to problems down the road. The insights derived from market research need to be trusted for them to be acted on. If your enterprise leaders have not been convinced that high-quality data can be collected through a survey in a matter of hours, they may refuse to trust the insights you’ve collected. As with the first pitfall we discussed, it’s crucial to ensure you’ve clearly communicated how agile research works and why it can be such a powerful tool for keeping your business constantly connected to your customers’ preferences. 

Pitfall #3: Thinking agile transformation has to mean full DIY

Some agile research platforms simply offer DIY tools with little support. The lower cost and faster implementation of these kinds of platforms may sound good, but do they have enough flexibility to suit your needs? Furthermore, are you sure you have the resources in place to identify your target market, build your own study, and launch it, all within the time frame given to you? It’s important to read reviews and talk to previous customers of various tools before deciding which one is right for you. Every business will have different requirements, which is why selecting an agile research platform with a flexible service model avoids this pitfall while still relying on an agile methodology. 

Pitfall #4: Not scaling up your agile research at the right time

When it comes to agile principles, organizations often allow small teams to adopt them to run pilot projects and tests. However, you can get into a situation where your agile insights remain siloed in pilot or test projects for years without being embraced as a best practice throughout the organization. 

When your agile research has rapidly uncovered crucial insights that meet a business need, it’s important to share that fact with your leadership and throughout the organization so that everyone knows that now is the time to scale up this agile transformation. With initiatives like this, there is often a narrow window of opportunity. If you miss it, it may be some time before you have the chance again. By scaling up your agile research, you can take control over your research, cut costs, and make better data-driven decisions. 

Pitfall #5: Believing the myths about agile insights

New things often collect myths around them as people look for ways to avoid the changes they bring. Agile research is no exception. Contrary to what you might have heard, agile research is not limited to a straightforward style of survey or methodology. Some platforms, like aytm, have large survey response panels that enable you to precisely target the demographics and psychographics that make up your target market. You can build a survey research program to be as simple or sophisticated as you want it to be. 

Furthermore, although agile research does have a DIY component, it doesn’t have to mean that you’re on your own. The right providers will allow you to utilize as many services as you want to alleviate the burden on your resources. You can automate as much of the process as you want or take complete control over it. Plus, agile market research can also simplify your data analysis. 

Instead of just getting piles of raw data or simple tables, aytm can rapidly provide the tools you need to take your data analysis to the next level. By providing eye-catching charts and impactful graphs, our platform enables you to get at-a-glance insights that you can quickly use to drive business decisions in your organization. To avoid this last pitfall, go ahead and give this FREE eBook a quick read and discover how aytm can help you transform your market research.