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How do we do technology quickly?

It’s one thing to exhort people to do it wrong quickly. It’s quite another to tell them how. And one of the toughest things for us to do quickly is technology—most folks I speak with lament over their inability to make changes to their technology infrastructure when they need them. (Even the word “infrastructure” sounds like this permanent and unchangeable edifice.) So how can you do technology wrong quickly?


The first problem is the technologists themselves. (I can say that because I am a resident propeller head myself.) Most technologists are the deliberative type. They want to understand all of your requirements and then write a book describing how they’ll address them. Then they deliver exactly what they meant when they wrote the book, even if it takes nine months.
So what if everything has changed during that time? Who cares if what they wrote down isn’t what you meant? You get what they wrote down. (And you usually get it later than they promised.)
There is another way. Instead of the old way (which the geeks call waterfall development), you can use agile development—a way of developing technology that puts the marketer in control. But you need to be willing to roll up your sleeves and get into the details.
Agile development depends on setting very short schedules—sometimes just a week or two—to do very small improvements. And instead of writing everything down and going away for months, very little is written down—agile development is based on constant communication between marketers and technologists.
Can you scale down your needs to just the most important thing you want next? One that can be completed in a week or two? Do you think you can stand the work of answering every little question the technologist has day after day? Can you do it immediately as the question arises (not a day later)? Are you willing to look at every small change the technologist makes—perhaps several times a day—so you can give feedback that helps the technologist deliver what you really want?
If you’re willing to work that way, you can join the technology team and really get control over what that team delivers. And you can orient the work towards small incremental changes that have measurable impact. In short, you can do technology wrong quickly.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide.

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