fbpx

How to Implement Agile to Pivot Quicker with Rose Désauguste

Key Takeaways

Today we talk about the quickest way to pivot your business during difficult, uncertain times. Rose Désauguste describes in detail how your business can implement the agile methodology, and a few related tactics such as Lean, Lean Marketing, and Scrum even if you’re new to these concepts.

If you’d like to learn more about how to look at data, meet customer demands, and spin up products and ideas quickly, you are in the right place.

Rose came on the show before to talk about Purpose-Driven Leadership. She's amazing!

If you love learning about concepts like this, join our Free Business Growth Accelerator to get access to even more tools.

Have you heard about Agile, Lean & Scrum, but don't know how your business could benefit? Learn why Agile is the way to go if you're pivoting your business - it's the fastest way to spin up something new. #podcast #business #agile

Click to Tweet

Have Questions or a Comment?

Rose Desauguste Women Conquer Business Podcast

Meet Rose Déauguste

Rose Désauguste is an impact entrepreneur, the founder and CEO of HueLixir. HueLixir is a digital growth agency with the mission of helping passionate entrepreneurs and startups to achieve greater impact, profits, and sustainability with innovative strategies and modern techniques. Rose has led digital transformation for companies of various sizes and industries, including Fortune 100 companies. 

Through HueLixir, she offers consulting, programs, and services that allow overwhelmed entrepreneurs to simplify and optimize their businesses from the inside out. Rose is a strong advocate for using business and technology as a force for good.

Where to find Rose Déauguste

Huelixir Website

Find Rose on LinkedIn

Jen McFarland Jen McFarland Consulting Third paddle

About Host Jen McFarland

Jen McFarland, MPA, has over 25 years of training, teaching, and executive experience. She led large-scale public sector projects affecting over 50,000 businesses, handling millions of dollars.

Today, Jen consults with business owners on leadership, strategic project planning, and digital marketing. She's a frequent guest speaker and trainer.

If growing your business feels like rocket science, let’s fix that with these free business resources.

How to Implement Agile to Pivot Quicker women conquer business podcast rose desauguste

Transcript: How to Implement Agile to Pivot Quicker with Rose Désauguste

Jen:

Hi, and welcome to Women Conquer Business. My name is Jen McFarland. I have over 25 years of training, teaching and executive experience in leadership, marketing and project management. Today we talk about the quickest way to pivot your business during difficult, uncertain times. I bring back one of my favorite guests, Rose Désauguste to describe in detail how your business can implement the Agile methodology and a few related tactics such as Lean, lean marketing, and Scrum, even if you're completely new to these concepts. If you'd like to learn more about how to look at data, meet customer demands and spin up products and ideas quickly, you are in the right place.

Jen:

Welcome to Women Conquer Business. My name is Jen McFarland. This podcast is for smart, serious business owners tired of the senseless chatter about growing a business. If you don't want to hear anymore get rich quick, too good to be true nonsense, you've come to the right place. You'll learn why mindset is everything, as well as strategies for sustainable business growth and how to implement it, along with the secrets I learned leading large scale business projects that also apply to five and six figure businesses. Are you ready? Let's go forth and conquer.

Jen:

Rose Désauguste is an impact entrepreneur, the founder and CEO of HueLixir. HueLixir is a digital growth agency with the mission of helping passionate entrepreneurs and startups to achieve greater impact, profits and sustainability with innovative strategies and modern techniques. Rose has led digital transformation for companies of various sizes and industries, including Fortune 100 companies. Through HueLixir she offers consulting, programs and services that allow overwhelmed entrepreneurs to simplify and optimize their businesses from the inside out. Rose is a strong advocate for using business and technology as a force for good. Please welcome Rose Désauguste back to the women conquer business podcast.

Jen:

It's important to note that she's also joining us from her apartment in New York City, which is currently the heart of the COVID-19 crisis. I so appreciate that she took time out of her day and all of the chaos that she's working with, including not being able to get groceries for the past two weeks, to stop by and help all of us out with implementing things like Agile and Lean and Scrum, which can really help all of you with your businesses during this difficult time. Again, please welcome Rose to the show.

Jen:

So Rose, welcome back to the Women conquer business podcast.

Rose:

Thank you for having me back. It's a pleasure to be here as always.

Jen:

I think that's so awesome. And the last time you were on, we were talking about purpose-driven leadership and we kind of skirted around talking about the Agile methodology, which is actually the 'how' for how you help people. Is that right?

Rose:

Yep, exactly.

Jen:

So today we're going to be talking more about the 'how', because we're in the midst of unprecedented times, this pandemic. You are actually in New York right now and experiencing it firsthand. And one of the things that can really help people in their businesses is this idea of digital transformation and of turning things around quickly. And so I just wanted to start with, what is the Agile methodology? I know a lot of people talk about it, but a lot of layman, we just don't all know what it means exactly.

Rose:

Yeah. That's a good question. And that's something that I hear a lot. A lot of people have probably heard of the term 'Agile', but there's a lot of misinformation out about it and it's hard to kind of grasp the concept if you're not working in like a tech environment for example. But essentially what 'Agile' is, it's an umbrella term for a paradigm shift of how we go about doing work, whether that work is launching a new business, growing an existing business or working on a project within a large corporation. And people who are used to the term have probably heard of it in terms of tech companies, but it's actually one of the best kept secrets that can drastically transform and boost startups and small businesses. So basically Agile is a way that a team can manage their projects by breaking it up into several stages, with constant collaboration with each other, with constant communication and collaboration with their audience and their customers, and with continuous improvement kind of baked into the whole process, and iteration at every step of the process.

Rose:

So a company that is agile prioritizes experimentation over elaborate planning because you can never really predict the future and especially now, this is a very uncertain time. We don't even know what's going to happen tomorrow. So Agile prioritizes just coming up with fun, cool experiments to do to see what will kind of take what the customers will respond to other then coming up with elaborate plans and planning out six months or 12 months in advance because we all know that doesn't really work. It also prioritizes customer feedback and data over hunches because especially now we can't make business decisions or decisions in general based on hunches. So we have to look back at the data and what's been working in the past and really having a way to track that data and what our customers are asking for and what they're demanding and what they need and how you can best support them in this time.

Rose:

And lastly, iterative development over traditional long and complicated upfront development. And by development I mean in any kind of project that you're working on. It might be a marketing campaign, it might be actually launching a business, it might be an actual software development. Well, whatever the work is that's what I mean by development. And there are two things that we can talk about here that specifically relate to small businesses and entrepreneurs and that's the lean startup and that's lean marketing. So I'll go a little bit into that now. So a lean startup is a relatively new approach to the way companies are built and launched and grown in today's age. So the guy who coined the term, his name is Eric Ries, and he coined the term in the early parts of last decade. So a lean startup describes, he describes it as, and I quote, "An organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty." I can't think of anything more fitting than that.

Rose:

I can't think of anything more fitting than that to what we're experiencing today. Uncertainty is the main thing that we're all feeling and experiencing that right now and making things that are useful for people and unpredictable environments is what agile mindset is really about. And it's a solution to complexity and uncertainty in business. And one of the core things that I recommend every entrepreneur to do in terms of the lean startup, something that you can do right away is to go back to the beginning, go through your business plan, and the Lean Startup has this thing called the Lean Canvas. So the Lean Canvas, it's like a very useful and direct form of your business plan. And you should be reorganizing it and rethinking through it at least twice a year essentially. Especially now, this is the time for you to be revisiting your business plan, your Lean Canvas, and thinking back how you can really fix your strategy or pivot your strategy to meet the demand that your market's probably showing you now.

Rose:

The Lean Canvas will allow your business to quickly iterate, to quickly pivot and it can really make the difference between surviving through this time or your business going under. So that's something that I really highly recommend doing, but this time really calls for all of us to be agile and lean in everything that we're doing. So take an experimental approach to all of your work, break up a larger task into smaller ones. Actually talk to your audience, get their feedback consistently, at least on a biweekly basis you should be talking to your audience and seeing what they need and what they want. And iterate, keep improving through this time, keep improving. That's really the core of it. So with the lean startup, I have a free master class on my website that you can definitely check out to learn how to do the Lean Canvas step-by-step to really get value from it.

Rose:

That takes me to my second point, which is the lean marketing, which is something that probably a lot of you are wondering about. How do I continue growing my business in this time when I don't even know how to do marketing properly right now? Figuring out marketing today is really, really tricky because although you need to keep promoting your business to survive, you also need to be very mindful of your audience and state of mind and their response to your promotion. I've been seeing on my LinkedIn, tons of people who are really annoyed at their inboxes. The promotion is still coming to their inboxes because those marketers or those business owners, although they may have really good intentions, they're not really doing it in a way that their audience feels is respectful of what's happening right now and their feelings.

Rose:

So what lean marketing can do, it can allow you to kind of experiment with different things, test it out, talk to your audience to see what works and how they would like to be communicated to in this time. And that will make a really, really big difference. So you just need to be very mindful of how your audiences is responding to everything and lean marketing is a way to apply the lean framework and agile mindset in general to your marketing and to the things that you're doing in your business right now in this time.

Jen:

I think that's really great and I just wanted to back up to the Lean Canvas because I love the Lean Canvas. I work with it periodically too is just sort of a kind of a rapid like, is this a good idea? Is this really working? Because it's a one pager or at least the one that I use that kind of you work through the things. So for people who haven't used that before, can you just give us like a really high level on like what the Canvas is about and how that can work?

Rose:

Yeah, sure. So the Lean Canvas, like you mentioned, is really like a one pager. So within this one page you're able to have a high level view of all of the really important aspects of your business. So you're looking at your customers, you're looking at where your customers are, but you only have such a limited amount of space, you have like a small box to write about your customers. And what that does, it allows you to focus in on the really important things instead of writing out long business plans that are really not valuable. So you have to get the most vital information down. Everything starts from the customers as you know.

Rose:

It looks at your customers, it looks at your cost structure, it looks at your messaging, how you're coming across in your branding strategy. It looks at your revenue streams. And this is something that's important now too, is you have to ask yourself what can I explore in terms of revenue streams? So if I had a service, for example, that's been affected by this pandemic, what can I implement now that would be beneficial for my audience? So can I take something online, or can I create a course, or can I create a program, or can I create XYZ to kind of supplement? And it's not only good for now, but these are things that you can continue implementing even after this is done. So increase into ad revenue streams in your business.

Rose:

So going through the Lean Canvas, it allows you to kind of think back to the beginning and see whether your current strategy is meeting up and fitting with the needs of the time. And you can kind of pivot, and like I said, so the Lean Canvas is a living document. You should be fixing it and updating it at least twice a year. But especially now, you should definitely be doing the exercise of going back through your Lean Canvas and making sure that it's what's needed right now.

Jen:

Man, I think that's so great, and thanks for kind of bringing it home a little bit on that. So it sounds like Agile and Lean are things that everybody could use. So what types of companies do you think benefit from these types of strategies?

Rose:

Man, literally every type of company can benefit from these strategies. And this is why I love it so much. I've been doing Agile for a number of years and I've seen just the wonder that it can have for large companies, like I mentioned, Fortune 100 with hundreds of thousands of employees all the way to small startups with just one employee. So going agile it's not just a theoretical intellectual exercise, it's a shift that you can start implementing to see results right away. And the core of it, like I mentioned before, is really experimentation and working iteratively. So if you take nothing else away from what 'agile' means, it's just that experimenting and working iteratively. That's basically what it's about.

Rose:

And you can also implement Agile internally, no matter what the size of your company is, to cut cost and reduced waste and save time, which is very important in today's time because again, with uncertainty, we don't know what our revenue is going to look like in 24 months. We have no idea what the market is going to do in two to four months. We don't know if a recession is coming. So if you can save time and cost and reduce waste within your business now, then that's something that would be very helpful for you now and in the future as well.

Rose:

And it also allows you to have a better working relationship with the rest of your team. So the way that you would do Agile internally is another framework again called Scrum. And what Scrum is, is basically you are breaking down all of the projects that you're working on into smaller goals that you and your team can accomplish within let's say a two week increment. And for those two weeks you and your team prioritize working specifically on that goal. And those two week increments are what we call sprints. And that's just like agile, agile mumbo jumbo, but the term itself. But just the thing to remember is that the increments or the sprints are just basically two week cycles that your team will be focusing on one specific goal for those two weeks, and the team is working collaboratively as a group.

Rose:

Even for small businesses, something that I've noticed over the years is that even if you have five people working together, just five people on the whole team, they still tend to work in silos. So you have one person doing marketing, you have one person doing operations, you might have one person doing this, one person doing that, and they're not really communicating on a regular basis. They're not really breaking down those walls to make sure that everybody's on the same page. Everybody's literally working towards the same exact goal at the same time and they're just using their specific expertise to bring that goal forward. So for example, if your goal for the next two weeks is to grow your social media audience by, I don't know, 500 new followers within this two week increment, every single person should be bringing their skillset towards that one goal for those two weeks.

Rose:

So going back to how you would practically implement Scrum in your small business, is you would first break down your overall business goals or your revenue goals into smaller increments for those two weeks. The two weeks, the way you would kick that off is you would have a meeting with your team that's called 'the sprint planning'. You have a meeting with your team in the beginning and you plan out what's going to happen for the two weeks. So you plan out the 'what' of the two weeks, meaning the strategy behind the two week goal, the strategy behind it, why it needs to be done, so that everybody understands even the business strategy so that everybody knows exactly why they're doing the work that they're doing, so it doesn't feel like something that's isolated or something that's pointless.

Rose:

Then you also talk about the 'how you're going to get it done' within that one meeting. So you talk about the 'how you're going to get it done' and everybody within that meeting too, before you come out of that meeting, you know exactly who's doing what and who's responsible for what. So that eliminates a lot of confusion and it increases accountability within your team as well. That's a very important meeting, so that sprint planning in the beginning of that two week cycle. Another very important meeting that you would do as a Scrum team is you would have regular 15 minute meetings on a daily basis for the duration of the sprint, duration of the two week cycle, and what that does that allows you to have real time communication with your team on a daily basis so that when problems arise you catch them on that day and you're able to address them on that day before they get out of hand.

Rose:

And things, again, change so quickly on a daily basis that if you don't meet with your team to sync up to make sure that everyone has everything that they need to accomplish their goals, something big might happen that day and you completely miss it and by the next day it becomes a much bigger problem. So if you can just implement that little meeting, it makes a huge difference and it cuts a lot of waste in your system and your process. And at the end of the two weeks, so let's say you, you do the work, you have the sprint planning, then you do the regular daily meetings and at the end of the two weeks you kind of get back together as a whole team and you kind of showcase what you've done. And a very important meeting that also happens at the end of the two weeks since you have a retrospective, where the team essentially has the opportunity to look back and to reflect on what happened and what improvements need to be made.

Rose:

So imagine how much better off your team will be if your whole team is reflecting and making improvements literally every two weeks. So that makes a huge, huge, huge, huge difference. And it allows you to keep up with things as they change. And so the next two weeks life might look very, very different but you'll be able to plan for that. And as things come up, you plan for them, then your whole team kind of tackles it as a team together collaboratively. That's what Scrum allows you to do within your organization. So it doesn't matter whether your organization has a thousand people or five people, this is something very specific that you can do now to cut costs and to deal with the uncertainty that we're going through now and to still allow yourself and your team to feel empowered and to feel positive and as uplifting as possible about the work that you're doing.

Jen:

Absolutely. And also for all those out there who don't like to plan, you can do it for two weeks. We're not asking you to make a big commitment. It also seems like the really, really small teams, like solopreneurs, could be having meetings. I still call it a team meeting with me, myself and I. But it does seem like even solopreneurs can practice some parts of the Agile methodology and check in every two weeks. Do you agree with that? And if so, how? How can they do it?

Rose:

Yeah, absolutely. I think this is even more important for, well it's important for everybody, but it's even more important for solopreneurs because when you're a solopreneur you're everything. You're the marketing person and you're the CEO and you're this and you're that. And so you kind of get tunnel vision after a certain point because you don't have these different perspectives to kind of to expand your thinking or to direct how you pivot in your business. So continually checking in every two weeks with yourself, not only with yourself, but that also means with your audience, with your customers. Checking in every two weeks and doing a reflective exercise and seeing how you can improve every two weeks, that will make a big, big, big difference as well. And for solopreneurs and small businesses thinking about, well in terms of well that's all nice and good, but what about how am I going to stay alive and stay afloat?

Rose:

Lean marketing is the one that will be very, very helpful for you as well. So what I would recommend is to literally create experiments and track the results of your experiments around the different business goals that you have. Just like you used to do in eighth grade science class, how you used to design experiments in eighth grade science class with a hypothesis and you're testing the data, literally do the same thing for your business. So if your goal is to get more awareness for your business, for example, then you can create different experiments to see what kinds of things make people actually want to visit your website or interact meaningfully with your brand online. Once you see which experiment is doing well you can kind of scale that up and prioritize that experiment. So that will allow you to not waste your money and to quickly focus on something that is proven to actually be working for your specific audience at this specific time, instead of chasing general strategies that you've probably read online that are not really giving you results.

Rose:

The same thing goes for your other business goals like increasing your revenue and things like that. So lean marketing is something that I absolutely love. I do it for my clients all the time. And I'm always doing workshops around lean marketing and I'm probably going to do another one soon. So if you're interested definitely sign up on my website, that will be available for you.

Jen:

That's great. I haven't really looked too much into the lean marketing piece, so that does sound super helpful. And then I think you've touched upon this a few different ways, but why would Agile be helpful during a crisis?

Rose:

Man, the uncertainty. We have no idea what's going to happen. Things change so rapidly, so rapidly. It's given me whiplash and I'm sure it's giving a lot of people whiplash, especially as a business owner and especially if you have people depending on you and you have no idea what's going to happen with the market. Even something that you're used to depending on like the economy, you can no longer depend on that because you don't know how it's going to change. That's literally the purpose of agile is to solve the problem of working in an environment and still being effective in an environment with a lot of uncertainty and a lot of complexity. So because of the uncertainty and the complexity that it brings with it, like I mentioned before, that's really why you would implement Agile.

Rose:

And research has shown that we're really bad at making decisions in times of crisis. And the behaviors that you're probably used to being able to fairly predict from your audience or your clients, you can't count on that anymore in times of crisis. So taking a customer focused and feedback focused approach will allow you to do the right thing for your customers when it really matters. And times of crisis are really, it's an opportunity for you to set yourself apart and to build loyalty, which will serve you well in the long run. So to give you an example, I recently ordered food from a local restaurant here for the first time, and their customer service was really great and they delivered a free bottle of wine with my food. Now, I don't even drink, but I appreciated the gesture so much that I vowed to be a loyal customer for life because I understood that they were probably struggling just like everybody else is struggling. And so they went out of their way to invest an extra 20 minutes in trying to make my day happy and trying to make my day.

Rose:

So when a business like that, and I'm sure they just came up with the idea as like a fun experiment they [inaudible 00:24:12], that wasn't like, "Oh, let me just waste when him at $20. maybe give free bottles of wine around." The $20 that they invested in me as a customer, they will get that 10, 20, hundred fold throughout as time goes on from now my customer loyalty to them.

Rose:

Another thing is I also barely write reviews, but I had to write them a review to tell them how much I appreciated the gesture, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who wrote a review to them. And so for them, for example, how they might implement lean marketing, they might see this rise in positive reviews or they might see this peak in random people writing their reviews, so that will tell them, "Well, we just tried something and it works, maybe let's scale that up." So even when this crisis is done, they can implement some sort of gifting strategy, like a permanent part of their marketing, to get more customers and to increase their brand and their customer loyalty over time. So it's just a prime example of this.

Rose:

Although it's really, really unfortunate what's happening now, but it's because some businesses are responding to this crisis in the wrong way. This is also an opportunity for you to response within the right way that actually does the right thing for your customers through experimentation as well, experimenting with different things.

Jen:

What do you think are the three most important steps an organization who is new to Agile can take? Because there are a lot of people who've heard about it, I think you've laid out all of the reasons, you've made a great case for everybody to embrace it. So how do you get started with this?

Rose:

That's a very good question. I want to make it very practical in some small things, very noncommittal, small things that you can do to get some value out of it. The first, I would say, is to allow yourself and your team to experiment. What I've noticed is that some entrepreneurs tend to hold onto the learned behavior of a fear of failure. It's kind of an oxymoron to have a fear of failure as an entrepreneur. But a lot of us struggle through a fear of failure and it's something that we have to unlearn in order to get significant results from our business. So Agile is all about failing fast, experimenting regularly, and using those failures to improve quickly. And that's what will get you those big results. So if you can start doing the internal work of allowing yourself and your team to have a little creative fun with the things that you're doing, your business and to experiment, you're already more to succeed. So that's a very small step that you can take.

Rose:

Secondly, one thing that you could do is to create a channel for your whole team to be able to communicate and coordinate in real time. So take down the walls, take down the silos that are happening within your team. So if your marketing person is off to a corner just doing their thing and you're off to a corner and doing your thing, break down those walls and create a clear channel of communication that happens in real time. So that can be any sort of messaging platform like Slack, if you use Slack, or Google Chat, if your team use the Google platform, or Microsoft teams or anything like that, that allows you to have a communication all the time with your team. And like I mentioned, taking away the boundaries of the different roles within your company and allowing your people to freely collaborate and contribute will make a huge, huge difference. And it's a central tenet of what Agile is about as well.

Rose:

And lastly, what I would say is setting up an easy way to gather feedback from your audience and constantly, constantly ask them what they need and how you can support them in this time. You can do this through social media with your posts, with your emails. So with social media asking very pointed questions, literally just asking your audience, what do you need? How can I support you in this time? And when you ask them they will tell you exactly what they're looking for and what they need. So create that very clear and easy communication channel that they can give you their feedback, they can tell you exactly what they need so you know what problems to solve. That's not only good for your relationship with them, that's also good for your profits because if you're solving a problem that your audience actually has, they're eager to solve, then that means that's a good thing for your business in terms of your financial success.

Rose:

Personable emails, you can do this through personable emails. You can even do this by creating a community for your audience, even just like a Facebook community that allows them to feel like they're really part of your organization and they can get real time support and they have direct access to you through your Facebook community. But there are different ways for you to gather this feedback and to ask your audience to share what they find useful in order for you to strategize and to pivot for your growth, to not only just survive through this time but to actually be able to grow from it.

Jen:

I think that's wonderful. Thanks again for being on the show. How can people reach you?

Rose:

That's a great question as well. So people can definitely reach me through email and that's Rose@huelixir.com, H-U-E-L-I-X-I-R. And like I mentioned, all of these things that I'll be talking about, I do workshops on them and I have tons of content on my website that you can check out and HueLixir.com, H-U-E-L-I-X-I-R, or on LinkedIn, my first name and my last name you can find me on LinkedIn as well.

Jen:

That's awesome. And we'll put all of those links in the show notes and thank you again for coming back again to the Women Conquer Business podcast.

Rose:

Thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure as always.

Jen:

Thank you for listening to the Women Conquer Business podcast. If you're wondering, what's next? Here are a few suggestions: if you love the show, be sure to subscribe. If you want to follow me on social media, you can find Women Conquer Business on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. And finally, if. the episode today brought something up for you and you need to talk, email me at hello@jenmcfarland.com.

Jen:

The Women Conquer Business podcast is written and produced by Jen McFarland and Foster Growth, LLC, in beautiful Southeast Portland, Oregon. Thanks again for listening.

Leave a Comment