Podcast 36: Panel Discussion – Using Social Media to Grow Your Business

Welcome to episode 36 of the Waiake – My podcast to help you take your brand to new heights online.

In this episode I wanted to share with you the wisdom of my three co panellists from the recent Harcourts Real Estate Conference. We talk about digital marketing and using social media to grow your business.

We were interviewed by Troy Rawhiti-Forbes who has for the last few years been the conduit between New Zealand’s largest telco and our nation on Twitter and Facebook. Having experienced the highs of branding brilliance and the lows of national outages and email hacks Tory is in good space to bring out the best in my fellow guests and to prompt me to say a few things of merit too.

Coming from quite different backgrounds it was really interesting to get some diverse perspectives – yet hear some common themes as to whats best when using social media to grow your audience and business.

I’ll let you hear Tory give the impressive introductions (I cringed through mine) and I hope you find it of worth as the topics covered work in many industries.

If you’re keen to follow along the other panelist are:

HR

Key takeaways:

  • Know your Unique Selling Points and incorporate this into your online presence and SEO.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new networks, find out what fits best with you.
  • Always be transparent in your actions.
  • Think – “What would I want to hear from a brand?” and “How does this help my customers?”

HR

Good Marketing

Good marketing uses technology, insights and the right questions.

It gives the right audience, the right message, at the right time.

It shows us how a brand can solve our problems. Sometimes problems we didn’t know we had.

It can either entertain you or make you feel more inclined to buy from a brand. When it does both, you’re onto a winner.


Why do we do this Content Marketing thing?

With content marketing we try to address our audience’s problems at various stages of the buyer’s journey. We help them discover a solution to their problem and keep them coming back to us – their trusted solution provider. Our constant battle is for the attention of that audience. Big companies are realising that they need to build or acquire their own audience, so as to not fall foul of Facebook Edge-rank or Google algorithm updates.

Companies need to start thinking of themselves as retailers AND media companies

One company that has done this well recently is Surfstitch. They acquired two media properties Magicseaweed and Stab Magazine (great names). Combined they have around 3 million visitors a year and they are interweaving articles featuring their products to become not only surfing’s biggest online retailer, but also the biggest industry content network.

https://twitter.com/worldnews_net/status/598291602629664768

If this video is anything to go by, they will have me discovering a whole range of solutions they have to my problems.

It seems I didn’t realise I needed a custom bike to ride up the Indonesian coast to go surfing. They’re appealing to the hearts and emotions of their audience – not to the features of their product.

Oh and if surfing/bikes/the open road is your thing – check this out

Their latest film – North To Noosa.

I can see there being more brands that will take to content creation as a source of brand value and distinction.

Netflix even paid journalists a good sum to create great editorial – like this piece on women in prison to link to their new series Orange is the new black

Empathy, respect and love will ultimately keep your audience, clients, coworkers, lover friends and family EVERYONE coming back.

If you can interweave your unique purpose, principles and pet peeves into entertaining them – you’ll stand out as their trusted provider.

[Podcast] Brad Smith – Founder of Braap Motorcycles

In this episode I talk to Brad Smith – founder of Braap motorcycles.

Braap – that has to be the best use of onomatopoeia in a brand name I’ve heard.

Brad founded BRAAP at the age of 19 by traveling to China to find a manufacturer for his idea of a simple customisable design.
He visited 50 factories hunting for one that would bet on his vision. As luck would have it the 50th factory agreed and with investments from two Frenchmen he met earlier in the week while traveling, the journey began.
He’s now competing with Yamaha and Honda as a reputable bike company in Australia, fulfilling his dream of providing affordable dirt bikes to get more people into racing and more riders on bikes in general.

Here are a few things brad and I talked about.

Routines and rituals.

Having a Monday sales call has been crucial in measuring and driving growth at Braap. Much like a stand up, Brad runs his meetings in rapid fire – reviewing metrics fro mthe previous day, goals for the day ahead and what they will work on improving that day.  They’re hiring a specialist to get structure into their meetings and to get them outcome focused.

BHAG and story vs. hard metrics

Brad is a big believer in BGAHs but also urges everyone to focus ultimately on the next 90 days and what they can do to improve. It’s a step from following his dream and building a business around his passion for motorbikes – into a profitable business that’s thriving.

We talk about his parents and the standards that they set and also how he holds himself accountable through a core group of focused friends. He also talked of his advisory team in Texas. Much like a Mastermind – Keith Cunningham runs their 10 member chairman’s council for a week each quarter – and it’s brutal.

Numbers on the wall. Forget the story – focus on the outcomes and results.

Of course it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t talk digital!

Brad talks a little about how they measure results from social media to sales. Leads are collected through a social sales teams – piped warm into his CRM. We wrap it up with an understand if the power of both a good story and some opinion beating data.

I hope you enjoy it and I hope I get a chance to bring you more interviews in the future.

 

Stop The Nontent – Create Epic Content

You, as a member of my tribe intimidate me. I’m scared into not posting, through fear of as my friend AJ puts it – posting NONTENT. You know, that: meh, blah, filler, “like or share if you agree” type content. I need our connection and the learning I get from consuming your content. I want to share value to get value.

But it struck me. That is the exact message I want to give this week.

Create Epic Value And Give It Away

As many will know by now the rationale behind inbound or content marketing is to create content that answers questions that potential customers may have. In essence you are aiming to be the subject matter expert for your product, industry and niche. The main aim being to subscribe them to a content journey that ultimately converts them to purchase or partner with your brand.

The byproduct of creating answers to questions your customers may have is a bank of SEO rich pages for Google to index. If you are checking the terms people use to find your website, and using Google’s keyword planner (or other optimisation tools), over time this bank of content should ultimately help push you up the SERPs. Getting you closer to number one in Google.

The trouble now, more than ever, is that we are all creating content and competing for eyeballs. Facebook and Twitter are overloaded, YouTube is flooded, even the TV has far too many channels for us to watch. We need to go beyond just answering problems to actively adding value with our content.

One answer is to create unique audience specific content – go niche.

One great example of giving away useful content is the website www.backofanapkin.co.nz created by Sacha Judd of the law firm Buddle Findlay.

Back of a napkin - a startup tool

The website, aimed at start-ups, provides a boilerplate company document. It outlines the main points of a company’s structure to ensure its is documented – covering things like: the parties involved, who gets what share of ownership, who gets what profits and how decisions are made.

Lightly branded with a Buddle Findlay letterhead, it’s a valuable tool for startups and connects them with a community.

I also made a little form last year to help people conduct a Digital and Social Media audit. It is designed to help small businesses check that they are on the right path and to develop a short roadmap to getting their digital presence right. I hope it has some value for a small business looking to get their online profile right.

Even though it is in essence the exact same strategy I would use with a multinational company or personal brand – it’s ingredients. It’s not the mix, nor the exact methods i’d use to bake my online cake. Hopefully it entices a few more people to check me out as a potential chef. Digital marketing chef that is.

Although that epic piece of valuable content can be related to your core business it could equally be about a unique technique, skills or knowledge you have developed. Brett Kelly was an avid user of Evernote – so much so that he decided to create Evernote Essentials a book that sold 16000 copies. This ultimately led to him being employed by Evernote.

Here are a few others that have already gotten in on the game:

  • John Deer with their Furrow Magazine
  • Adobe with CMO.com
  • Lego with The Lego Club Magazine
  • Copyblogger.com
  • American Express Open Forum
  • Entrepreneur on fire

So my challenge to you is to take what you think is IP – Intellectual Property and turn it into something VIP – Valuable Interesting and Popular.

Using the POST Method to define online initiatives

The POST Method – is a method for defining strategy that’s been around for the web equivalent of a lifetime. Back in 2007 the good folks at Forrester coined the POST methodology. I’ve found it to be a fantastic tool for making strategic and tactical decisions around projects online.If you haven’t guessed it’s not a strategy around posting things on blogs or social media, it’s an acronym.

The method starts with People

Scrum stand up

Clearly defining who your target audience is and what are they like is key to any project – it labels who you are trying to reach. the tighter the description here the better. Most marketing and communication fails by trying to appeal to too wider audience. There’s a are a phrase I love around this – “If you try to please everyone, you please no one”.

Everyone with a pulse or middle aged men is not a defined target market.

Now you could leverage buyer personas – which are kind of like an ideal profile of your target. You could use existing client data to find the median person. the demographic and psychographic profile of your main customer.

One simple way to do this is to go check the demographics of your facebook page fans. I wrote a post on this last month for insiderCXM (reposted here) if you’re interested. With a simple look at your stats you can see your median age, sex, and their location. You might be surprised and find out you’re targeting the opposite, but lets hope it fits with what you were thinking. Dig a little deeper by looking at the pages they like and you can start to get a feel for their psychographic profile too.

Now if your target audience is not on Facebook or if you’re properly into this you should slo do some market research and interview some existing and or potential customers. its the best way to create the perfect persona.

What partnerships could get you to this audience?

The second part to this people equation is working out what partnerships could get you to this audience and how could help you communicate with them? Your research might show that they are all fans of a big sports team – so partnering with them and doing a little brandscaping might work.

Someone must be accountable for driving this to success

The third part is working out initial thoughts on a RASCI chart for the initiative, who is responsible, accountable, consulted and informed about it. You may not have all the seats, but for anything to happen someone must be accountable for driving it to success.

Ok so you’ve got a clear idea of who you want to reach and who’s involved. What do you want to tell them. What’s the Objective of what you’re doing? the O of POST.

Objectives: Here you can outline the message or action or goal you have for this audience.

What are your goals? Are you more interested in listening in order to gain insights? are you messaging to them or communicating an initiative or campaign? Do you want to engage with brand ambassadors or just get someone along to a gig? Once you know what you want, then you can drive how you will act.

That’s The Strategy – Let’s say I start communicating as the CEO with my fans on Facebook or Twitter – what will my company do if people reply – what if they say something bad, what if they have great ideas – how do I get them in a backlog , how do I prioritise them. This is the strategy – planning for how you change your relationship with customers? What do you want to get out of these relationships? Which direction do you want to take and what is the underlying proposition?

With these strategic decisions made – then and only then – do we get onto the final part. The part where most people start. You know the phrases – “We should be on Facebook, everyone’s there” or “are we tweetering this?”

Choosing the right Technology

It’s here you define the medium that best matches your audience, the message you want to give and how you will change your organisation when you meet your objectives.

you look at what applications or websites you should you use? SEO, SEM, and how much time should this take? This step reflects the choices you make in the first three steps. if the people you want to connect with aren’t on Facebook or hate video messages or will demand transparent rapid responses – something your P O and S answers have determined – then making a viral cat video to post on Facebook is just wrong.

So once again – People first, Objectives and goals next, Strategy and then LAST – Technology that will help you get there.

If you like to hear more about this and a few other things that I think are really useful, check out my latest podcast.

And you can subscribe here

on iTunes
or SoundCloud

eCommerce, advertising and messaging to the phase your buyer is in

When it comes to shopping and buying – be it online or offline – there’s are distinct modes or phases in which we operate.

  1. Researching – what do I want?
  2. Searching – where can I get it?
  3. Purchasing – how do I get it now?

Much like taking the wrong bus or missing the express, being driven to the wrong part of your website or shown the wrong message can really ruin a user’s experience. So creating distinct or at least relevant experiences for each of the three phases is key.

Traffic coming in from search engines to your website – and the keyword terms used – can give a very strong signal of the intent a customer has to purchase. It can in some cases tell us exactly which mode a buyer is in. So lets look at the various phases.

Educate your potential customers with Content Marketing

When people are arriving at your website from broad search terms they are in the first of our phases as a buyer – discovering what’s on offer and what potential solutions there are to my needs.

It is here that through content marketing you can educate clients of the benefits of your products, help solve their problems, and make them aware of your brand and your solutions.

You should be answering any questions clients have around benefits of our products. You could help out by comparing products through a comparison infographic or article. This should all be created with the intention of easily sharing on Facebook and Social Media.

On social media you can support the discovery of your brand by sharing answers to their question. But given that at this stage many may not be aware that your brand has answers to their problems (and that we don’t go to Facebook to shop – we go to be entertained and informed) your social media posts should also create brand awareness. Videos around successful customers, or posts about your brand can help to create an affinity with the WHY of your organisation.

LEGO, Johnnie Walker and Apple are notoriously good at tapping into deeper underlying needs that we surface as needs for their products or at least to connect with their brand. Check out their brand videos on YouTube for ideas.

When they’re searching – make sure they know the great range of products you have – right now!

If a customer is in the searching mode, providing a faceted search of your full range of products is key. eCommerce experts and successful eCommerce platforms are such because they have mastered the art of displaying products in a way that is easy to navigate, search and refine. Even so, as buyers we can often find the breadth of products on offer too much or too hard for us to decide, so as customers we have methods that we use to simplify difficult decision making (Heuristics).

There’s two Heuristics here that can play to your advantage – abundance or availability and scarcity.

Abundance

You need to ensure that a potential customer can see you have a broad range of products, and that in shopping with us they’re not missing out on options elsewhere. This could be through displaying the number of results on a page, the number sold today, the number of similar items and the social proof of likes or shares of an item on Facebook. These would indicate a wide range, and that others have purchased here before.

Scarcity

Conversely, scarcity can be used here to push a customer through to purchase. Maybe with a count beside each of the number left in stock (be it real or fabricated as I’m sure many websites do).

Some companies ensure exclusivity from suppliers of a certain colour, team logo or model that will appeal to audiences. Limited editions like Jordans, the Sebastian Vettel Lexus FX50, or Jamie Oliver cookware.

While in this mode shoppers know some things they might be after – but you also have to support those who as Henry Ford is misquoted as saying – might not know they need your product.

“If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a better horse”
– Not said by Henry Ford.

If a customer is purchasing – stay out of their way!

A customer that uses the phase “iPhone 6 white 64GB” has a strong intent to purchase that item and already knows the model, colour and memory size she is after. She also knows that memory is a distinct feature of iPhones.

If you are supporting the organic or natural ranking of your web pages on Google with paid advertising, an advert for this phrase should point directly to your eCommerce shop and to the page of the White iPhone 6 with 64GB of memory. The landing page should have a clear call to action to add to cart and purchase. Even better you could pre-populate a guest cart with the phone already added.

A large image of the phone should confirm you’ve got what they’re after. As this is a filtered results page of your own product search, there should be the ability to X out some of the filtered items – like the colour or memory – BUT DON’T let this get in the way of the main call to action.

BUY NOW

So remember to address your buyers just like a good bricks and mortar shop would do.

  1. Have a display for those just window browsing who may not even know they need your product
  2. carefully lay out your store in sections for easy browsing and searching
  3. and get your express self checkout isle humming for those that just want to buy.


Image courtesy of St3f4n

Three core tactics in my Twitter Strategy

While I loath to call it a strategy, I have decided to take a strategic methodical approach to my use of Twitter.

I’ve decided to:

  1. Network, share and support a core group of influential people in my Dunbar 150 list – daily
  2. Participate in weekly #sshour social selling chats and one other #hashtag chat from a new, unrelated field.
  3. Post useful and insightful links to content from those in my 150 list and insightful sources

But why just three core things you say?

Stick to three focus points and measure their success

I have been reading the book Good To Great by Jim Collins. I which he thorough researches and presents the core elements of what’s behind great companies – those that outperform consistently over time. He summarises a good concise strategy very well.

If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any ~ Jim Collins.

Hence the three pronged approach I am taking on Twitter. They are each in different areas, are SMART and can be measured independently.

My Dunbar 150 list – or small group – allows for focused core networking

The UK psychologist Robin Dunbar did some quite thorough research into human relationships and the number of meaningful or at least memorable relationships we can keep. He came to the conclusion that the average person can only really keep – to some reasonable level – relationships with 150 people. If I think of my personal relationships this sounds about right. 50 odd work contacts, 50 odd friends, 25 family members and 25 business connections – give or take.

So hence my Dunbar 150 list on Twitter – it’s still growing, but will include a core group of people – people who’s Tweets are worth reading, they share good content and I really value their input to my time on Twitter.

Participating in #sshour now #SBizHour and other chats to discover new contacts

Being part of a larger hashtag based chat lets me discover cool new people on Twitter, to get different perspectives and a chance to expand my knowledge. I’ve also found myself following along with design hashtags, UX, customer service and just recently social C suite chats. All help me connect with more people and develop a breadth of knowledge.

Share really useful content

Finally, sharing stuff that is really of value is paying off. People comment on it and share it more frequently. If I take the time to explain why it is of value and also add a supporting visual element – content I tweet far more useful! I hope. You will get the odd motivational quote or bit of humour in the mix but I hope that in general you’ll get valuable content from my stream in 2015. Less noise, more signal I hope!

If you’d like to listen to this post I’ve made a short summary here:


On a personal note. Many thanks to those subscribed to my blog. I wish you all very happy holiday season and a great 2015!

6 Awesome Ways to Rejuvenate Old Content on Your Blog

There is one thing that Google and its assorted trawling bots love, and that is fresh content. If that fresh content is also linked from established websites, then Google has every reason to believe the content is quite good, assumes it has some kudos, and will rank it higher.

This, of course, is brilliant good for the content creator, and the website where the content is housed. Fresh content is the key to this process – the oil that keeps the engine running if you like – and is critical in a healthy inbound marketing strategy.

But often, creating bespoke singular content is an expensive process. So how do you get the most out of new content?  Hopefully this blog will go some way to identifying new content opportunities from old or existing content:

 

1. Switch the format up

As an example – if you’ve run surveys of your clients or market then reformat them. Oh and tweak for SEO as you go. Here’s some options:

  • Video summary of the findings to YouTube
  • Press release
  • Segment the full report – show industry cuts
  • Social media sharing of research nuggets. Social Media B2B do this very well embedding tweetable nuggets into an article. Like this article on content marketing stats.
  • Create an infographic from the summary
  • More social media sharing and discussion
  • Micro poll your users as to if the results still stand true
  • Publish results from the micro poll

2. The Friday roundup / in depth piece

Give followers a lean-back post to digest on Saturday or Sunday. Branding Magazine sends out a summary listing of their hot posts of the previous five days. Good for those relaxing on a Saturday morning with bacon and coffee. In contrast to a round up – the economist has a lean back section for a more in depth read on existing topics and themes.

3. Get all analytical

Find out which of your posts were the most popular in terms of traffic from various search terms. Promote them on social media.  Rework those that are off target.

Use Topsy to compare trending hashtags, or trending phrases and really target your next article.

4. Think of your old posts

Continuing the analytics theme – give your old posts will little traffic a tweet or a share if there’s something relevant in the news related to that post. Use this one sparingly though as it could annoy your close followers. And tailor it to each audience!

If your blog is on WordPress, you may even want to consider the plugin Tweet Old Post which will automate it for you.

5. Newsjack

Your products or services might not be famous yet but helping out someone in a broadcasted bad situation can be powerful content. Oakley sent a new model of sunglasses to those leaving the Chilean mines a few years back – it was global news and everybody saw it. It gave others the chance to create loads of content around them.

It could also be a way to reassure your clients that this won’t happen to them – like password protection. A great example of newsjackking was Lastpass providing a tool to check if your LinkedIn password was stolen. They re-purpose this piece each and every time a new website is hacked or comes to the limelight for security breaches.

 

6. Croudsource an article from your comments area

I love when people point out an idea you’ve missed on a comments section from another article or blog. Use those ideas and expand on them in another post.

Your Turn

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments section. I’d love to create another post!

How I work

Learning the best techniques, tools and apps to do your job is a personal journey we’re all taking.  I thought I’d cover the tools I use in content creation and hope you might find some useful.

And, having subscribed to shotkit.com for photography inspiration – here’s a shot of my kit.

My Desktop, HP ProBook, Sony Z1 and iPad Air

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Current computers: HP Probook laptop, 2014 Mac Pro (when our designer is off site), 2011 Sony Vaio touch VPC at home.

Current mobile devices: IPad Air, iPad 3 and Sony Xperia Z1 Z3 (a Christmas upgrade from Spark – waterproof and 20.1 megapixels of goodness with 4K video. Backups? = Z1, HTC SV and Samsung S2).

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

APPS for WORK

  • Evernote – for storing ideas, lists, research and contacts. I pay to have it auto save and back up – It comes in handy when you’re using it on multiple mobile devices.
  • Google Now – for finding the quickest public transport to my destination and recommending photo opportunities and new restaurants. Then the Auckland Transit app (far more accurate and useful than the Auckland Transport app and with all the functionality that it misses).
  • Foursquare (and the annoying sibling forced upon us – Swarm), for verifying the restaurant/destination is good and grabbing discounts
  • Email (OWA 365 and Gmail).
  • Trello for managing my blog, and work workflow and prioritisation of my backlog. I even have a ‘Home’ work board, for my DIY and home maintenance tasks.
  • Instagram– because I’m passionate about photography and know “the best camera is the one you have with you?”
  • SoundCloud – for recording thoughts
  • Dragon dictate – fantastic when you have to get something down on paper faster than you can type it.

APPS for SOCIAL MEDIA

Buffer, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, GPlus and Facebook (but Facebook only on my iPads so I can concentrate on my other feeds during the day).

APPS for BLOGGING

WordPress app – for blogging
Tinyletter for my newsletter
Typeform– for creating stock content and forms like my free digital marketing audit.

APPS for LEARNING

Last, but most important – Feedly – for consuming RSS feeds.

TOP TIP – I read from Feedly, and save content there and in readability. I then Buffer content for social media from there.

Zite, Flipboard and Swayy try to be my filters for new content although I rarely open them.

I do however skim read the newsletters from CMInstitute, Econsultancy, BCM what’s next and Fraggle when they arrive.

What’s your workspace like?
I live in Torbay and Waiake is my nearest beach where I work from home if it’s good weather – or on the couch at home.

I walk every lunch hour for the full hour

I telecommute on occasion but work is based in Newmarket, surrounded by three dormant volcanoes, Mount Eden, Saint John and Hobson. Each providing a good lunch hour stroll with enough incline to get the heart going and the mind refreshed.

I walk every lunch hour for the full hour and listen to podcasts.

At work I rotate from – my laptop sitting desk – to a  Mies van der Rohe seat – to a stand up desk with my iPad.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack?

Perform a stand up twice a day. Review what you’re doing, what’s working, what’s not and what you’ll adjust for tomorrow.

What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else? Simplifying.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? Trello.

What do you listen to while at work? My colleague switches us through gangster rap and hard rock radio stations each day and I have a few DJs I switch to on SoundCloud like DJ Theresa when I’m in a creative flow state or Brazilian Samba or a

What are you currently reading? Good To Great having just finished

What’s your sleep routine like? To bed at around 22:00 or 23:00 and awake at 05:20 each day. On the weekends I get to bed when I tire (a little earlier usually if we’ve had a good day at the beach).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

 It doesn’t matter what you study at university, college or school, you’re just there to learn ‘how to learn’ the best you can. Get good at that, and everything else gets better. – David Allen (my grandfather).

Anything else you want to add? Dan Miller put the notion of teamwork well in a podcast I discovered this week.  A Clydesdale can pull 8 tonnes alone but as a pair they can pull 24, and with training 32 tonnes.

Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see BLANK answer these questions. I’d love to see Dan, Anya, AJ, Simone, Scot and Chuck answer these questions.


My gear

Computer writing desk
110 NZD – target.com

Knoll folding armchair
9,365 NZD – connox.com

Evernote Market
evernote.com

Podcast: Agile Development and some surprising upshots with Jason Wills

Agile Project management techniques, lean principles, learning and iterating are things that I’ve become quite passionate about over the last years.

image

Seeing the results that “Going Agile” can bring to an organisation in terms of delivering value to the end user and business value over and beyond traditional methods gets me happy. It makes me think of the other applications for agile outside of software development – ways to really challenge organisations to take it to other teams like marketing and even into the sales and the recruitment process as well.
I even think in minimal viable product terms when I look at websites, marketing materials and even my renovation list at home.

I’ve been down in Christchurch today. Our fighting city in New Zealand that’s grinding its way to recovery from two city flattening earthquakes. A town of survivors, reminded of loss each day. A town that needs to iterate fast to get back on its feet and adopt new practices. We talk of digital disruption, we’ll this town has every disruption, from its core, to its psyche, it’s direction, transportation, infrastructure and lives turned upside down.

Many would say the town council needs to adopt some lines from the agile manifesto “working content over documentation” and “Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential”. Getting themselves up to speed again and functioning in a new normal shall we say.

Despite the hardships the city faces, Jason Wills the CIO of Harcourts introduced me to an excited team. Enthusiastic, that’s focused on improvement and learning. A team that is excited about bringing value to our end users. A team that has adapted Agile project management quickly. Despite being only in their second year of agile the team sizes epics with great accuracy (chunks of work taken into a cycle of development) and knows what they can accomplish in a sprint cycle (the time frames they work in).

IMG_0070.JPG

Jason and I had a fantastic day and thought we’d summarise some of the key points in a podchat – yes autocorrect I’m making a new word – for you.

Some of the pieces that most surprised me were:

  • Our commitment to agile, going all in with a coach and training
  • The rate of agile adoption in New Zealand amongst CIOs
  • The surprising side effects of agile adoption
  • The breakdown of knowledge silos
  • The resolution of business continuity issues through the sharing if knowledge
  • How it has lead to greater transparency
  • How the artefacts of scrum, like the scrum board with post it notes depicting workflow, have really helped business prioritisation
  • And yes, even some agile marketing slips into the mix which I’m amplifying as we role out our strategy.

I’ll let Jason continue the journey but please let me know what you think of this podcast format and if you’d like to hear more. I’m keen to start talking about incremental improvements, business value and that crossover between online and offline.

I’ve been talking to another of our Harcourts leaders Gilbert Enoka, the mental skills coach for New Zealand’s greatest sporting team the mighty All Blacks rugby squad. Hopefully he’ll share some tips and insights in a coming podcast too!