We’ve all been there. Likely your digital operations grew out of necessity, like a patchwork quilt. We like to think we make choices on implementing MarTech based on best of breed recommendations. But we know decisions are often been based on our budgets or time.
We cobbled together apps for things like email lists, website analytics, CRM databases, funnel management. The number of apps and cloud services that most Marketer’s use these days run into double digits. Out of a possibility of options and alternatives in the thousands.
The pandemic exasperated the situation. Rushing to work remotely with both customers and employees a lot was done on the fly.
It’s almost the reverse of the game Jenga. You know the one. Where players take turns pulling out a brick in the tower, hoping their turn won’t be the one where the tower comes crashing down.
What would happen to your digital operations today if you decided to add in a new app for a new function. Would it integrate easilly with what exists? Or cause a ripple of downstream data change requirements?
Likewise, what if privacy regulations changed? Are you ready for the cookie-less future that is coming?
Would your digital operations be able to stand up to success? To your business really scaling?
Or would your systems sputter and stop? Moreover, would that impact your customer engagement.
Agile software development has a concept of something called technical debt.
In the world of agile, feature releases are constrained and prioritized by whether it provides value to the customer. Yet, agilest also realize that sometimes this results in not making the best decisions in the moment. As they iterate forward, they also accumulate a list of “nice to have” or “should be done” items. A technical debt list.
On a regular basis technical debt items makes it way into work to be done. Sometimes an entire sprint release is technical debt. It can have real benefits in terms of long term costs and minimizing system risks.
For my business, I take it a step further and keep buckets for what I call marketing debt or operational debt. There are things that might make my collateral look a little nicer, and my internal operations run a little smoother.
When I am making a change, I question whether it have any intrinsic value to the customer today. If the answer is no, then it goes into the debt bucket.
Because I also put some cycle time into looking at these, then the items likely will get done eventually. Just not in a panic when the Jenga tower collapses.
How do you manage nice-to-dos?