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What Agile Teams Can Learn From Netflix?

What Agile Teams Can Learn From Netflix?

Emerging from the days of video rentals and cable came a new way to watch as many movies and television shows as we want and when we want — Netflix.

There is no doubt that the OTT industry is booming. Netflix enjoys 100m+ customers and subscribers consume more than 140 million hours of content.

So what is the secret to such high success compared to our previous viewing options? Why do people spend 120 minutes per day on Netflix, but only 30-60 minutes per week watching regular television? If you consider that Netflix is operating in an Agile fashion, it makes sense.

That’s not to say that the development team does or does not follow an Agile Methodology, but it has to do more with the way that Netflix releases content. Similar to Agile Development, Netflix also strives to focus on fast feedback, iterative changes, and cross-collaboration.

By taking a closer look at the way the company operates behind the scenes, Agile development teams can learn quite a bit from Netflix. If you’re still not convinced, here are a few ways Netflix echoes Agile development and can teach teams to be more successful when building, testing, and delivering software.

1. Do Better Than a Pilot Episode –

Have you ever noticed that Netflix doesn’t have pilot episodes? That’s because a pilot episode is essentially a test to see whether the network and the network’s audiences like the first episode enough to keep watching more. But what happens if they don’t? A lot of time and money will be wasted. Instead, Netflix pulls the perfect “balance of intuition and analytics” during production so that they know shows will be successful. House of Cards was greenlighted based on deep data analytics that told Netflix it would be well-received. In fact, Netflix Originals have a 35% higher success rate than new TV shows released on the network.Don’t wait until the end of development to test, and don’t let your users find problems for you. integrating testing into every step of the software development lifecycle will make sure that you’re delivering something that your customers will love.

2. Integrated Feedback –

As per the Agile Manifesto, one of the key components of a successful Agile team is allowing for immediate feedback, and just as importantly, implementing it in your next release. You don’t have to tell Netflix twice. Take House of Cards again — amid allegations about Kevin Spacey, there was a decision to be made about keeping him on the cast or canceling the show, both of which the company knew would agitate viewers. Instead, the company decided to continue production with Robin Wright as the lead, demonstrating that integrating feedback is a win-win. Whether that feedback is from testers while the application is in production or from customers after the software is deployed, incorporating feedback upholds continuous growth and improvement.

3. Compatibility with Customers –

Netflix supports 900 different devices – that’s almost as many as CrossBrowserTesting has in the cloud. Between laptops, smartphones, and tablets, not to mention different browsers, operating systems, and screen sizes, consistency is key. Netflix has a huge customer base, which means they probably have a lot of diversified device usage. If they didn’t make the application accessible to each one of those, they simply would not enjoy the amount of success they do today. If you want to release a high-quality application for every user, cross-browser testing is necessary.

4. Deliver Often –

One of the major benefits of Agile is that it allows teams to release software more often instead of having longer release cycles and only delivering every few months or even years. Netflix has discovered that releasing new movies and shows on a weekly basis keeps customers excited and intrigued, so they don’t get bored by the same categories over and over. Customer expectations and demands are high these days, they constantly want their hands on the next best thing. But at the end of the day, it’s pretty clear. If people want to consume your product, give them the means that allow them to do that as much as they want with continuous integration and delivery.

5. Embrace User Stories –

A user story describes a software feature as a customer would see it. The goal of Agile is to bring user stories from ideation to deployment, considering who the user is, what they want to accomplish, and how they accomplish it with that feature. Netflix takes this to the next level by understanding every user story with advanced personalization. In fact, 75% of Netflix views are a result of their recommendation engine. By creating different trailers and artwork for content based on viewers’ previous movie and show choices, they’re able to more precisely communicate recommendations with people based on their interests and behavior. Take it from Netflix and get familiar with user personas and the customer journeys that take place throughout your application to better plan throughout development.

The post 5 Lessons Agile Teams Can Learn From Netflix appeared first on by Alex McPeak.

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