Campbell’s uses agile in ‘radical’ way of expanding market

Campbell Soup Co., known for its array of soups and snacks, has integrated agile methods of working in its latest marketing campaign, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Despite agile usually being used within the IT and software developing sector, Campbell, famously used as part of the artist Andy Warhol’s projects in the ’60s, are optimising agile methods within the company to promote their new products.

The aim of the new campaign is to push the sales of their popular American snack, ‘Goldfish’, to an older audience of 9-12-year-olds.

Using agile differently

The company wanted to come up with a quick method to make a healthier version of their current product and after research, discovered that using agile methodology would be the most effective and efficient way, but in an unusual step, away from the IT sector.

Campbell decided to use agile as a way of speeding up the development of the product and bringing together people from various teams to do so. This also allows the company to test products quicker and keep up with the competition.

Vice president and head of research and development at Campbell, Craig Slavtcheff, said at the Investor day meeting on 13th June: “We searched outside the [consumer packaged-goods] world and looked at companies where innovation speed was a critical factor for success, and that’s how we arrived on agile methodology as a tool.”

Trusting agile

It was previously taking the company around two years to develop a product from idea to shelf, but WSJ suggests that when using agile, it has only taken them nine months this time around. They now plan to use this technique in evolving all of their food and snack products.

Controversially, although Campbell do use agile methods within their IT department, they decided not to collaborate with them after deciding that that team had too much experience in tech, and so wanted to step away from that way of thinking. They instead hired a small team using the basic principles of agile.

Slavtcheff commented on his trust in agile, saying: “Being able to draw on rapid advances in the technology world to transform how we do research and development is how this company is going to get to the next 150 years of success.”