You have probably heard of the terms “agile” and “scrum”, but what do they really mean? Do they really work? Usually it is someone who is deep in the IT sector who is raving about them, and about how well their department is doing.
How can these concepts be successfully migrated over to marketing? This article will go into three fail-safe mechanisms to implement in your marketing department to become more agile.
What exactly does it mean to be agile? Think of it as a mindset of continuous improvement. This can mean looking at being able to move faster, respond to market changes, increase business value or pivot your strategy at the lowest cost.
There are multiple methodologies being used in the industry. Two popular ones are Scrum and Kanban, but many businesses are using a hybrid model.
When you are transforming your business into an agile environment, there are multiple hurdles to overcome and problems to solve. To ensure it is safe to proceed to a full agile transformation, it’s best to seek professional support, including having a ScrumMaster involved in your day-to-day business functions. A ScrumMaster can aid in facilitating meetings, fostering the agile mindset, looking for ways to continuously improve and removing roadblocks for the team.
If you are not able to have a ScrumMaster join your team, here are three things you can implement to help improve your business:
1. Daily stand-ups.
The team should connect every day for 15 minutes. This is a planning session to see how everyone’s day is going and what they intend to accomplish. This is a time to ask for help, or to raise awareness of a roadblock that a team member foresees. Team members can also discuss whether they have extra bandwidth and can provide support to others. A high-functioning team has high levels of communication; having this meeting builds even better team communication.
2. Make all of your work visible.
There is nothing more frustrating than having everyone super busy, but not knowing what anyone is working on. Bringing visibility to current work can help mitigate multiple problems and even bring awareness of areas you didn’t know were issues.
An easy way to make work visible is to use a visualization tool, such as Jira or Asana. Team members can add tasks to an online board so everyone can have a bird’s-eye view. These tools, which can be highly customized, help the team stay organized.
A benefit of having all work visible is that leaders can easily view the value of all of the work being done, and prioritize the most important items. By having set priorities, the team can also articulate the value they are providing to the business. This also keeps the team on track and working on the highest value items, without being distracted by ad hoc tasks.
3. Have a team retrospective meeting, with the objective of helping the team to improve.
This should be an open discussion, held every 1–4 weeks, where the team can voice what has been going well, along with any areas of improvement. This can help shed light on underlying issues. In the meeting, it is useful to have the team identify the root cause of issues, and together build a plan on how they are going to solve it. Team members should hold each other accountable for the improvements that they commit to accomplish.
If you implement these three tactics into your marketing department, you will be moving towards incremental improvement. Just remember that this can be a long and tedious process, and it won’t happen overnight – it usually takes a few months to start seeing the benefits of transitioning to an agile environment. But as long as you are always continuously improving, you are running in an agile manner.
If you enjoyed reading this article, take a look at our other educational articles.
Written by Kimberly Yee, ScrumMaster