You’ve likely heard your peers talk about an Agile marketing methodology—the iterative approach to work management that enables quick pivots and swift delivery of value. In fact, in a recent study by Aprimo and AgileSherpas, a little over half of marketers (53%) said that “faster time to get things released” and the “ability to change gears quickly and effectively” were two of the top four benefits of applying Agile to marketing.
This concept makes sense in today’s fast-paced environment where agility is key. If you’re a traditional marketing organization, you’re probably:
If any of those sound familiar, then it’s time to learn to separate fact from fiction in Agile marketing and embrace agility in your organization. Here’s what you need to know:
Myth No. 1: Agile only works for co-located teams
If your idea of Agile marketing evokes whiteboards filled with sticky notes and daily standups, you’re not wrong. Visualizing work and following a regular meeting cadence are Agile essentials, but it’s a myth that value disintegrates when you add remote team members. Virtual marketing teams benefit the most from agile because they are more likely than co-located teams to experience challenges in alignment, communication and delivery.
The rhythm of an Agile team doesn’t come from being in the same location—it comes from shared goals, a collaborative mindset and a bullish commitment to delivering incremental value—all of which can transcend an office environment. Digital Kanban boards can be used to replace physical whiteboards, and video conferencing allows meetings to run anywhere. While agile is important for co-located teams, it's absolutely critical when teams work remotely.
Myth No. 2: Agile teams aren’t connected to strategy
For many leaders, Agile’s concept of “self-organizing teams” can sound disconnected—and maybe a little unnerving. Many wonder: if I empower my teams to make decisions about their work, how do I know they’re working on the right things? It’s a common myth that Agile teams don’t plan, and worse yet, aren’t connected to strategy.
A truly Agile organization is never disconnected from strategy. Planning, alignment and obsessive test-measure-improve cycles are built into the Agile DNA. Regular checkpoints like Program Increment (PI) planning, team demos and key metric reviews enable executives to assess and steer. Then teams get together, adjust their plans, and keep humming in the best direction for the business.
Myth No. 3: Agile marketing should look exactly like Agile development
Your software development teams may practice Scrum, and they may have an excellent Agile coach. But it's a myth that you need to mirror every agile practice your development team follows. Agile isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, because no two teams work in exactly the same way.
At Planview, our Agile marketing methodology is Scrumban, which combines the meetings or “ceremonies” of Scrum with the continuous flow framework of Kanban in order to support deliverables of different types and sizes. For example, blogs are handled far differently than demand campaigns or trade shows. We also work with an Agile coach who has real marketing context and has helped tailor our agile processes to our work types so we can inspect-adapt those processes just like any other.
—Cameron van Orman, CMO, Planview