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In this article, I will go through how you can use agile principles to suit your business and marketing needs but first lets’ start from the top, where it all began.
The meaning of agile is the ability to be flexible, to change direction quickly and smoothly. It focuses on helping teams effectively communicate, provide continuous feedback, adapt to change and produce substantial working results. All of this is achieved using a set of values and principles.
Many people think agile is a method and thus presume they are using an agile methodology. But this is far from the truth – Agile is anything but a method. An agile method makes the approach less able to adapt, making it the opposite of what agile represents in its entirety. In essence, it’s a philosophy that has been used for years.
Agile is particularly relevant where the expectations are unclear, or how to get to the end deliverable is uncertain. Often, businesses or customers don’t have a clear set of requirements from the offset. Sometimes, they don’t even know exactly what they want – making it incredibly difficult to understand and plan the changes or procedures to implement. Using the Agile values and principles will help immensely in these instances.
Also, adapting the principles to suit marketing can improve the marketing function and increase its transparency and speed.
Taking the principles from the Agile manifesto, I would recommend the following for agile marketing:
“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of marketing that solves problems and creates value.”
“We welcome and plan for change. We believe that our ability to quickly respond to change is a source of competitive advantage.”
“Deliver marketing programs frequently, from every couple of weeks to every two months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.”
“Great marketing requires close alignment with the business, sales and development.”
“Build marketing programs around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.”
“Learning, through the build-measure-learn feedback loop, is the primary measure of progress.”
“Sustainable marketing requires you to keep a constant pace and pipeline.”
“Don’t be afraid to fail; just don’t fail the same way twice.”
“Continuous attention to marketing fundamentals and good design enhances agility.”
“Simplicity is essential.”
“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of marketing valuable software.”
“At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.”
Many people think agile is the opposite of planning because of its name, but that’s far from the truth. You need planning, so be sure to include it in everything and embrace it. Agile marketing requires short, medium and long-term marketing plans. Be acceptable to make adjustments to these plans and strategies as and when needed. For example, if a promotional campaign does not have the outcome you need, change your approach and try something else.
As with many investments, it takes time (months) and willingness to follow through with these values and principles. It won’t happen overnight and you will need to work with your team and broader business tofully embrace this way of thinking.
Remember when I said agile is a philosophy and the opposite of a method – Well once you understand the philosophy, you can bring in methods alongside to support you in your journey. There are many methods you can take advantage of, such as Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban. I won’t go into detail with each of these methods, but I would recommend learning them so you can use them to your advantage.
Sprints are a valuable way to manage the length of time on projects. For example, if you have several new product launches coming up or promotional activities from Black Friday to Christmas. Using sprints can make these projects more manageable by planning the amount of work that has to be completed and ready for review. The duration of each sprint can last between 2 – 4 weeks.
The first steps are a planning meeting to understand your projects’ size, agree on priority, sprint goals and more.
A good way of collaborative efforts in your team and getting feedback is to set up several brief check-in meetings or huddles during the sprint. These should only last 15 minutes and give each team member a chance to go over their completed tasks and work in progress. It’s also an excellent opportunity to run through any backlogs, issues, risks.
Setup visual aids to track progress (even if it’s just a whiteboard); it doesn’t have to be fancy but needs to be effective. You can even set this up digitally via software like Trello or Monday.com, as long as it’s centralised and everyone has access to wherever they are.
These are just some of the benefits, but there are countless benefits to your business and team’s success.
Agile is not a method but an approach. It is a mindset to successfully achieve and implement procedures within your business. It’s a philosophy. In most ways, it’s the opposite of everything PRINCE2 represents! There is no structure. It isn’t black and white. It is a way of using different approaches (such as principles and values) to drive successful operations.
Remember what you’re there for and what your primary goal is. It can be easy to lose track when you’re in the thick of a project. The principles will help you focus and align to the goal. It encourages you to communicate face to face wherever possible, allowing flexibility in the development process essential in today’s world.
Use methods in conjunction with agile, such as Scrum, so you get the optimum out of the situation. You don’t have to be an expert and you can always take out the bits you don’t need, so it works best for you.
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Thanks for taking the time to read this article, I hope you find it insightful. To get updated on future articles then subscribe to our blog. Join our mailing list and get news straight to your inbox, simply pop your details in below and we will do the rest.