Every leader wants their team to be productive and successful. While being “busy” is about working harder, being “productive” is about working smarter. Being productive allows team members to take ownership of their day, which leads to happy and healthy employees. To create a productive work environment and set your team members up for success, consider adopting an agile approach to marketing.
If your team is tired of putting out fires and working reactively, then they will appreciate agile marketing. In marketing, there are certain things you can count on, and there are unknowns that are inevitable each week. I refer to these as the “known unknowns.” You know something is bound to come at you, out of the blue, but you just don’t know what is coming. An agile marketing approach will help you remain in control of your team’s workload.
It is easiest to set the tone of your marketing team if you are growing and expanding your team from scratch. But, if you are hired to manage an existing team, you can still make the pivot to agile marketing. The first step is to talk to your team and explain the benefits of agile marketing. Remember, you are doing this to set your team up for success. You truly want them to succeed, and this message needs to be conveyed when getting team buy-in. This article will walk you through the benefits of agile marketing.
At the foundation of an agile marketing team is planning and prioritization. Top priorities and tasks get assigned to team members with due dates within a set time. At Capacity, we call this time period a “sprint,” which we manage in Jira. Typically, sprints are two weeks in duration, but you can adapt the sprint length to accommodate your workflow and to fit with the rest of your organization. Before each sprint begins, the team leader will determine which projects need to be accomplished based on company goals and initiatives. For starters, take a look at your event calendar, and plan out everything that needs to happen to make each event possible. For each event, you should create an “epic” to organize all of the tickets needed to accomplish an overarching goal. Each ticket within an epic will be assigned to a member of the team, and you can add collaborators to each ticket.
In any given sprint, you might have tickets for events, sales decks, content creation, social media posts, and landing page creation. But, one thing is clear. Each team member knows exactly what is expected of them within two weeks, and they can plan their schedule accordingly.
Tip: At Capacity, we plan ahead. So, if a ticket gets blocked temporarily, the team member’s workflow does not come to a screeching halt. The team member can look ahead to the next sprint and pull in tickets to stay productive.
Regardless if you chose the Scrum or Kanban style of organizing, every team member’s workload is laid out on a board for everyone to see, so it is easy to know what projects the marketing team is working on at any given time. If you are on the sales team, and you are waiting for a sales deck, you can track the progress of your request without pinging a team member for a status update.
The same holds true from a manager’s perspective. Agile marketing allows managers to easily see and celebrate individual wins and team successes. Managers no longer need to interrupt their team’s workflow to ask about progress, because status should be noted on each ticket, and tickets should be organized in columns (e.g. “To Do,” “In Progress,” “In Review,” and “Done”). The manager will know if they need to jump in to help because that will be noted in the ticket, and they will also know when it’s time to review the team’s work based on which tickets are in the “In Review” column.
Tip: Your team members will love the autonomy of planning their own day and week. Without the constant, unplanned interruptions, you’ll see productivity soar!
With agile marketing, collaboration is more important than ever. As a manager, you won’t need to ping your team to ask about progress, but it’s imperative to schedule regular meetings to discuss the sprint. The most important meeting of any sprint is the “Kickoff Meeting,” which happens at the start of the sprint. At this time, you will review the tickets and expectations so each team member can see what needs to be accomplished. Then, each team member can plan their two-week schedule based on deadlines and goals.
Some teams have a daily meeting or sync to discuss progress. These meetings should be short and sweet. At Capacity, our marketing team goes around the virtual Zoom room and shares the following information:
- What I accomplished yesterday
- What I plan to accomplish today
- What I need help with
During weekly one-on-ones with your team members, it’s important to dive into each project in more detail. You can discuss if any tickets might need to be moved to the following sprint. If something urgent pops up mid-sprint (the “known unknowns” discussed above), check to see if that ticket can be scheduled for the following sprint. If it is an urgent request, simply reprioritize your current sprint based on the new direction. Instead of being reactive, simply switch your priorities and remain in control.
Tip: Involve your team in the planning! If you notice your team member has extra bandwidth, ask them what they have been wanting to work on, but haven’t had the time to do. You’d be surprised at all of the amazing projects your team will bring to your attention.
There are many benefits to leading an agile marketing team. As a manager, you can track progress, provide instant feedback to team members, and celebrate successes as each ticket is completed. As a marketing team member, you will enjoy the freedom of owning your day and taking control of your workload. If you want to ensure your team is productive (and not busy), you should consider implementing an agile approach to marketing.
Jennifer Sabin is the Director of Content Marketing at Capacity. Capacity is a new kind of helpdesk, powered by artificial intelligence, that automates support for your customers and employees. Capacity’s mission is to help teams do their best work, and we live and breathe this mission each day.