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“Agile” isn’t just for software development.
Agile can also be a powerful methodology for marketing teams tasked with producing a lot of content.
That’s been the case for Cindy O’Keeffe, VP of Marketing at Gorilla Logic, a company that provides organizations with software teams steeped in the Agile playbook to develop custom software. Like most marketing teams, the Gorilla Logic group was always juggling multiple projects and timelines and handling requests from across the company—all of which can easily devolve into chaos and disorganization. To help keep things organized and plan ahead, O’Keeffe and her team many of the same Agile principles used by the company’s software developers.
For example, O’Keeffe’s team began using month-long “Sprints” to prioritize and more efficiently manage projects. At the beginning of a Sprint, they look at Trello—an app featuring “boards” and virtual sticky notes, or “cards—to get an overview of projects broken down into their component tasks and to determine how much they can expect to accomplish over the course of the month. Each task, or card, has “story points,” indicating how much time the task will take to complete.
“Oftentimes, initially we include more story points in a Spring than we know we can do in a month,” O’Keeffe says, “so then we have to go back and see if there’s something we can break into a smaller piece and push some of it to next month? What are the tradeoffs?”
O’Keeffe has found that Sprint planning helps remove a lot of the stress and anxiety so common in marketing. For example, knowing how many “points” the team can handle at full strength during a Sprint enables O’Keeffe to plan ahead for when team members are on vacation. Instead of scrambling to cover for the lost employee hours, O’Keeffe can manage expectations by giving her colleagues in other departments a realistic sense of how much the marketing team can accomplish that month.
Sprints and other Agile practices have also helped O’Keeffe give her team more autonomy and have resulted in less emailing back and forth among team members.
For marketing leaders interested in adopting an Agile approach, O’Keeffe recommends connecting with Agile Sherpas, a firm that specializes in Agile training for marketers.
To learn more about how O’Keeffe and her team practice Agile marketing, check out “Marketing Agility: Hot it Works and What it Means for the Rest of the Organization.”