A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to interview John Mardlin of PMRobot. John’s video isn’t very clear (some kind of problem with his camera), but he has some very interesting things to say about how to (and not to) bring Agile Marketing into an organization, and his own experiences using Agile Marketing from his background in formal project management.
One of the toughest jobs for any marketer is to repair a damaged brand. Sometimes, it’s not repairing damage, but simply changing the attributes that the market associates with the brand. In early 2008, Howard Schultz of Starbucks was faced with this challenge. Starbucks, while a well recognized brand, had become associated with cookie-cutter coffee houses and mediocre expresso drinks. Their stock had fallen by almost half, and Howard Schultz, the founder, had returned as CEO after several years away from running the day-to-day business.
Schultz re-invigorated the Starbucks brand through what he called the “Transformation Agenda”. This was a concept he borrowed from Michael Dell, and it allowed him to articulate on a single page his vision, his strategy, and the key moves or tactics that he would take to transform the brand. He communicated this Transformation Agenda through a series of 15 memos to Starbucks Partners (their word for employees) in his first four months after returning as CEO.
As Agile Marketers, we can use this concept of the Transformational Agenda to articulate our own vision for where we want to take our brand. We can use it as a roadmap for a series of Sprints to take us on a long journey of transformation.
Agile marketing owes the world of software development a debt for the origination of agile methodologies. Agile software development is quite mature and much thought has gone into modifying its processes to suit the needs of individual teams and organizations.
Though Agile Marketing is relatively new, the benefit of showing up late to the game is that agile marketers get to pick and choose the best moves from the players who’ve been at it longer. That’s how agile marketing has learned from agile development, but there are still more tricks to be learned from the software world. This post is inspired by Roman Pichler’s excellent article about roadmaps in agile development
The practice of creating a roadmap for software products is well established and is used in both waterfall and agile development to keep the team focused on the long road ahead, and let stakeholders know what to expect.
What are the duties of a Scrum Master? How do you choose someone who will make a successful scrum master, what personality traits and skills do you look for? And are there differences between the role, duties and skillset necessary to become a successful scrum master for Agile Marketing, as compared to Agile Development? I’ve been asking myself these questions lately, and I’d like to share my thoughts and ask you to share yours.
I’ve been working lately with Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing. If you don’t know Matt, he’s one of the most consistently insightful marketing practitioners around. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, hire him. If you’re not, subscribe to his newsletter, which is full of nuggets of goodness.
We had just finished our first Sprint together at a company I’m now running, and we were conducting our Sprint Review, working our way into planning for our second Sprint. I’ve introduced Matt to Agile Marketing, just as he’s introduced me to some of his techniques, and he made a comment that I found particularly insightful.
We have to be careful that we don’t let all this great activity that we’re getting done because of Agile Marketing lull us into thinking that we’re accomplishing our goals just because we’re moving so much from the Sprint backlog column into the done column.
I think that’s exactly right. The point of Agile Marketing isn’t just to get more done, it’s to get the right things done so that we can hit our goals and ultimately generate more business for the company.
We’ve been using a new tool (new to us at least) for managing our Sprints: KanbanTool. In using it, we’ve found several features very useful, and it has also changed how we do our standups. Just to give you some background, in previous Sprints, I’ve used either whiteboards and large colored index cards or Trello.
One of the best curators on the Net, particularly of all things agile, is Neil Perkin at the blog Only Dead Fish. I sometimes have to translate the british-isms (We are two nations separated by a common language), but I always find something interesting in his weekly fish food. This week is no exception. Neil led me to a wonderful article by Mike Bracken, the Executive Director of Digital in the Cabinet Office of the UK, responsible for all things digital for the British government.
How do you create a marketing function within your organization that is world class? There are some interesting clues in a brilliant article by eConsultancy’s Ashley Friedlein. [Read more...]
Eric Ries has given us a wonderful book in The Lean Startup. It is by far the best guide (along with Steve Blank’s books) for entrepreneurs looking for method, not magic, for growing their startup. But where does the title come from? What’s lean about lean startup? And what does this have to do with Agile Marketing? I’ll answer both of those questions below.