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.
Mary Meeker’s annual State of the Internet presentation should be required reading for every marketer. She recently published, and I recently read, an update to her 2012 presentation. I was particularly struck by her data on the momentum of mobile adoption. Global unit shipments of smartphones and tablets (what I’ll call mobile devices) surpassed global unit shipments of desktop PCs and Notebook PCs in the 4th quarter of 2010. In 2013, her estimates show almost 3 times as many mobile devices shipping globally compared to PCs (slide 25). The global smartphone and tablet installed base should exceed that of PCs in the 2nd quarter of 2013 (slide 26). Mobile now accounts for 13% of total Internet traffic (slide 15) and in some countries, like India, mobile traffic has now surpassed desktop traffic (slide 16).
In 1959, an industrialist named Henry Kremer established a prize of £50,000 for the first human-powered flight of a figure eight course around two markers one half mile apart, starting and ending the course at least 10 feet above the ground. For more than 15 years, the prize went unclaimed, as teams struggled to create a human-powered airplane that could fly far enough and that could maneuver around the figure eight course. In the early 70’s, an American aeronautical engineer named Paul MacCready took up the challenge.
MacCready noticed that the early designs were all made of wood, and they were both heavy and fragile. Teams would build a design, fly it, and almost inevitably crash. It might take them 6-12 months to rebuild the crashed plane. With only 1, possibly 2, iterations per year, they were making slow progress. MacCready took a different approach. He built his plane out of plastic tubing, wires and a few aluminum tubes. If, or rather when, it crashed, it could quickly be re-assembled and he could iterate in days, rather than months. This iterative approach, along with a much larger wing area inspired by hang-glider designs, resulted in MacCready’s team winning the Kremer prize in 1977.
The same principle holds true for marketing. If you’re running big campaigns, iterating just once or twice a year, responding slowly to feedback from the marketplace, it’s going to take you a long time to get it right. What are you doing today to speed up your cycle time? The faster you can turn the crank, getting through an entire cycle of the build-measure-learn feedback loop (see Eric Ries), the more responsive you’ll be to the marketplace, and ultimately, the more successful will be your marketing.
Last week I had the opportunity to interview Melanie Darienzo, VP of Client Services with Intelligent Demand, a Denver demand generation and digital marketing agency. Melanie has been practicing Agile Marketing for several years, and I thought I’d catch up with her and talk about how they use Agile, how practicing Agile Marketing is different in an agency (compared to practicing Agile as a brand marketer inside a company) and what tools they use to manage Agile Marketing. I think you’ll enjoy Melanie’s insights.