Scrum is an agile framework that has been widely used in product development. Today more and more marketing teams also apply scrum in their daily work for various reasons. It helps teams to prioritize and manage their work effectively and increase productivity. However, when it comes to marketing, there are some specific challenges that need to be addressed. This article will provide an extensive guide on how to use Scrum in marketing and how to overcome the common challenges that marketing teams face.
Benefits of Using Scrum in Marketing
There are several benefits to using Scrum in marketing, including:
- Increased collaboration: Scrum emphasizes regular communication and collaboration between team members, helping to ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals.
- Faster time-to-market: Scrum’s iterative approach allows marketing teams to deliver value more quickly and respond to changes in customer demands and market trends more efficiently.
- Improved customer satisfaction: By regularly delivering value, Scrum helps to ensure that customers are more satisfied with the products and services being offered.
- Increased efficiency: Scrum helps marketing teams to identify and eliminate waste, allowing them to work more efficiently and effectively.
- Improved product quality: Scrum’s focus on regular feedback and continuous improvement helps to ensure that the end product is of high quality and meets customer needs.
How to Implement Scrum in Marketing
Form a cross-functional team
Scrum is most effective when a cross-functional team is involved in the development process, so it is important to ensure that the team includes members with diverse skills and backgrounds.
Define the roles and responsibilities of each team member
In Scrum, there are three main roles: the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Development Team. In a marketing context, the Product Owner could be the marketing manager or a product manager, the Scrum Master could be the team lead, and the Development Team could be the marketing team. It is essential to define the roles and responsibilities of each team member to ensure smooth collaboration and avoid confusion.
Create a product backlog
As a marketing team, having a clear and actionable plan is crucial for success. Agile methodology provides a flexible framework for organizing and prioritizing work, making it an ideal approach for marketing teams.
Step 1: Define Marketing Objectives and Target Audience
Before filling your backlog, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your marketing objectives and target audience. Your objectives should be specific, measurable, and aligned with your overall business goals. For example, your objective might be to increase brand awareness among a specific demographic. Once you have defined your objectives, identify your target audience and understand their needs, behaviors, and pain points.
Step 2: Brainstorm Marketing Initiatives
Once you have a clear understanding of your objectives and target audience, it’s time to brainstorm potential marketing initiatives. Gather your team and ask them to contribute ideas for initiatives that align with your objectives. During this step, don’t limit your thinking to traditional marketing tactics. Encourage creative and outside-the-box thinking.
Step 3: Prioritize Initiatives
With a list of potential initiatives, it’s time to prioritize them. Consider factors such as impact, feasibility, and resources required for each initiative. Use this information to create a prioritized list of initiatives as high level tasks in your backlog. In a tool like Jira you can use Epics and the roadmap feature of your board to plan out your campaigns. Make sure to regularly review and adjust this list as your marketing landscape changes.
Step 4: Break Down Initiatives into Tasks
With your prioritized list of initiatives (Jira epics), it’s time to break them down into smaller, actionable tasks. For each initiative, identify the steps required to complete it and assign a responsible team member to each initiative. Make sure to consider dependencies between tasks.
Step 5: Assign Tasks to Team Members
With a clear list of tasks, it’s time to assign them to team members. Make sure each team member understands their responsibilities and has the necessary resources to complete their tasks. Use modern project management tools such as Jira, Trello or Asana to help manage your backlog and keep track of progress.
Step 6: Regularly Review and Update the Backlog
Your marketing landscape is constantly changing, so it’s important to regularly review and update your backlog. Consider using agile retrospectives to regularly reflect on your team’s progress and make adjustments to your backlog as needed.
Decide on the length of your sprints and establish a regular sprint schedule. It is important to stick to this schedule as closely as possible to ensure consistent progress.
Plan the sprint
Sprint planning is an important part of agile methodology, allowing your marketing team to stay organized, prioritize high-impact tasks, and achieve your marketing objectives. By following these practical steps, you can create a flexible and effective sprint plan for your marketing team.
Step 1: Review the Product Backlog
Before sprint planning, it’s important to review the product backlog to understand what needs to be accomplished in the upcoming sprint. The product backlog is a prioritized list of tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve your marketing objectives. Consider any changes or updates to the backlog, and prioritize the tasks based on their importance and urgency.
Step 2: Set Sprint Goals
With a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished, set specific sprint goals that align with your marketing objectives. Sprint goals should be specific, measurable, and achievable within the time frame of the sprint. Consider the workload of your team and the resources available, and set realistic goals that can be accomplished within the sprint.
Step 3: Identify Sprint Tasks
With clear sprint goals in place, it’s time to identify the specific tasks that need to be accomplished in order to meet these goals. Your prioritized backlog and your marketing roadmap serve as a basis for what to do next. During sprint planning the team creates a practical and realistic action plan for the next sprint.
Step 4: Assign Sprint Tasks
With a clear list of sprint tasks, it’s time to assign them to team members. Make sure each team member understands their responsibilities and has the necessary resources to complete their tasks. At the end of sprint planning, the whole team commits to the plan. It is always the whole team that is responsible for the sprint outcome and never a single team member.
Step 5: Review and Adjust Regularly
Review and adjust your sprint plan as needed during the sprint. Your sprint goals are not open for discussion, but the single tasks on how to achieve your goals may be changing during the sprint. Consider using daily standups (time-boxed to 15 minutes) to reflect on your team’s progress and make adjustments to the sprint plan as needed. Here each team member reports on their progress and any blockers they are facing. The daily stand-up helps to keep the team focused and ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Hold sprint retrospectives
At the end of each sprint, the team should hold a sprint retrospective, where they reflect on the sprint and discuss what went well, what didn’t go well, and what could be improved for the next sprint. Furthermore try experiments. You can try different approaches for a few sprints and reflect in an upcoming retrospective, if they worked for you. This helps the team to continuously improve and make changes to their processes and workflows.
Dealing with “I need that now” Requirements
In marketing, there are often requirements or requests that come in at the last minute and need to be done immediately. This can conflict with the planning and prioritization approach of Scrum. To deal with this, the following steps can be taken:
Evaluate the requirement
The first step is to evaluate the requirement and understand its importance and impact on the current sprint or future sprints.
Re-prioritize the backlog
If the requirement is deemed important and has a significant impact, the sprint backlog should be re-prioritized to accommodate it. This may mean that some lower-priority tasks or initiatives need to be put on hold or deferred to a future sprint. This is never the decision of a single team member but always of the team, as the team is responsible for the outcome of the sprint.
Communicate with stakeholders
It is essential to communicate with stakeholders and explain why the change is necessary and what the impact will be on the current sprint and future sprints. This helps to manage expectations and ensures that everyone is aware of the changes.
Scrum can be an effective framework for managing marketing projects, but it may require some adaptations to fit the needs of marketing teams.
By prioritizing work, regularly reviewing progress, and adapting to changing circumstances, marketing teams can use Scrum to deliver high-quality marketing activities and drive business results.