In digital marketing, inbound marketing and Agile go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, switching project management methodologies – or even formalizing one for the first time – can be a complicated undertaking.
When something as important as the amazing benefits of Agile are on the line, you want to be sure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s. If you have a disastrous first Agile experience, your whole organization might run the other way.
Luckily, there are ways to get it done right and highlight how Agile excels.
Veterans of the quest to introduce inbound marketing to an enterprise are in a good position to tackle this challenge. So are people with project management experience. If you’re a PM, you’ll find Agile incorporates familiar best practices but executes with flexibility and creativity.
Let’s get down to brass tacks and look at the best way to bring Agile to your workplace.
Should I Go With Top-Down or Bottom Up?
Hey – if you’ve got an executive sponsor for Agile marketing, that’s great!
A top-down approach can be useful when it overcomes some initial resistance ... not to mention inertia. Reaching the end goal this way is almost always faster, because you can call on additional resources (not to mention social expectations.)
In most cases, though, introducing Agile is a bottom-up undertaking – and that’s okay.
Although it may take longer, it can lead to a higher level of commitment and alignment.
Here’s how you can get that done:
Sell the Benefits to Your Team Members
For most employees, the top benefit of Agile is that workflow is more consistent, since processes behind it are predictable. This leads to less downtime and makes it easier to prioritize – instead of spending long periods waiting around until an “emergency” breaks out. You’ll also be able to point to less rework, greater control over individual work tasks, and better client outcomes.
Use Influence Within the Team
Experienced PMs know there are limits to the kind of demands you can place on a team. Soft power is usually more effective than “authority,” and people are more likely to adopt something they helped create. With that in mind, make Agile introduction a collaborative process. By helping structure the roll-out and which practices are adopted, teammates can buy in sooner.
Be Judicious With Jargon
In any project management framework, it’s important all stakeholders share a vocabulary. Still, there’s a limit to how useful hyper-specific Agile jargon can be, especially if you need to pitch it to upper management. Like any marketer, you should laser focus on your audience: That means emphasizing the benefits Agile marketing can offer them, not the process.
How Fast Can I Get Agile Marketing Implemented?
How long is a piece of string?
People are usually resistant to change, even if they can clearly see the benefits down the road. With that in mind, it’s usually a good idea to let teams dip their toes in the water and implement Agile marketing as a long-term process rather than transforming overnight.
Change management is an art and science onto itself, but remember these tips:
Pick the Best Stuff First
Instead of thinking of Agile as a bunch of stuff that needs to be “introduced” to your team, like a newly-adopted puppy meeting your three cats, look at each element of Agile as a holiday present waiting to be unwrapped – and start with the ones that are most exciting. For example, it’s easy to get used to a simple Kanban board, less so to start off with a project sprint.
Pick Resilient, Data-Driven Team Members
A marketing team thrives on creativity. In a digital agency, most marketers will be familiar with data-focused analysis. Still, that doesn’t mean everyone is an ideal Agile marketing pioneer. Natural candidates for an Agile pilot project sees data as a partner, not something that “cramps their style” – and they aren’t afraid to face setbacks and engage in experimentation.
Remember To Market Internally
Even if you’re launching Agile marketing all on your own, you’ll need buy-in throughout the organization sooner or later. Don’t wait until every process is perfected to start laying down the foundation for widespread adoption. Evangelize your successes: Even small steps forward are an improvement over the status quo. This helps ensure your efforts will be supported in the future.
Any kind of major change management campaign comes with ups and downs. Still, most digital agencies can bring their work to the next level using Agile. Plus, the majority of team members adapt very quickly – and those who don’t are often convinced easily by success.
At BluLeadz, Agile has been part of the not-so-secret recipe that empowers our team to deliver awesome work. We hope it’ll help you do the same!