Marketers are already in too many meetings; why should they keep up with some ridiculous Agile thing that just takes up space on their calendar?
Spinning up new Agile marketing teams comes with a host of challenges. We need to adapt existing frameworks to apply to our particular challenges, the existing team structure is rarely conducive to agility, and we almost never have a dedicated Scrum Master-like role.
The first two issues become obvious pretty quickly, and many teams take steps to address them before they begin work.
The final problem, however, tends to go unaddressed. In the midst of a flurry of change, who has time to hire or appoint someone to spend most of their time managing a process that’s supposed to create self-organizing teams?
There’s obviously a whole lot more we could unpack within this problem, but here I want to concentrate on the impact this lack of a dedicated Agile champion has on the all-important retrospective meeting.
Without someone who’s specifically tasked with leading retrospectives for a new Agile marketing team, they tend to go something like this:
Traditional manager: “So, how’s everybody feeling? What do you think about this last sprint?”
Agile marketing team members: nod heads “Ya...good.”
Traditional manager: “Ok great. See you all at sprint planning.”
It’s even worse if teams are distributed, because you might not even be able to see your teammates’ head nods. Marketers are already in too many meetings; why should they keep up with some ridiculous Agile thing that just takes up space on their calendar?
As you can imagine, this kind of meeting quickly gets dropped.
Of course, dropping the retrospective or allowing it to limp along in this sad state is a sure fire recipe for failure. Even if you can’t hire a full time Agile Lead or Scrum Master, there are ways to maintain rigor around your retro.
Whatever framework we use, and whatever team structure we implement, Agile marketers are always working through the process of translation. The original Agile practices don’t always work for us, so we’ve got to be ready to evolve them.
Without an effective, rigorous retrospective meeting, this continuous evolution simply can’t happen.
Even if there’s no budget (or time, or space, or whatever) to bring on a full-time Scrum Master or coach, find ways to make your retrospectives rigorous. Perhaps more than any other, this meeting can determine whether Agile marketing flies or fails.
Fast feedback loops and effective retrospectives can improve software delivery and make life easier for developers, project managers, and organizational leaders. On the other hand, bad feedback loops and retros can lead to frustration and lack of motivation.
Facilitation is everywhere. The crossing guard facilitates safe and easy travel of children across the street. The doula facilitates an easier birth for the birthing person. Teachers facilitate learning. Everywhere we look, we see the helpers. Those trying to make things easier.
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe … the “e” means nothing…) is the industry leading framework for scaling agile in a business or business unit. It’s used by some pretty big names like CVS, American Express, and FedEx.