Agile is a work methodology based on an iterative approach that helps teams deliver faster and better quality products.
It all started in Utha, where 17 people met to discuss the future of software development. So many innovations are born in the tech industry and then adopted by other industries, Agile isn’t a stranger to that.
This article will go over the Agile Methodology and how it applies to the Marketing Industry. Read further if you want to learn about:
What is Agile Methodology
The Agile Manifesto
Agile applied in Marketing
How & Why we use it in Sud Creative
The background story
It all started with the Software Industry: when the tech revolution was in its hype, people from the industry concluded that most of the time, teams focused on completing tickets and documenting their development cycles, and the end result was the loss of sight of what really mattered: the product the client wanted.
Most of the development companies used to work with a process known as Waterfall, where tasks were delivered from the higher rank to the lower, roadmaps were established, and the client wasn’t involved in any part of the process. As a result, they were found to have:
Low to no interest in the lower rank on the product they were creating. Most of the time, they focused on ending tasks but without a clear vision of how each feature impacted the final product.
The clients were never in the loop of the processes: most of the time happens that roadmaps go offside, and all the client was getting was a delayed notice, with little explanation on whys and no background on how that change in the timeline happened.
Another consequence was that developing and deploying a product took so much time that there was no more interest for the audience by the moment of the release, or the amount of Marketing work to get an audience was way off-budget.
It also happened quite often that it didn’t meet the client’s expectations by the time the product was finished. As a result, after months or even years of investing in a software product that didn’t suit the client’s needs, development teams often had to go on emergency measures –like starting from scratch.
Manifesto for Agile Software Development
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
Kent Beck, James Grenning, Robert C. Martin, Mike Beedle, Jim Highsmith, Steve Mellor, Arie van Bennekum, Andrew Hunt, Ken Schwaber, Alistar Cockburn, Rob Jeffries, Jeff Sutherland, Ward Cunningham, Jon Kren, Dave Thomas, Martin Fowler, Brian Marick
Individual and Interaction over Processes and Tools
Agile is a set of business practices that lets companies make better and faster decisions. More than a methodology for developing projects, it’s a philosophy and a teamwork mindset. It involves a different way of working.
In the Agile Methodology, each project is divided into small parts that must be completed and delivered within a few weeks from each other. The goal behind this is to develop quality products and services and quickly adapt to the clients’ ever-changing needs.
The team is one of the Agile main features. Each person has a task assigned and is part of the team for a reason. With this approach and the set of meetings we’re about to talk about, we find a cycle that allows teams to deliver higher quality work at a faster speed instead of a waterfall process.
Some popular names on an Agile team are Scrum Master, Project Owner, Project Manager, Engineer Master.
Collaboration Over Negotiation
These are some of the key collaboration tools used to check team progress:
Team members attend a 15-minute daily meeting held by the leader. Each member shares the progress done since the last meeting and discusses the blocks they’ve had.
This tool is used to organize and categorize tasks, depending on their importance and stage.
Key Stakeholders meetings
To avoid one of the industry’s main problems: clients not being part of the development process, Agile came up with these meetings, where the person responsible for dealing with the client meets with them, gathers relevant information, and requests feedback on the progression of the product.
An agile team’s objective is to deliver a viable product (either in the form of a new project or improvements to an existing one) within every sprint. When each sprint is about to begin, the team gets together and plans to get to the next release.
Sprint planning meetings typically consist of two parts – the first addresses what the team will accomplish during the sprint; the second is how they’ll do it.
Cascading to the Marketing Industry
A Marketing team does not have the same bone requirements as a Dev Team. Most of the time, the people involved in each industry have different mindsets and are moved by interests and goals that little have to do with the other.
So, how does this set of rules and organization fits in a creative team that works on a high-delivery system and is required to have a humanistic background to understand the audience they are trying to reach?
We are faced with similar situations when the working methodology is Waterfall, and the team has to obey whatever the Leader commands:
The lower ranks are not aware of the impact of what they are doing, and that can’t be good if it’s the person moving social media (so many times we’re faced with a DM asking questions on the company and the person who needs to respond, has no idea on what to say! But, of course, that ends on an escaping problem and a prospect without a clear answer).
Each team member is working on their niche. This is most harmful to a marketing project. Just imagine a designer working with their own set of rules, creating whatever is appealing to their eyes and not for the brand, not working in alignment with the campaign’s goals.
Creating a campaign takes time, money, and the whole team’s energy. Once it’s completed and showcased to the client, they might not like it if they were not involved in the process. It might not be what they expected. And as a result, the team would need to go back and either set emergency strategies or start from scratch.
To that, we can add that budget and time are always tighter for the Marketing Department. This is because most of the campaigns need to be done for yesterday.
Working with the Agile methodology allows the Marketing team to get involved, work in synchrony with every department, be aligned with the full strategy of each campaign, and have constant feedback from the client.
These are the four main advantages of working in an agile environment:
1. Improve quality: Minimize errors in deliverables and improve customer experience and functionality.
2. Greater commitment: Improves employee satisfaction and generates team awareness.
3. Speed: It shortens production cycles and minimizes reaction and decision-making times.
4. Increase in productivity: By allocating resources better and in a more dynamic way, Agile improves production according to the company’s priorities.
This is how we do it.
At Sud Creative, we are firm believers that working with Agile methodologies brings great results. We are all connected via various management tools with real-time access to our client projects, dashboards, and team progress as a remote collaboration team.
The client’s input and validation are most important for us: we consider our clients’ partners. We hold periodic team meetings: both planning and retros, where we go over what we want to congratulate and what needs to improve. Each team member is kept in the look of what’s going on and metrics our north.
Now, there’s a reason why the name of our agency is Sud, which means “South”: the north might mean strategy, goals, and achievement. But as a creative agency, we need the chaos from the south. Agile allows us to create, innovate, and present different solutions to our partners, but within an organized environment that doesn’t allow us to get lost in the chaos.