Agile Marketing Roles and Meetings

Agile Marketing Roles and Meetings

Agile Marketing Roles and Meetings
Agile Marketing Roles and Meetings
 


A successful Agile marketing team has two parts: the people on the team, and the formal ways the interact with each other. In other words, Agile marketing roles and ceremonies.Team structure and meetings are often overlooked during process optimization, but fine-tuning them both (and making sure they work well together) can be the key to creating a high performing team.
There can be no optimization without understanding, so here we’re going to dive into three things:      
  1. Who is on an Agile marketing team.     
  2. How they contribute to the team’s success.     
  3. The various meetings that help them do it. 
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Agile Marketing Roles

There are three kinds of roles on an Agile marketing team that we need to cover.  First, and most importantly, we need to understand the Agile marketing roles. Who are the actual members of the team, what are their responsibilities, and how do we set both individuals and the team up for success?  The second component of an Agile team is its leadership, which doesn’t work like traditional leadership AT ALL.  Agile leadership emphasizes a servant mindset, guiding rather than commanding, and tapping into the team’s abilities to find solutions.  Finally, we have Agile coaches. These are certainly unique to Agile teams; they’re a little analogous to traditional marketing consultants, but the expectations for their relationship with the team are quite different.

Flat Teams & Cross-Functionality

A commonly held ideal in Agile software development is that teams should be totally flat and completely cross-functional. This means all team members sit at the same place in the org chart and they all have the necessary skills to help with any project the team might be working on.  The former is often feasible in marketing, while the latter is pretty close to impossible.  In fact, Agile thought leaders like Mike Cohn have begun to strenuously argue against the idea of pure cross functionality.

“specialists can exist on high-performing agile teams. But, it is the multi-skilled team members who allow that to be possible…These individuals can smooth out the workload when a team needs to do more or less of a particular type of work in an iteration.” 

Agile marketing teams can strive for this kind of diversity on their teams, allowing specialists to shine while relying on multi-skilled team members to keep things flowing. (Learn more about the various stages of cross-functionality here.)  When it comes to creating flat teams, it’s usually a matter of changing titles rather than trying to change skill sets. This may be easier, or it may be exponentially more difficult depending on what your current org chart looks like.  Scott Brinker offers this example of an Agile marketing team in his book Hacking Marketing:
You can see that there’s really only one leader, whose role we’ll go into more in the next section.  This structure can work well in smaller departments, but once you get past 10 or 12 team members you will need some secondary layer of leadership.  The Spotify model can be useful in these cases:
Here each Squad has a leader who makes sure they’re doing the right work at the right time, but there are also Chapter leads. Chapters are groups of people doing the same kind of work, e.g. content marketing or demand generation.  A Chapter lead conducts the reviews for all the Chapter members and helps them continue to advance their skills; these leads act much more like a traditional manager, except they don’t tell their reports what to do from day to day.  There’s no single solution that delivers flat cross functionality in every Agile marketing team. Be prepared to iterate and adjust until you find the right configuration for you.  For more on Agile marketing leadership and ceremonies, check out the rest of this article on AgileSherpas.com. 

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                                              Andrea Fryrear
About:
Years ago I was leading content marketing for a SaaS company, and my team was drowning. We couldn't keep up with the agile software development team, and I was tired of running from fire to fire. I convinced my boss to let me transform our marketing team into a proper agile marketing team, and I've been hooked ever since.   
 
After I wrote and spoke about that first transformation, I quickly began fielding requests from my fellow marketers to help them do the same. Eventually I left brand-side employment to co-found AgileSherpas and work full-time to transform the way marketers everywhere get work done.   
Since AgileSherpas was founded in 2017 we've helped over 2,500 marketers at dozens of organizations to move from high stress to high performance. We offer certifications in Agile Marketing Fundamentals (ICP-MKG) and Agile Marketing Leadership (ICP-LEA), as well as organizational design consulting for marketing leaders who want to recreate their teams from the ground up. 
 
Our experienced coaches guide new agile marketing teams through the early days of their journey and train internal agile leaders to help the changes stick. More details on how we work with marketing organizations is available here: https://www.agilesherpas.com/training-services/  Most recently I've published my second book, Mastering Marketing Agility (masteringmarketingagility.com), which distills the learnings from 5 years of working with agile marketing teams into an entirely new framework called Rimarketing. 
 
The book shows you exactly how we implement this system with the teams we work with at AgileSherpas, offering a detailed roadmap for marketers looking for a better way to get things done.   At this point I'm pretty much a professional agile marketing nerd, so if you're looking for someone to talk about marketing agility in any capacity, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'm an international keynote speaker and frequent webinar and podcast guest.

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