A Guide to Agile Workforce Strategies in Marketing

March 6, 2024

As layoffs continue to impact the workforce and staff augmentation becomes the norm, adapting agile strategies is going to be key for work management in marketing.

Whether you’re working with individual freelancers, coordinating across different time zones, or bringing together multiple functions for collaboration—you need to set up an agile system for everyone to follow.

According to Nick Faulkner, ex-Vice President of Services and Solutions/Sales Engineering at Influitive, “the key with agile is the visibility that the internal team gets on the work they are doing.”

Agile methodology is a project management framework that breaks projects into phases and emphasizes continuous collaboration and improvement. No matter the project management software you use, it is this framework itself that will keep the work on track. Initially utilized for managing engineering teams, you’ll find that modulating the framework to your team requirements can achieve similar success.

Here are three agile techniques to consider for your marketing team to offset the impact of staff augmentation.

1. Kanban: showcasing progress.

As an agile expert and leader who introduced agile to multiple teams at Influitive, Nick shares that if you’re new to agile, Kanban is the first framework you’ll want to adopt for creating work visibility. “With Kanban you can at a glance see what they are currently working on and how their work is progressing to completion.”

Based on the framework of “pulling” tasks from backlog for continuous work, Kanban is ideal for showcasing the progress in real-time for large teams—especially when working with individual freelancer members.

Kanban helps you manage the work tasks and its allocation for team members, making it ideal for teams with multi-disciplinary functions, clients, and projects.

In essence, your Kanban Board is the accumulation of all work assigned for ongoing and future projects across different stakeholders. In one glance, you can view what is currently in progress and what is blocked. As a manager, this allows for increased efficiency for problem-solving as you go.

2. Daily standup: creating alignment.

An agile technique that’s part of SCRUM, daily standups are great for teams with full-time members working remotely across the globe.

If your team includes part-time/contract employees, keep in mind that the daily commitment may not work for them.

At the start of their workday, each member identifies their key task/focus for the day, current blockers, and what they worked on the day before. This 5-min activity, whilst originally done through morning meetings can just as easily be deployed through a Slack automated message. With a full view of all blockers in one place, you can prioritize problem-solving in order of importance and impact.

“With standups you get that regular check in each day that helps align everyone on priorities, what they are working on and highlights any blockers that the external staff may have that requires someone internal to unblock,” shares Nick talking about why daily standups should be the second framework you adapt as part of agile introduction to your team.

3. Retrospectives: problem-solving together.

You just finished a big campaign. Congratulations!

Project completions are a moment of celebration, but with agile retrospectives, these are also a moment of learning and an opportunity for improvement—individually and collectively.

A retrospective whilst typically associated with a sprint, can also be applied to specific projects in marketing, like campaign completion. Aiming to determine what went well, what was an issue, and what could be improved, all without naming or calling out anyone specific, it offers a safe space for feedback and voicing opinions.

“Adding in regular retros will help identify what issues are being faced by the team, and will help them work together to resolve these problems—making the external team more effective. Ideally you’d like to include them in as much of the process as possible to remove redundant work and questions that could lead to blockers, especially if the team is in different time zones,” adds Nick talking about how you can leverage retrospectives to improve productivity and team harmony.

Nick Faulkner's pro-tip for leaders introducing agile to their team.

“I always like to start with some basic overall agile training, focusing on the history, where it came from and how it has evolved into what it is today. Often people hear agile and have an opinion already about what it is, good or bad. What most don’t understand is that agile is an umbrella term that describes different types of processes in how to approach team management and structure. It can take many forms and is extremely flexible. I describe agile as a toolbox that one has where you can pull out one or more tools to help address issues a team is having. Something as simple as adding regular retros as a feedback loop can be enough to help drive improvement within a team.”

A guide to agile workforce strategies in marketing

This is a guest blog by Srishty Khullar, member of the Advocacy Mavens Coalition.

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