The Minimalist Guide for Using Scrum to Assist Your Agile Marketing Team
The role of a Scrum Master means to serve and to lead the Scrum Team, to collaborate with the team, the Product Owner, and the rest of the company, and to ensure that everybody is working according to the Scrum method.
The Scrum Master teaches the team, the Product owner, and the company about Scrum and the sprints, ensuring that all actions are performed correctly and that the backlog is managed accordingly. Scrum master should be “a quality control” for the Scrum process.
If your organization has a certified Scrum Master, maybe you can ask him/her to explain you how this role functions. Marketers may argue that the Scrum Master role is less crucial for their work, (considering the backlog items and the sprint prioritization), but if they monitor critically the Scrum process itself, they’ll conclude that the Scrum Master is very important.
Nobody will honestly admit that Sprint planning meetings are not successful. If you are not completing the right projects at the right time, you won’t be able to suggest ways to make changes for improvement. For marketing purposes you can use a real Scrum Master until the marketing team gets familiar enough with the Scrum process to take on this methodology.
Agile marketing powered by Scrum
The Scrum methodology can be applied to the agile marketing teams, only by minor changes. If you understand and know your team’s capabilities and overall personality, you will be able to use Scrum in marketing campaigns.
More of the agile practices have their origin in the software development, so it’s important to get what works and to leave the other. If you try to apply everything completely you can get frustrated and lower your success.
How to compose Scrum teams for marketing
You’ll need to make several significant changes to make Scrum work for marketing. The teams should choose by themselves how to finish their tasks, and not to be led by others (outside the team). Members from different areas should work together in order to accomplish the work without depending on people who are not part of the team. The Scrum Team model provides a flexible, creative, and productive way to finish the work. Marketing teams, could be well self-organizing, but are not as self-directed as the software teams.
Marketers are probably closer to the management (in some way) and don’t really need a Scrum Master or Product Owner to work smoothly and keep them from being hindered.
Product owner role in the marketing environment
In the software development, the Product Owner is responsible for the Product Backlog, so he takes care for the list of updates/changes to the software that need to happen at some future sprint. The product owner ensures that the backlog is complete, that the team members understand the tasks in, and that the tasks that are chosen from the list are of required priority. The product Backlog, cannot be changed by anyone, except the Product Owner.
This role can also be used in marketing, but the strictness of the Product Owner’s control over the backlog is more relaxed for marketers. As guidance, there are a lot more items that can be put in a marketing backlog, and more people should fill the backlog in its construction. If you have a single Product Owner, then your team composition is well done.
Scrum marketing teams
The marketers can compose their Scrum team on different ways, trying and realizing that different personality types of these two departments mean that their teams won’t work the same ways. Marketing teams are already self-organizing and are made up of more extroverts than a typical development team.
Marketers usually self-conduct the projects, and most marketers already have the priority of tasks within their schedule (by default). This can turn a marketing department into a Scrum team in a pretty smooth transition.
The main characteristics and the team size
Some characteristics of the Scrum development team can easily be adapted to satisfy the marketers:
- The self-organization of the teams; no one (not even the Scrum Master) tells the team how to turn Backlog items into releasable features. This applies to marketers as well.
- Development Teams are cross-functional, with all of the skills, since the team needs that to create a product increment. The same applies for the marketing teams.
- For the development team members – Scrum assigns the role of Developer, regardless of the work being performed by the person; this rule is mandatory. This is unlikely to be done in marketing projects – they will certainly assign multiple roles.
Scrum Development Teams are usually composed by 4-9 people; if you have larger teams – you’ll need to split them up into other teams because there’s too much coordination required. The Scrum Master and the Product Owner don’t belong within these numbers unless they’re also working on backlog items. Breaking the team up into multiple Scrum Teams should not be a problem, and may even help to define each team’s focus and improve the quality of its work.