Agility Is The Key

Lisa Farrow teaches what it means to execute agile marketing, scrum, and kanban during COVID-19

The MKG Podcast with Kerry Guard | Episode 23 | June 1, 2020

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Agility Is The Key

Overview

Lisa Farrow is a marketing agilist and project manager skilled in leading high productivity across teams.

Her mission- Assist teams of many industries in executing flexible plans using Agile frameworks. The goal is to move quickly and efficiently with the customers’ desires.

Disrupting the Plan

Whether a new competitor has risen up or a pandemic has struck, plans laid out months in advance don’t always align with the situation come time for execution. Agile was birthed out of software development around a decade ago, with the intention to shift how things are done. Other sectors, upon seeing the success among IT teams, have adopted similar processes. Agile is having the mindset that ‘things will change and that’s ok’; the teams must always keep the end customer in mind throughout a pivot or series of pivots. The process involves a consistent feedback loop and heavy iterating to secure trust and fidelity in the product; breaking down a large project into multiple manageable pieces. As opposed to the more traditional ‘waterfall’ approach, Agile starts at the end and evolves over time to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances.

Process

It all starts with the leadership; they must have faith in the teams to determine and execute the right ‘MVP’ (Lisa’s term for the desired, customer-approved outcome).

The most common frameworks under the Agile umbrella used by marketing teams are Scrum and Kanban; however, every team or organization makes adjustments, creates a hybrid that best suites its situation. It can be as complicated or as simple as the user likes. Scrum has a coach position and customer-fit position; they create a running list of goals they wish to accomplish in that quarter. The customer-fit position cross-references and creates a hierarchy of five things to focus on in a short timeframe (SPRINT).

The New Morning Meeting

For Lisa, utilizing daily checks (The Daily Stand-Up) ensures that the team is cohesive and in sync. Everyone must answer these three questions-

//”What did I do yesterday that aligns with the five initiatives?”//

//”What am I doing today that aligns with the five initiatives?”//

//”What are some of the blockers am I facing?”//

Allocating fifteen minutes in the morning, to make sure that the entire team is on the same page, is vital right now. While everyone is working remotely, accountability and transparency are crucial. Using this time to identify roadblocks and then “taking them offline”, or creating a separate problem-solving meeting to deal with the issue. At the end of each SPRINT, the team should come together to discuss what went well and what didn’t in a Retrospective; the whole team ‘owns’ the work rather than an individual, both in triumph and defeat.

Track the Flow (Kanban)

Kanban focuses on the workflow over a course of time. They are typically broken up into four columns- Backlog, Prioritized, In Progress, Done. The different items will move across the columns during the SPRINT and if done successfully, all reach the Done stage by the end of the work period. Many teams add a Review stage to make sure every piece receives a second viewing by a different pair of eyes. The team also analyzes the bandwidth to make sure that it doesn’t get overrun or jammed. Balancing the labor using “velocity” (ranking the difficulty of a task) can allow the team to determine bandwidth as well as potential pain points.

In Summary

During this unprecedented era, Lisa Farrow offers a rundown on Agile ways to adapt the workflow processes while we are all working remotely. This was only a high-level overview of our conversation with Lisa Farrow. Be sure to listen to the whole episode.

See you next week for the Season 3 finale!

Links:

AgileSherpas

Sutherland - Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Lisa Farrow

Lisa Farrow is a marketing agilist and project manager skilled in leading high productivity across teams.