Managing Marketing Projects in an Agile Development World

Forrester surveyed businesses in 2006 and found that less than half of them had even heard of Agile process.   In 2010, the adoption rate of Agile is skyrocketing.  A process with a credo of “people over process” can’t be a bad thing.   Could it?

Deep down, most of us marketing folk don’t much care how the coding side of our projects get done, as long as they’re delivered on time, and the way we wanted it.  Yeah, we’ve got our buddies in IT – sometimes they even keep us in the loop while they’re doing their stuff.  But by and large, we compile requirements, place an order and, after some alchemy and a little time (or a lot of time), the IT department delivers a finished product to us.  

Next step is to bitch a little because it’s not exactly how we said we wanted it. That link type should have been a little bigger. And we thought that “submit” button would open a new window, but instead it accordions down. And we identified and asked for some changes mid-project, too, but they’re not in there. Something about “out of scope”.

When your IT group migrates to Agile – and it’s sometimes it’s more like a triumphal march than a migration – things get interesting. Whether you know it or not, your world has just changed.  

You were a customer – now you’re a collaborator. You waited and waited to see your vision come alive.  Now you’re birthin’ that baby every day.   You’re hearing phrases like “no, that’s waterfall” and “we’ll cover that in tomorrow’s scrum” and “Decide please, I’m writing this section of the code right now.”  Agile makes new demands – and some of those demands are on you.  You will have to be flexible in both time and focus.  You will have to think ahead, but also make decisions on the fly. Documentation may be thorough – but don’t bet your campaign budget on it. It takes a certain temperament to work in an agile environment.   Do you have it?

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