SCRUM for Marketing

Responding to someone named Dmitry Beransky on SCRUM Development Yahoo Group made me realize that you can use SCRUM pretty much for any of the field. His specific question was regarding how to use it for marketing. Here is what I wrote:

  1. Identify the business goals marketing team would have to meet within a set period – say 06 months [remember the goal should be something like increase the leads inflow by 25%, increase brand awareness in Europe, reduce marketing overhead per dollar of profit by 4% etc etc and not attend 10 trade fairs and write 50 sales flyers]. Prioritize these goals. The Marketing VP/ Head can act as a Product Owner for this.
  2. The second step would probably be very critical. You will need to break down the goals to achievable steps. You will not probably increase leads flow by 25% in one sprint of six weeks [ideal sprint length]. So you need to break it down to something like 4-5% depending on what you think is achievable. Similarly, do it for the rest of goals. Marketing teams generally need to be very responsive and hence, shorter sprint length would be advisable. However, the marketing results typically take longer to appear – hence, longer sprint length would be advisable from that perspective. Focusing on a suitable sprint length will help you focus on specific goals and allowing the team to aim for those uninterrupted.
  3. Divided goals go into specific sprints and now you need to divide goals into activities/ tasks, which will help attain the goal [write flyers, attend fairs, make online presence and what all]. The only difference in getting these sprint tasks is that you might sometimes need to do a planning of 3-4 sprints in advance [fairs might need a stall booking 4 months in advance and getting microsites built might take about two sprints as well]. It is probable that the product owner who can be the marketing VP or similar person sits down with the team dividing the goals into specific activities. Whether or not he assists the team while maintaining their self functioning/ organizing skills, is something the SCRUM Master would need to see.
  4. You might have many distributed marketing offices. You might want to check out “distributed SCRUM” thread for more ideas on that.
  5. After 06 weeks or whatever your sprint length is, do a review and retrospective and start.
  6. One of the key things you might want to see/ keep a check on is the Marketing / Sales is usually a fiercely individualistic and competitive domain. Devising appropriate performance feedback/ results achieved metrics might be useful.

Of course the final advise as is with all the teams I work with – above are just some pointers. These are supposed to help you in making a suitable start for discussing this internally.

However, the above outlines the fact that implementing SCRUM in a non-software environment can be a very engaging experience and would be a great place to be a team, Product Owner and a SCRUM Master.

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