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Improve Your Team Collaboration With These 4 Agile Marketing Strategies

Marketing teams often struggle to collaborate effectively. Here’s how to fix it.

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BY Garrett Moon - 19 Feb 2019

improve team collaboration

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Most marketing teams struggle to collaborate effectively. Often because too much time is spent on planning meetings, tracking down status updates and drowning in work that doesn't affect the bottom line.

This lack of strategy, team collaboration and communication is one of the biggest reasons projects fail. In fact, 86 percent of employees and executives cite ineffective communication as the main contributor to project failures.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not impossible to improve collaboration, streamline communication and elevate results.

Enter Agile Marketing, a project management framework that borrows the principles of agile software development which enables teams to hit ship dates under budget more consistently. Here's how Agile Marketing does it:

Daily Scrums for Improved Communication

Daily scrums are meetings that take place every morning. Team members gather for a quick meeting to discuss the following three questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. Any roadblocks?

The daily scrum is an easy element of Agile to implement and a good place to start if you're not ready to do a full Agile overhaul. If your team is plagued by communication hurdles -- try it for a few weeks. Teams find that it sparks the right conversations breaks down silos.

The Self-Organizing Team

Agile teams should have the freedom to accomplish their own KPIs.

Delegation is one of the cornerstones of Agile. Marketing Managers steering an Agile ship must trust their team to decide what path they will take to accomplish their goal.

The Agile goal doesn't spell out tactics. Each team member is in total control of finding a way to reach their goal.

This is different from traditional project management where the marketing manager owns the problem, solution, and result. In this traditional approach, team members are only responsible for checking off their individual tasks.

This part of Agile might sounds a little intimidating to the average marketing manager. But, remember this:

Turning your team members task executing zombies under-utilizes their talent. Your team is smart and they want to take ownership. When you give them a goal and the freedom to use their skills, you give them room to grow and thrive.

Need further convincing? According to research done by ReportLinker, 83 percent of employees say they are more likely to stay with an organization that presents them with opportunities to conquer new challenges.

Plus, you'll have your daily scrum meetings to make sure everyone is moving in the right direction.

Adopt User Stories for Better Goal Setting

A true Agile marketing goal should mirror something called a user story.

To illustrate, here's an example of an Agile user story used at CoSchedule, "As a {CoSchedule audience member}, I want to {learn how to management my marketing projects} so that I can {accomplish more in less time}."

This is a shift away from focusing on what tasks you're completing and towards what value you're creating for your audience - which also produces real business value.

Marketing teams often mistake activity for results. Success is too often measured in the number of blog posts written, social messages sent, or videos created. When the focus shifts to producing valuable things for potential customers, you also improve the ROI on your marketing activities.

Wrapping Up with a Retro

A sprint retrospective is essentially a larger version of the daily scrum meeting. It occurs at the end of every project as a way to sync and share insights about the outcome. To begin, three questions are asked:

  1. What went well?
  2. What went poorly?
  3. What can we improve?

It's the team's opportunity to highlight wins and uncover what aspects of the project should be repeated. Most importantly, these meetings also explore the mistakes and the things that can be improved for next time.

Agile teams are learning teams. They don't avoid mistakes - they assume that mistakes will happen, but they learn from them. Learning is prioritized over perfection, and every stumbling block makes for a better outcome next time.

Marketing teams have a tendency to be adverse to mistakes. We view missteps as something to be avoided at all costs.

This fear of failure results in red tape, bureaucracy and the very things that kill our productivity in the first place. Retro meetings should not be used as a way to prevent failures - but learn from them so they are not repeated.

Agile Marketing teams don't rely on complex strategies and 100-page marketing plans to guide them. They ship, learn and improve to hone their campaigns. Their office is a lab, conducting marketing experiments in real-time to learn what produces the best results.

Agile might seem a little radical, but marketing teams everywhere are using it to cure marketing collaboration woes and to produce great results.

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