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MKT vs DEV
Romek Jansen, 28 Jan '16

Three Agile Marketing Tweaks to Improve The Daily Stand-Up

In Agile Marketing, the “Daily Stand-Up” is not always done daily, and not always done standing up. But how do Agile marketers meet?

Business leaders say that operational agility is one of the pillars of future business success.

85% of the marketing managers either already adopted some form of Agile, or is actively investigating the possibilities.

Where Agile development has proven and fine-tuned itself over the last decade, Agile marketers are still in the middle of tweaking the agile concepts to make it fit their specific needs.

We identified 6 fundamental differences between the nature of Agile Marketing and Agile Development. We already published blogs about the Definition-of-Success, suggested an alternative perspective for the user story and put a limit to the number of teams Agile marketers should participate in. In this blog post it’s time to discuss the “Daily Stand-up”.

Get up, Stand up…

An important routine in Agile is the daily Stand-up meeting, or Scrum meeting. Both names are used interchangeably. In this meeting it is discussed which obstacles are preventing single team members from making progress. There are only three simple agenda points;

• What I did yesterday

• What I’ll do today

• Which issues are blocking my progress

In Agile development teams, this meeting is usually held every day, at the same location, at the same time in the morning. The duration is limited to 15 minutes to keep it short and relevant.

In Agile marketing the daily stand-up often looks quite a bit different.

Not every day. Not standing up.

The scrum meeting of marketers differs in multiple ways.

1. Location: Agile marketers often do their scrum meeting online. Because of the dispersity of team members or the dependency on external agency resources, it’s often not possible to meet at the same physical location every single day. Doing a scheduled scrum meeting online is an acceptable alternative for most teams. However, it is recommended to do the first meeting together standing–up, circle style. Especially if the team is operating in a new constellation.

2. Frequency: Agile marketers often don’t meet every single day. Marketers can be in multiple Sprint teams in parallel, with a recommended maximum of 6 teams. Having daily meetings for all teams results in a logistical nightmare and would take almost as long as actually working on Sprint deliverables. The main reason to have a scrum meeting is to synchronize with your team members and check progress. Too many progress meetings per day will definitely jeopardize progress. Therefore Agile marketers can decide to do 2 or 3 scrum meetings per week per team, without damaging the agile principles and advantages.

3. Market focus: Some Agile marketers added a fourth agenda point to the scrum meeting. Besides the earlier agreed three agenda points, Agile marketers expressed the need to add “Which new market developments influence this sprint’s results”. Marketers cannot operate in complete isolation from the market, just focusing on delivering the Sprint.

In summary:

  • In development the daily meeting is normally done as a “stand-up” in a circle in a room.
  • In marketing it is not always possible to do the “daily stand-up” on a daily basis due to the amount of parallel Sprints. The daily Stand-up sometimes isn’t even done standing up. It can be a web meeting having external suppliers joining in. A fourth agenda point is added to constantly keep a market focus.

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This is article #4 from the series “6 Fundamental Differences Between Agile Development and Agile Marketing”.

There are some fundamental differences between how software development teams are run and how marketing teams are managed. As a result, not all agile software development routines can simply be copy & pasted from Software to Marketing and remain relevant. In some areas there is a match made in heaven, in some other areas there will never be a match. And in yet other areas it needs tweaking to become useful for marketing too.

A special thanks goes out to Gidion Peters from Scrumcompany.nl. His down-to-earth and practical comments helped us to sharpen our Agile Marketing thoughts.

Read other articles from the series here

#1 How to Define Agile Marketing Success

#2 Maximize the Agile Marketing Effect; Tweak the User Story

#3 Hey Agile Marketer, How Many Teams Are You In?

#5 How to Allocate Budgets in an Agile World

#6 How to Estimate in Agile Marketing