“If you had to summarize all the major IT and marketing trends of 2013 into just six words, you could simply say, “There were a lot of changes.” And the five-word prediction for 2014? “There will be even more.””
This is why one of the most interesting trends from 2013 — and one that is poised to grow explosively in 2014 — is the adoption of agile management in the marketing department.
Everyone agrees that marketing needs to be agile today, at least in the sense of the adjective: nimble, able to move quickly and easily. But agile marketing isn’t an aspiration. It’s actually a relatively well-defined management methodology that began in software development circles back in the 1990s and has recently been adapted to serve the needs of marketers.
The essence of agile management is straightforward and rests on three main ideas:
First, instead of defining rigid and detailed quarterly or yearly plans, agile handles planning in a more iterative and adaptive manner. Agile breaks down work into bite-sized “sprints” that last for one to four weeks each.
Second, agile enables transparency. Everyone can see what is planned for the current sprint, what’s complete, what’s in progress and who’s working on it, as well as the backlog of priorities — what is queued up to be tackled in subsequent sprints.
Third, agile emphasizes small, cross-functional teams. Teams are often composed of individuals who cross traditional organizational silos and focus on the collective work of the team as much as their own speciality. Daily stand-up meetings among the team keep them in sync and quickly identify any bottlenecks or impediments.
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Agile is not a state of mind, but a process that stresses efficiency, quickness and collaboration. It is defined and consistent, not ephemeral. And by the way…it works.
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