So Happy Together - How Agile Can Align Marketing and Development

May 9, 2012 Anjan Upadya

In a recent blog post on Digiday, Joe Lozito suggests an interesting paradigm shift about how Marketers need to think like Developers. He contests that, "Any kind of digital marketing execution — from an online banner to a mobile app to a Facebook page to a transactional, e-commerce website — is software development...". He talks about Agile and how it could potentially solve an age old dilemma.

Agile is an umbrella term of software development methodologies that at the heart of it relies and thrives on an iterative process with short time-boxed intervals. The idea is to allow teams to adapt to changing needs. It also allows the organization as a whole to adapt and course correct as often as needed and feasible.

Given the above, it is very likely that if Marketing and Development follow the same iterative cycle, their goals are more likely to align. The framework of agile by itself will allow for disconnects to surface and prevent the usually known heartaches.

How We Do It at SproutLoud

Here at SproutLoud, we were lucky enough to have the whole executive team buy into the concept of AGILE. This has allowed us to trickle the framework into every department. What we found that as a whole it aligned us better as a company and led to much fewer wasted resources. When marketing takes on a project, we talk about it in a planning meeting and explore the options together. Once a backlog item has been created by the stakeholders in marketing, the development team picks it up in their next sprint. Surprises are less as the developers/designers are already expecting the backlog item and have a good idea of what it means.

During the sprint cycle, there are constant meetings and updates from either side to avoid any surprises or disconnects. At the end, both parties are happy to deliver something that is aligned with the overall marketing goal. The retrospectives at the end of a sprint are key to avoid future mistakes and also highlight the good points so they can be preserved for future sprints.

Another good point of having AGILE has been that developers/designers have more of an appreciation of the ever changing marketing challenges/landscapes and marketing appreciates what it takes to get a concept to reality. The 2 weeks of a sprint act as a good vetting period of concepts and then allow us to continue or abandon ideas that don't work.

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