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Agile Marketing Playbook Part 3:

Agile Tactics. Processes and Data-driven Decision Making.

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So you’ve chosen your team, held your Big Room Planning meeting and defined your Horizon Goals and Roadmap.

The next step is making your plans happen. Part three of our Agile Marketing Playbook takes you through the tactical processes, like sprint planning and data-driven decision making, that underpin the principles of small incremental gains and continual improvement in the agile marketing system.

Breaking Down your Roadmap

Themes and Initiatives

To get started, you’ll need to divide up your big picture Roadmap into a few key Themes.

A Theme is a long-term goal for the organisation which teams can use as inspiration when putting together agile Epics and Initiatives. They help teams understand how their own tasks relate to the overall company’s strategy. It could be that one of the Roadmap’s objectives is to launch a new brand or product. Within that, you may have one Theme related to your new brand’s identity. Another Theme might be to do with what you’re planning on doing with your new brand’s marketing communications. Initiatives are milestones that a team needs to achieve within a specific timeframe, to support the theme.

Epics and Stories

To turn your strategy into action, you’ll need to break down the Theme(s) into Epics, which are like mini strategic plans. Each Epic will then need to be split into Customer Stories. An Epic is typically a work programme that lasts around three months. Within each Epic are agreed milestones that meet the overall goal. 

Customer Stories are a series of short, simple descriptions of the marketing outputs required in the epic, told from the customer’s perspective, detailing tasks, timescales and outcomes. These stories are customer-centric, streamlined and very focused without getting bogged down in unnecessary detail. Keeping things short and simple means that priorities can be shifted and new features or ideas can be added.

How to Stay Agile

1. Sprint Planning

Agile Sprint Planning enables you to plan your work so you can streamline your processes and stick to your deadlines. Epics will usually require work covering several sprints, and can be broken down into Stories – the smaller, short term tasks that can be completed within a single Sprint. A Sprint includes the tactical and analytical tasks that support the goals and themes established by Big Room Planning.

On the first day of a new Sprint, you’ll want to kick things off with a Sprint Planning session. This will help give your team a shared understanding of the work (the Stories to be completed) on that Sprint as well as how to approach that work. A Scrum Master will facilitate Sprint Planning to make sure everyone’s on the same page in terms of agreeing the scope of the sprint goal and tasks, checking team availability/capacity, resources, deciding who does what, plus also how everyone feels about meeting the spring goal.

Following the Sprint Planning, it’s a good idea to set up regular fortnightly collaborative planning sessions to check the team’s progress during the Sprint. As well as this, you can keep on top of things by encouraging all team members to use collaborative working tools such as Slack or Trello.

2. Data-driven decisions

To stay truly agile, you’ll need to be on top of your data.

At the beginning, when you set your overall goals as part of your Big Room Planning, you knew where you wanted to end up. But what if the route you intended to take there wasn’t panning out quite as you expected? You’ll almost certainly need a flexible and open-minded approach as to how to reach your intended outcome – you may well have to adapt your original tactics to reach those goals. You’ll want to anticipate any issues and take action in real time. The way to do this is to embrace data-driven decisions based on facts, metrics, and data which will help you make strategic business decisions that align with your company’s goals, objectives, and initiatives.

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