Tonight we held the first #sprintT hashtag event on Twitter. A small group, myself and one other. But from small acorns grow big oaks.
Tonight's question was "Q1: How are you managing your planning between sprints?"
Nicholas Walter was the one other participant, but what contributions, he provided a picture of a kanban board for the Pinterest agile marketing board, and made a suggestion for a marketing conference.
The book describes the process of how entrepreneurs use lean processes to develop their business idea planning and gives tips and a process on execution to test and grow their businesses.
Not only have the processes and templates described in the book been well tested by many entrepreneurs. But in this 2nd edition of the book every page gives value and careful tips.
My highlights are the lead canvas section in chapter 3; lean canvas is a tool for writing your business model succinctly, one that changes and evolves over time. Mr. Maurya even developed a business around the concept. I especially like the software’s ability to update the planning tool as the entrepreneur’s clarity around their product evolves.
I also liked the sections on interviewing customers in chapters 6 & 7. You find detailed instructions on what to do and why. The customer interview descriptions are to help identify the biggest problems for customers rather than what works or doesn't work for the company's product. The interview section include line by line examples of how the interviews were sought and conducted, using Mr. Maurya’s own company, Cloudfire.
I personally love how-to's, in that I don't just want an author to give me a theory, but also a case study of what works, you will find this section to be one of the most useful in the book, as Ash state's, he "promised a repeatable, actionable, process for building products." p.170. And Mr. Maurya’s book keeps its promises, you will gain ideas, processes, and value from this well executed book!
"digital world didn't happen overnight. It's been the progress of the evolving Internet for the past 20 years. But it's reached a tipping point where "online" no longer fits into a discrete box separate from our lives and our businesses. It's now infused into the very bedrock of our lives and our businesses.
I believe this leads to two transformational mandates that every organization must face:
1. Everything is marketing. 2. Everyone must be agile."
Scott also does a great job of explaining why, "our customers are now agile."
How customers experience brands today, across mulitiple channels, means that if a company provides content across those channels it is more likely to acquire and keep a customer. This process of optimizing marketing across integrated channels resembles, "iterative loops of agile sprints," as Scott suggests.
Agile then is one process that can give marketers the tools and processes they need to keep up with their current reality.
Nick Muldoon wrote a great blog post on his thoughts about the SprintZero: Physics of agile marketing June event in San Francisco. I was going to write a comment on Nick's blog, in answer to several points he raised, but as my comment expanded so much I thought I’d write a post.
Why Agile Marketing Manifestos?
Here goes. Nick, I'm not entirely sure why other departments are adopting agile practices without having to think about a new manifesto for their own discipline.
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
Quickly we see one of those values isn't exactly as relevant for marketers, “Working software over comprehensive documentation”, at the very least we might say, “working product."
Some other ideas as to why marketers feel the need to develop a manifesto, and why this idea of developing an agile manifesto comes from the culture of the agile marketing community, include:
Marketers are used to the idea of creating manifestos. The cluetrain manifesto influenced a lot of PR people, and eventually marketers. We liked the idea of the agile manifesto, but it doesn't feel like marketers own it yet. We wanted something of our own.
There's a tradition in marketing of coining marketing terms; to help explain something new marketers create a new term, and quickly start explaining how the concept works and is different.
Many of the pioneers in agile marketing were bloggers or consultants; it makes sense for them to publish the new agile marketing manifesto. It helps promote their thought leadership. We've seen a number of agile marketing manifestos published over the last 3 years. Our conversation about the agile marketing manifesto in San Franscisco was to some extent an attempt to bring together those existing published manifestos. Travis Arnold, Director of Marketing at SendOuts wrote a great round up of the existing agile marketing manifestos for SprintZero.
There are some differences between agile marketing and agile development. We believe there are a different set of dependencies for marketing than in development, mainly because development deals with innovation, and marketing deals, well, with marketing.
Marketers Missing The Boat
On your point about product teams turning into customer teams, and marketers missing the boat. I wonder if it’s simply a matter of product people not wanting to eventually work on the marketing stuff. Once a company gains enough traction and revenue, they are going to think about hiring marketers. So rather than marketing being left out of the decision marketing process, those new marketers may not incorporate lean and agile into their thinking, but still have the control over the marketing budgets and resources. We need adoption of agile marketing to close the loop between lean, and agile development.
Embedding Marketers In Agile Teams
Marketing people are embedded in product development teams. Many agile marketers today adopted the agile practice, after working with agile development teams, and thought about how to apply agile development to marketing.
By the way, I always preferred the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s definition of marketing, and not just because I’m from the UK originally, and even though I am an American-British Marketer! I always liked the fact the word profit was in the definition, and I think the definition is easier to remember than the AMA's.
“The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”
During the June 11th SprintZero event in San Francisco we spent nearly two hours discussing the principles and values of agile marketing. The group did not finish the process, but we did make some decisions about agile marketing values. Those results are published on the new site.
We welcome comments, suggestions and ideas about the values, the process is still in flux, and I think we have a lot of work todo to determine the similarities and differences between agile, agile development and agile marketing, but this is a great start.
Thanks to Travis Arnold for all his work in pulling together the initial list of principles and values in his pre-conference post on agile marketing manifestos.
4 Agile Marketing Meetup Groups Launch
Other news in the world of agile marketing, four new agile marketing meetup groups have started around the country, LA, San Francisco, Boston and Seattle.
Here's my synopsis post of today's agile marketing event at Mindjet in San Francisco:
Jim Ewel’s Agile Marketing 101 Introduction
My co-host and chef instigator for the idea of holding the #sprint0 event, Jim Ewel, did a great job of presenting an overview of agile marketing 101. Several people asked for a copy of his presentation, so we will follow up with him to find out what he can share!
Agile Marketing Top Insights Panel
Jim was also the moderator for the top insights panel. Jascha Kaykas-Wolff (Mindjet), Rohn Jay Miller (Sapient), and Nick Muldoon (Atlassian) were on the panel.
We had two people drop out from the original panel, so Nick really helped us out.
I was reflecting during the panel discussion we had the prefect mix of panelists. Jascha the marketer’s agile marketer with years of experience in the practice across quite a few tech companies, Jascha just provided that in depth experience to the panel and whole day, as well as someone who is always willing to share his passion and experiences for agile marketing.
Rohn Jay, the digital marketing agency guy, able to describe how agile marketing can be implemented by an agency working with a client, and give the perspective of how the nuances of agile marketing work for the client/agency relationship.
Lastly, Nick, the agile evangelist for Atlassian, steeped in agile development, Nick recently moved to the US from Atlassian’s home base of Australia and now works more in a marketing role as the agile evangelist, he is translating agile development into agile marketing, as well as learning the ropes in marketing.
What can I say, the questions were good, and the panel did a great job.
Agile Marketing Peer to Peer Sharing Session
I moderated this session. The idea was to encourage participants to answer questions that I pitched to the audience and start a discussion from there. We started off by everyone introducing themselves, and we had a good diversity of backgrounds, small start-ups, large companies, agencies.
For me I thought we had a bit of a slow start to the session, but once we had people talking back and forth with each other, asking questions of one another, following up on points we had some really good insights. I especially thought the discussion on client/agency/vendor relationships was helpful, and the discussion around what people new to agile marketing needed, and wanted from the session an important theme.
It was interesting to hear some of the stories from marketers about why they were here at the event. For example, Anita Singha, Channel Marketing Manager, Pacific Gas and Electric and how she hoped agile marketing would help her company manage increasing complexity. And, Mark Doerschlag, SEO Strategist, FindLaw.com, a Thomson Reuters Business, who was looking to agile marketing to address some particular issues with his company's business.
Again, some of the most interesting perspectives about the use of agile marketing came from how brand marketers work with agencies and vendors, especially on the issue of managing contracts and incentives.
Agile Marketing Peer to Peer Workshop
During this peer to peer collaborative session we reviewed the existing published ideas for the operating principles of agile marketing. Very similar to the 2001 agile development collaboration weekend at a ski lodge in Utah, involving 17 developers hashing out the principles of agile development.
We had put together a preliminary list of Agile Marketing Values from Travis Arnold's blog post and online discussion, and during lunch we will put 3M sheets on the room windows, so that when everyone came back from lunch, they were up on the walls.
Initially we had some push back and constructive criticism of the method we were using to manage this collaboration session by Jack Skeels, CEO, AgencyAgile.
Jack made the point that the original agile developers in the Utah ski lodge had more time to spend on the principles and values, we only had an hour and forty five minutes, so there would not be enough time to carefully think through every agile marketing value and principle. And as a result, Jack suggested the rest of the group would be reluctant to put their name to the resulting values and principles. We decided we’d proceed anyway, but when and if we publish our resulting list, we’d state that the list was developed as a snapshot and there was more work to be done.
Then, we read through the agile marketing values, inviting people to ask for clarifications, discuss, and critique. Interestingly, the read through took the most time, because we had an excellent back and forth discussion on the value’s meaning, and whether individual values duplicated others on the list. We asked if participants if they had any other suggestions besides the existing list, several more values were added to the list.
We then took a preliminary "vote" with people putting 5 dot stickers on the agile marketing values that they thought should be included in the top agile marketing values list. We then whittled down the list of values to 7, but we did not have time to consider the principles. We are going to come back to the group with a proposal about next steps.
During the rest of the day’s session, I was thinking we should also think about why there’s a need for agile marketing in today’s marketplace, as that context may help more marketers to understand the value of agile marketing, as well as the values and principles providing a contrast between how marketing is managed operationally without agile marketing today, and how agile marketing can be conducted in the future.
Future of Agile Marketing
Wayne Kernochan, industry IT analyst, gave a presentation on history of the agile development movement, and what agile marketers can learn from the developers as we think about the future of agile marketing.
We gathered future ideas from the participants, and Jim Ewel wrote up the list. Our role as a group is to encourage individual initiative, rather direct all of the projects. As an organizing team we can help with support and we suggested to those assembled, especially those marketers just getting started, if you help out on the project, this can be your first use of agile marketing.
An agile marketing cook book, or play book drew the most enthusiasm, and I think really hit a nerve with the participants, both the existing practicing agile marketers and the marketers new to agile marketing. People wanted the cook book to provide case studies, or recipes, by persona.
Overall, I thought we had a successful day, and I want to thank everyone who participated!
30-40 people attended, participants included, agile marketing executives and newbies. We had some great insights both in terms of lessons from fellow marketers and collaboration on the agile marketing values, and the future of agile marketing. The team will debrief and think about what we can publish, and then ask for advice and input from the group before we do, we'll probably use the Agile Marketing Facebook group and direct emails to connect back with the participants.
My special thanks to Mindjet for their generosity in hosting SprintZero. Including; Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, Parker Trewin, Nicolette Androski, Nathan and Deborah Morales.
A big thanks to Jim Ewel for doing such an excellent job in the 101 introduction session, panel moderation and his work during the rest of the day, and to Travis Arnold for putting together the manifestos. Lastly, thanks to all who attended, shared insights, asked questions, gave helpful critique, and wrote up and pinned the 3M sheets!
A couple of months ago, Jim Ewel sent me an email.
He told me he was traveling to Boston from his home in Seattle, that he had heard Frank Days and my podcasts over at the Agile marketing podcast blog, and he wanted to meet up for coffee to chat about agile marketing.
We met at the Starbucks coffee house in Harvard Yard.
If you've ever been to the store, you'll know it has a great view of the yard from the 1st floor window overlooking the MBTA stop.
Jim and I sat at the coffee bar, chatted about our backgrounds in marketing, and our interest in agile marketing.
I recall right at that meeting, Jim proposed the agile marketing community do something more to evangelize the concept and collaborate on what is agile marketing.
Out of that suggestion, and many subsequent calls, both with Jim, and other colleagues in the industry, we launched SprintZero: The Physics of Agile Marketing; a one day conference just about agile marketing, bringing together the largest gathering of marketers practicing agile marketing to date.
Well with 60-70 people signed up for the conference, many, but not all of whom are already practicing agile marketing we've already succeeded by bringing together so many marketers interested in the concept and process of agile marketing.
I'm looking forward to Monday in San Francisco, to meet, to learn, and collaborate on all the sessions.
* If you want to learn more about agile marketing check out my article and interviews with many agile marketers at MarketingProfs (You’ll have to be subscribed, but you can get a free account, if you don’t already have one.)
During my time as a board member with the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association I had occasion to run quite a few events. And one of the factors in getting people to attend was giving clear instructions about parking and how to attend an event.
Boston is a heavily congested city; partly it's those 17th century cow-paths! So getting people into the city was always an effort, people in the site wanted to know good directions and if your event was accessible by public transportation. Attendees might take the subway train to the event, and then back to their car, or use public transportation in general.
For people out of the city of Boston, who typically lived on the western suburbs having access to easily findable parking was a big factor in deciding whether to attend, and if ensuring whether we had kept the number of no-shows down. I received many calls and emails from people telling me they gave up because they could not find a place, or the parking.
From that experience I learned to give good directions to the event, and think about public transportation options and cheap parking. We even provided this information on our post cards. The AMA went back to post cards because so many of the members were unsubscribing from email. Ironically, many marketers are overwhelmed with too much email! And so simple post cards can be a great way to boost attendance and make sure people arrive on the night. Lots of members told me they pinned the post card to the fridge and took it with them on the night of the event.
As we plan the afternoon sessions for SprintZero, The Physics of Agile Marketing, the gathering of agile marketers in San Francisco on June 11th; Travis Arnold has graciously worked through the existing agile marketing manifestos to extract the essence of several writers’ ideas about what makes up the concepts of agile marketing. He riffed with Jim Ewel on the topic, and a synopsis of the manifestos (with original links) and Travis' and Jim's ideas about the framework for agile marketing are published in Travis' blog.
We intend to take this great starting point and any subsequent discussion in the community to our afternoon collaboration session. We will ask the participants to discuss the list of values and principles, determine if we've missed anything. And then ask the audience to vote on list.
Blogging is all about starting a conversation with another individual. I don't mind if someone from a company posts useful and relevant information on my blog. But that information has to be within the context of an existing conversation. I reserve the right to delete or edit content and links from comments on this blog if I think you are just making a sales pitch or trying to increase your SEO standing.