I have been transparent about my recent hesitancy with Scrum sprints, but our new implementation has given me an entirely new perspective. With the marketing team developing our Scrum process from scratch, we had some apparent growing pains that needed resolution. One-week sprints left me feeling overwhelmed. I felt (self-inflicted) pressure to achieve all of our tasks without genuinely knowing the amount of time each item would take. The overwhelming feeling of failure hit me every time I underestimated the amount of time needed. I felt like I was missing the mark of success week by week unless I worked late nights to make up for my misjudgment of time. This caused me a great deal of stress when all I wanted was to complete a campaign from beginning to end. Luckily, our incredible scrum master heard my concern, and we found a solution that worked for everyone!
The Turning Point
When assessing how our first month of Scrum went, I vocalized my concerns and requested a two-week sprint. This sat well with everyone, and it became a turning point for our overall productivity! As a team, we set aside time to define the size of a campaign based on a set number of action items needed for completion. Accurately sizing our tasks allowed us to take a step back and determine if more action items could be pulled into a two-week sprint or not. This also allowed us to distribute subtasks to each person and set a standard outline to follow. Within the next sprint, I felt a complete shift in my mindset and felt that everything was achievable – and it was!
Instead of stressing out about how to plan the separation of tasks within a week’s worth of time, we could set an overall goal for each sprint. What I thought was “teamwork” before was redefined entirely with our new system! Instead of each of us working on various small tasks, we now come together to complete one or two full campaigns and pull in additional backlog items that are achievable based on our confidence that we can fulfill them.
Game-changing Intake Form
Another reason for our success was our scrum master’s implementation of a marketing intake form. After each week’s marketing demo, every department would stay on our call for a backlog prioritization meeting. We found ourselves having a difficult time completing newly assigned tasks because requests would be made with very little supporting information. Everyone was juggling new campaigns and setting up meetings to discuss the requirements within each request. By asking that each person fill out our intake form, we are able to capture all of the necessary information prior to planning our sprint. This has made pulling in backlog items easier because we have all of the required information in one card, allowing us to size each request accordingly. The intake form also prevents us from overlooking any verbal requests, which has unfortunately happened. I would suggest that any team looking for more organizational tactics look at our intake form as an example!
Sprinting Towards a Brighter Future
To say that I am delighted with our new changes is an understatement. I look forward to sprint demos because I now have enough time to develop and implement full campaigns. Working in two-week sprints has given me a much-needed confidence boost as a marketing manager because I can show the rest of our company the bigger picture instead of just explaining it. Not only are we able to present completed projects, but we can also go into our demos with analytics and a clear picture of the next steps to grow our business!
At this time, I can officially say that I love working in a scrum environment! I would suggest to any marketing teams looking to move into this type of methodology to try new things until you find something that works.