I just read an inspring post from Andy Pearson who has a company (White Fuse) that does web design for charities. Andy talks about how he uses agile methodology and mentions “hacking” the pure methodology of agile software development to make it fit his company’s idiosyncratic needs. He looks at this from the perspective of project management, but I clearly see it as being highly applicable to agile marketing as well.
I love the idea of “hacking” a formal methodology to make it fit your own culture, projects and workload. Indeed, why not? At the heart of the general concept of agility is the freedom and flexibility to improvise and innovate and it seems to me that this sense of freedom should apply as equally to the output/deliverable/outcome of the project at hand as it does to the processes that are employed to get the work done. Innovative methods and improvisational processes lead to fresh and inventive work results.
Within the broad framework of agile marketing methodology there is plenty of room for practitioners to find their own way through the same sort of experimentation that the underlying philosophy of agile methods encourages and promotes. How long should a sprint be? It depends on the project. How often should teams SCRUM? Sometimes meeting on a daily basis is just too often and three stand-up meetings a week are more appropriate. Do what works best for you!
To my way of thinking even the terminology can be modified and tweaked. I’ve spent a lot of my spare time playing guitar in rock and blues bands so I like to think of sprints as jams and SCRUM stand-up meetings as tune-ups. Does changing the jargon change the fundamental value of the method? Of course not, but it can heighten the sense of adventure, discovery and exploration for team (or band using my musical metaphor) members, and that is extremely powerful and valuable.
Don’t be afraid to have fun, mash things up and disrupt the dominant paradigm to better suit your particular needs. Isn’t doing so a core value of agile marketing?
With agile marketing the rules of the game are such that changing the rules to suit you and your team are well within bounds. This notion of a fast, flexible and methodical, yet malleable, process can help marketers to break out of the confining strictures of hierarchy that often hinder the employment of agile methods and the work that they aim to produce.