Resources for Using Scrum + Kanban for Marketing

Resources for Using Scrum + Kanban for Marketing

Resources for Using Scrum + Kanban for Marketing

I’ve been going down a project management and leadership rabbit hole lately. I started with Hacking Marketing last year, then starting reading the PMP exam book and Learning Agile recently. I love the scrum and kanban models and have started testing them on some of my projects. What I’ve learned though is that it is more about the principales and values behind the methodologies and tools than the tools themselves.

While I can implement backlogs, sprints and task boards, what is more important is that the team understands the scrum values of commitment, respect, focus, openness, and courage to become effective scrum teams. Since this is something I’m learning and applying, I’ll report back next month with an update on how it’s going! 

Here are a few articles, books, and notes to get you started if you are interested in applying this to your own marketing.

Think in Layers

I feel like this quote gives you a better idea of how to think of scrum. While the articles break down the backlogs, sprints, meetings, and other widgets that make up the methodology, this gives you the big picture of how it applies to your organization as a whole.

“Picture several layers at which the organization decides what it is going to do. The tasks on an agile team’s kanban board are the bottom layer, describing very specific activities that individuals execute in the scope of a sprint. Those tasks are derived from the prioritized backlog of stories, which is the layer immediately above the sprint. Clusters of related stories could be grouped into epics, which constitute the next layer up. And we can even envision a layer above that, a collection of themes that represent the highest level of strategic initiatives that the company wants to pursue. At the very top is the company’s overarching vision, a layer that encompasses everything.

These layers are distinguished from one another by their granularity and their timescale. Tasks are the most atomic units, things such as “graphic design of infographic.” Themes are big, high-level thrusts, such as “establish presence in the Asia/Pacific region.” An epic under that theme might be “launch Asia/Pacific content marketing program.” And a story under that epic might be “produce infographic of important regional trends”—of which our task example is one slice. The different timescales on which these layers operate are approximately tasks in a sprint, stories in a quarter, epics on a half-year horizon, and themes for the year.”

Full Hacking Marketing book notes. (More so my highlights and some notes.)

Say That Again

One of the differences between the books I was reading on scrum was the distinction that kanban is not a task board and is for work items instead. Below is a quote that better describes this description yet it still feels squishy to me. I’ll come back to this one later;) It was one of the sticking points for me and thought I’d mention it.

“These are not task boards. They’re called kanban boards. The way that you know they’re not task boards is that they don’t have tasks on them. They have work items. A work item is a single, self-contained unit of work that can be tracked through the entire system. It’s typically larger than an MMF, requirement, user story, or other individual scope item. One difference between a task board and a kanban board is that while tasks flow across a task board, work items are not tasks. The tasks are what the people do to move the work items through the system. In other words, the tasks are the “cogs” of the machine that push the work item through.”

Articles + Books

The articles and Hacking Marketing book are great places to start. I would recommend renting the Learning Agile book (instead of buying), it is more technical and for software teams yet is more detailed. A book for skimming and reference.

Agile Marketing Using Scrum

Break Down and Track your Marketing Campaign with Kanban

Agile Marketing: How to Implement Scrum for Digital Marketing

Full Hacking Marketing book notes. (More so my highlights and some notes.)

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