Learn to sprint, Marketing!

May 25, 2016 · 2 min read

That’s the name of our first sprint as a marketing team. We have just come out of the retrospective meeting and everyone has a big smile on their face. Who would have thought that changes on how we operate as a team can create waves of joy? Let’s not forget though, it’s not a small change, it’s about the transformation from a traditional team setup, team meetings, 1:1s, marketing planning for the year and quarter, marketing channels and campaigns to a self organising agile team.

Having been working in the tech industry for many years, scrum, sprints and agile have been around constantly but mainly in the context of tech teams and product development. So is this only for tech teams? I first got interested to try it when our education team at busuu — that is not a tech team at all but creating our language courses — tried it out and liked it.

I turned to Antoine, our Head of Product and true expert in this field and he gave me a crash course in “Scrum”. It dawned on me that the framework can easily be applied to non-tech teams and after some more research and conversations with several people in the team, defined a few principles for us as a marketing team:

  • Focus: We work in a startup and there are many things to tackle. We all enjoy that, only sometimes we get lost in the sheer number of projects so it’s all about focusing on the biggies.
  • Collaboration: It’s important to share what everyone’s working on and let the team take part in the joy and the pain. We are in this together after all!
  • Getting s**t done: We want to see the results! There is nothing more rewarding than completing something and seeing what impact it has on the business.

And then, let’s just do it! In our first sprint we had 30 items and 215 story points (including to learn what story points actually are). We all got addicted to moving things to done and staring at the screen above us that showed the sprint report. Our daily scrum meetings are the most energising thing to start the day and spending time in hours of planning, refinement and review meetings has given us some proper quality time as a team.

Are we going to continue? For sure! The first sprint has indeed given us the focus we needed and we got a lot of things done. Talking about each single project in the meetings as a group has opened up ideas and a level of collaboration I didn’t even dare to hope for. No matter if you are looking after acquisition, CRM, customer support or partnerships — our collective brain power ist just amazing!

I highly recommend to other marketers to give it a go. Marketing is an ever changing discipline and if you really want to set up a team for the future, try new things and especially those that help you to adapt quickly!

Lea Hartkopf

Head of Marketing at busuu

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