Agile for Non-IT Teams?

Before we start it is important to highlight that agile started in technical teams (software) but has been proven to work across teams in other areas as well. Agile started because of the high failure rate (80%) of projects and the fact that the final deliverables from these projects were not completely aligned to the initial customer requirements. This lead to the gathering of 17 individuals in 2001 who came together to debate these issues and create a solution which became known as the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. It is important to highlight that the manifesto was created for software teams, but its core tenets are equally relevant to non-IT teams. They came up with a set of values and principles agile teams should adopt, which I have modified for use in the context of marketing teams. The following is my interpretation of the agile values for marketing teams:

  1. Adaptive marketing plans over rigid 12 month plans;
  2. Customer collaboration over highest paid person’s opinion;
  3. Employee autonomy over command-control leadership style;
  4. Individual interaction over process and technological tools.

What is Agile? I will define it from the perspective of what agile is not, in that agile is not a methodology, framework or process, but a mindset based on a set of values and principles aimed at harnessing the collective intelligence of teams. For non-IT teams interested in adopting the agile way of working, I recommend hiring an agile coach with a deep understanding and experience of Scrum, Kanban and other frameworks because you need a coach that appreciates the different flavours of agile to ensure they have the flexibility to adapt these to the context of your team’s requirements.

Next I would like to share my interpretation of the six agile principles from a non-IT perspective:

1. Customer satisfaction is the highest priority for everyone one within the organisation and we must ensure that our interactions with the customer deliver value to the customer.

2. We must welcome and embrace changes in customer requirements.

3. Different teams within the organisation must work together collaboratively.

4. We must create a supportive environment for employees and empower them with everything they need to complete their tasks effectively.

5. Face to face communication is the most effective way of communication between individuals and departments.

6. At regular intervals, individuals and teams must evaluate their performance in order to make improvements when necessary.

For organisations that are keen on employee engagement, Agile provides teams with an enjoyable way of working because it encourages collaboration, open communication and collective decision making across teams. In conclusion, adopting agile is an ongoing journey which is similar to working out in the gym to keep fit: once you start, you need to keep going to see continuous benefits.

About The Author

Femi Olajiga an Agile Marketing Coach who provides Agile marketing training workshops and coaching that helps CMO’s, Directors and Marketing Teams adopt agile marketing. He is also the author of the book: Lean-Agile Marketing: How to Become Agile and Deliver Marketing Success. Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. He enables companies to become agile across marketing to drive business growth. For further information, connect or follow me LinkedIn, Twitter or visit my blog CXconversion.com.

If you’d like to learn how to develop an agile mindset or just generally learn more about Agile and Scrum in Non-IT Software teams or about Agile marketing specifically, consider reading the book above — Lean Agile Marketing: How to Become Agile and Deliver Marketing Success.