Can agile processes be adopted by other disciplines?

  • Isn’t it true that every team wants to add value and feel proud by delivering value to the organization they belong to?
  • Isn’t it true that each team in an organization wants to improve and deliver the highest value they can?
  • Isn’t true that each team member wants to be involved, be aware and share knowledge among his team members?
  • Isn’t it true that each team wants to remove the impediments that slow them down and affect their productivity?

While agile processes like Scrum were originally implemented for complex software development projects, they can be adopted by other functional areas to increase efficiency, organize their teams so that they become self-sufficient and deliver great results in a shorter amount of time, while being more adaptable and focus on creativity.

Recently, I was asked to help our marketing team implement Scrum (Agile) as a means to improve their processes and I asked myself these very questions. The team wanted to overcome similar problems that software development teams face such as communication, visibility and focus on most important things first.

We started by adopting only certain Scrum concepts that would immediately benefit the team. By doing stand ups every morning the team felt more focused on their common goals and they repeatedly mentioned that they were more transparent between each other and the information was shared naturally to each team member. Prioritizing properly and being aware of the highest priorities and committing to finishing them improved the focus of the team and their efficiency.

The impact of unplanned requests causing delays on the team’s highest priority goals became visible to everyone in the company. They were keen to reduce the amount of such requests from their very first retrospective. Demonstrating what they achieved in their previous iteration made them feel proud and made the company more aware of the added value. The team spirit was amazing and Scrum was adopted much easier than any team I ever worked with due to the fact that the business and the marketing management was fully supportive.

However, adopting Scrum by the book is not straight forward. As described in “What’s holding back the Agile marketing revolution?”, we had to overcome the challenges explained in this article as well and we adjusted the process to our needs by experimenting and reflecting on each change we made.

I’ll be discussing this topic in much more detail in the future or will even compare it to other functional areas. But I’d like to hear from you. Have you ever implemented any agile process in other functional areas? Did it work for you? Why or why not?