Posted 09.28.2016 by Josh Krakauer
If you’re familiar with Agile, you might see it as a process reserved for tech companies and dev teams, but it is far more versatile than you might think. After three years of experimentation and transformational change for our social media agency, we are firm believers in the power of Agile.
The Agile process confines work to iterative 1-4 week cycles, known as Sprints. There are four core ceremonies that make up a Sprint: a Daily Standup Meeting, Sprint Planning, Iteration Review (Demo) and Retrospective. From our experience, the easiest ceremony for your team to start incorporating today is the Daily Standup.
The Daily Standup is a 15-minute status check with your entire team. It should be held in the same place and at the same time every day. We recommend having it at the start of your day. After much experimentation, we settled on having ours at 9:15. Daily Standups encourage an open discussion with your entire team who otherwise might not see each other throughout the day.
Anyone relevant to social media in your organization should make an appearance. In an agency setting, this could be anyone from a community manager and graphic designer on the content side, to a digital strategist or analyst on the measurement side. If you’re part of an in-house social team, your group might look a bit smaller– perhaps just the marketing manager and social media coordinator. The beauty of Agile is the ability to mold aspects of the process to fit your team.
Here are three important reasons why you should incorporate Daily Standups into your workflow:
Each team member will answer three questions to get on the same page for the day: what did you do yesterday, what are you doing today, and what obstacles might prevent you from getting that done? Let’s say you are a community manager working on a client blog post that is due today. By answering these three questions, the process of getting the blog post published and promoted on social media can go smoother.
“Yesterday I completed a final draft of Sunglasses World’s blog post.”
“I promised to the client that it would get posted on the website today and be shared on Facebook and Twitter.”
“Before I post the blog, I need internal approval. Sam, you’re the account manager for this client. Could you please make this a priority when you go visit with them this afternoon?”
By having each team member talk through their process, your team will gain a better understanding of the workload carried by their peers. This awareness leads to greater team empathy and gives the opportunity for others to step in to provide assistance where needed.
Having a quick meeting with the whole team, whether in-person or online, gives everyone a chance to check in, say hello, and offer assistance to team members who might have an extra-full plate for the day. Keeping your team connected is especially important if your team works remotely.
Our Scrum Board is where we keep track of goals and task cards for each client during a 3-week Sprint. These cards are produced during the Sprint Planning ceremony.
After the cards are created, they start in the “Sprint Backlog” section of the board. Projects that are being completed that week move into “To Do.” For projects you’re working on that day, move them to “Doing,” and once projects are complete, they go into “Done.” If you would like to track your progress over a sprint, you can keep the cards placed in the “Done” pile.
We answer the three questions (what did you do yesterday, what are you doing today, and what obstacles might prevent you from getting that done?) while moving our cards across the Scrum Board.
You can still have Daily Standups without a Scrum Board, but visualizing your to-do list and tasks in progress can be incredibly helpful.
Switching your team’s process to Agile may seem daunting, but it’s easier when you take it in smaller steps. Agile is all about experimenting and responding to change, so try Standups first and see how your team does. You’ll discover what works and what doesn’t, and can adjust accordingly. For a complete overview of our Agile process, check out this video.
Thinking about incorporating Agile? This is just the beginning of our series exploring the core ceremonies. Follow our blog, or keep up-to-date on Twitter for more information.
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