6th May 2015

A couple of months ago we decided to follow our technical teams and give agile a go for sales and marketing.

The first fortnightly sprint was a success as it brought the team together and gave a common aim that we worked towards and achieved. However, we failed miserably for the following 3 sprints! Here come the excuses; Easter, Jury Service, holidays and illness…

We’re only a small team so when a couple of the team are away, agile doesn’t really work with a single person. So we ended up with a huge list of tasks that were part done, not started or just the interesting (usually marketing) stuff done.

Since the ‘team’ returned to action last week, things are better. We are collectively getting through the backlog and hope to be back on track by the end of this sprint next week. Hurray!

We are definitely sticking with agile and think we can improve the culture and collaboration element but there are some big challenges when doing this with commercial teams as opposed to devs. Here are some of them:

  1. Sales is very reactive, a client wants to meet, a new event pops up, an urgent proposal is required etc. This means that things will always come up that distract you from doing what you committed too. A solution is to have a multi-skilled team, but we don’t have that yet…
  2. Marketing tasks such as drawing a picture or organising event are still getting prioritised by all rather than making that difficult call to a prospect. Although agile is a team effort, some tasks need to be delegated and stuck too
  3. Sales people are rarely in the office and tend to be in control of their own destiny so getting together for stand ups can be a challenge. Hangouts can solve this but nothing beats face to face
  4. The benefits of a sprint are not instantly recognised. There is not a “wow, look at this feature we’ve built”. Our success come further down the line when we win a new client for example

On the tooling side, we moved from LeanKit to Trello as we preferred the mobile app and the reporting was overkill. Plus we have integrated Trello with Slack and Cyfe so we get card updates and a real-time dashboard which is cool.

I’ll post an update in a couple of weeks with some links to things we have delivered such as content, events and client wins.


About Liam McDowell
Liam tries to keep our clients happy. He is a complete control freak so don't touch his suite of pens, cutlery or dare to sit in his chair!