More Value Agile Affect

Agile management overall is based on the simple fact that projects, marketing, business, life, etc., are dynamic, not static. You make plans, but things change. The best teams and organizations are able to respond quickly to such change and capitalize on it. – Scott Brinker, Co-founder & CTO ion interactive, inc.

Sharing my scribbled notes from audience participation and panel leadership – Atlanta TAG Product Management Society event, The Agile Affect: Continue reading “More Value Agile Affect”

Transparency as a Customer Builds a Relationship

We’re in the market for a customer feedback solution. There’s tons of them out there. After putting together a list and culling down to the “A/B” candidates, the real work begins…

  • Get the stakeholders together to pull out the specs
  • Scour the A/B list’s web sites to see if the specs agree
  • Create the features/product spreadsheet and select the “A” candidates
  • Interview them all, see their demos (hopefully some are online and less than one hour)
  • SELECT two to show stakeholders, winner takes all!

Pretty typical, yet after this marathon are you getting at the core of their offerings? Probably not. At best you get a sling shot approach or the canned demo from hell. That’s just a waste of everyone’s time.

To remedy this, I suggest after selecting “A” candidates, to partner with them before they plan their demos. What, open the kimono? Big #Yes!  By engaging and being collaborative each side knows what the other is looking for – don’t worry, you can spot a con in a second. What falls out is solid information and a start to a strong relationship. Now that’s building business value, building a win.

BTW: for those who still enjoy a visit from a sales rep, my idea works here too. Communicate “the whats” and its way easier to determine which solution will best fit your organization.

I bet your “partner” answers your support calls pretty quickly too.

I Thought Love Was Only True in Fairy Tales

It’s early afternoon and blasting hot in ATL – even “hotter” in the big conf room. I’ve joined a combined-teams Sprint Review complete with “where-we-are” demos.  The audience is stakeholders and product: QA, development, prod mgt, sales support, marketing and the Exec.  Major apologies if I missed anyone.

Way Cool Different

The two development teams were the rock stars. They presented their work and planning brilliantly.  Top managers were in the room and participated. Continue reading “I Thought Love Was Only True in Fairy Tales”

SprintZero Update -Agile Marketing Movement

“Agile Marketing is a Movement”

An intrepid group of marketing professionals organized SprintZero earlier this month to pave a path to Marketing the Agile way. SprintZero participants met to discuss Agile Marketing values and principles. The outcome will be the Agile Marketing Manifesto.

On the highway, speed kills, but in business, it is slowness that kills. – Jim Ewel,

Agile Marketing Moves Forward

Social marketing hasn’t dispatched old marketing practices but put the first fork in it.  Global marketing professionals need to be nimble, confirm business value & bottom-line impact, be spot-on aligned with company strategy and not forget to listen to markets – done with rapidly moving targets and more and more channels. What the C-Suite wants to know about Agile Marketing:

  • Increased flexibility and speed
  • Strategic alignment
  • Customer engagement

It was a great start. #Sprint1 is planned for later this year.  The site to provide feedback on the work-in-progress Agile Marketing Manifesto will go live soon. I’ll keep you posted. We’ll need your advice.

Keep on, keeping on!

Agile Marketing is On Fire!

It’s only the beginning of summer and Agile Marketing is getting hotter!  It made sense to me “marketer” to use Agile techniques and it’s making sense to a good many others in the industry.

Not unlike Agile Development and Product teams, marketing professionals use Agile methods to increase speed and gain the flexibility required in today’s fast-fast global economy.

…two of the key features of Agile Marketing borrowed from Agile Development: fast iteration and objective testing. – Jason Cohen of SmartBear Software

SprintZero, the first gathering of Agile Marketing Professionals is planned for 11 Jun 2012 in San Francisco. I have been following their blog posts and it sounds positively great. I’ll be sure to share the Agile Marketing Manifesto with you once it’s done.

Here’s to marketing the Agile way! So looking forward to the ride.


Essence of the Main Thing

The main thing

is keeping the main thing

the main thing

A product launch begins when *everyone* involved can say what truly makes your product outstanding and awesome.

No, that’s not a typo.

I didn’t mean “product launch ends” – because if you begin developing product without clarity on this, no telling when you’ll launch.  Or what will launch.  Or who you should be launching to…


The Launch Queen Speaks (Series 3 of 4)

Part 3 of Agile Product Marketing Series:

  1. Product Marketing Becomes Agile
  2. What’s a Product Marketer Doing with a Roadmap?
  3. The Launch Queen Speaks
  4. It’s Not Small Change

A series written to help Agile and B2B Marketing teams understand each other’s conversations and methods. Previously we discussed how real-time dialog between Agile and Marketing teams drive Business Value by creating need-to-have features. This time we’re in a product launch.

Like adventure?

Try running a global product launch. I’ve described it as building a rope bridge while crossing a raging river filled with hungry alligators and sharp rocks.  Don’t look down and failure is not an option.  Not much time to recover from a botched job.

“Product commercialization and product launch requires a rigorous program strategy and execution.” – Found scribbled in my study notes, author is unknown.

Sounds Like We Need to Get Agile

No matter how you dice it, product launches are complex.  It’s all about teams, communication and performance… and successful transition. A launch isn’t a success until the product steps out into the cold, new world of Life Cycle.

Let’s back up to launch. Do all the teams:

  • Know the goals
  • Know the roles
  • Know the priorities
  • Commit and collaborate

In a traditional launch, stakeholders proceed within their own swim lanes. When done with their piece, over the wall! #FAIL

I Feel a Strong Need for Agile Advice

Marketing will take care of setting the market’s/analysts’/customers’ expectations of the product. Seeking Agile advice on continuous delivery, keeping teams collaborating and with how to integrate all the moving parts.

Keep on keeping on!

On the Tee:  It’s Not Small Change (Series 4 of 4)



Product Marketing Becomes Agile (Series 1 of 4)

Part 1 of Agile Product Marketing Series:

  1. Product Marketing Becomes Agile
  2. What’s a Product Marketer Doing with a Roadmap?
  3. The Launch Queen Speaks
  4. It’s Not Small Change

This post is the first in a series designed to help Agile and B2B Marketing teams understand each other’s conversations and methods.

Attention Scrum Master or Product Owner!

Are you working with a Marketing Team and hoping they don’t think Agile practices mean another form for Yoga? Actually, we marketers know about Agile and are cautiously curious and optimistic.

You can be absolutely sure that marketers working with Agile development teams wonder how they’ll be able to Sprint faster, while shaping, communicating and testing the product’s market message, value prop – in time for successful commercialization.

Provide a Bridge

Invite your PMM to join in the Stand-up. Share your Backlogs. Collaborate.  Marketers must be plugged into product information as real-time as possible in order to understand the product as it is now defined. With your help, we’ll do a much better job working our magic. Continue reading “Product Marketing Becomes Agile (Series 1 of 4)”

Multitasking = Time Sink? – Take an Agile Approach

I came across a favorite blogger’s post previously.  Tony Schwartz’s “The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time” offers so many good points, I suggest the read.  BTW: He sounds pretty “Agile” to me.

I admit it. I was a dyed in the wool multitasking manager. “Was” until I figured out that rather than make me more productive, it did the opposite. I was not paying close attention to my team, nor could I incorporate all those distractions and keep forward momentum.  Being mindful is now my manner.

Maintain Focus 

Tony writes we need more focus and be more engaged to be productive. Let’s deal with meetings.  He suggests scheduling shorter meetings, to start them on time with a defined end and no distractions of the digital kind.

Sounds pretty Agile to me:

  • Do the most important thing, first thing every day – Daily Scrum?
  • Carve out enough time in the day to “reflect” on the discussions. A Sprint Review?
  • We need time to “recover” and maintain Rhythm?

Ignore the Tyranny of Urgent

Big lesson, still learning (note to me). Tony stresses planning regular and scheduled times to think long term. Prioritization, assigning Business Value – Agile teams do these naturally, it’s what we do.

Got me thinking about  innovation….best practices suggest unplugging is the best way to be more creative. It has something to do with how our brains are hardwired. I know we work in busy places and competition is tough, but “not right now” can be the appropriate answer.

Disconnect and Renew

Take a vacation day, eat lunch away from your desk, join with colleagues at the favorite watering hole…take time to do something different, or nothing at all. It’s important. Even my computer and phone tell me it’s time to turn them off.  Interesting…our devices are reminding US to be in the present.