Agile is a project management technique derived from software development that’s taking the marketing community by storm. Instead of managing big projects along a linear or “waterfall” process, Agile breaks projects down in parts or phases and distributes the work among a team.
Agile is highly collaborative, marked by focused, short meetings and check-ins, designed to leave plenty of time to get the work done. Agile supports a cross-functional team – just like the marketing teams that designers and creatives have traditionally supported.
Still, as I visit creative departments all over the county, I hear a hint of trepidation in conversations about Agile. It gives me the sense that creatives view Agile with suspicion. I would propose quite the opposite: Agile is an opportunity!
Agile Will Improve Creative Visibility and Collaboration
One of the biggest complaints creatives register is that marketing and senior leaders don’t understand creative. Project requests that are tossed over the wall to the creative team eat up their time: designers wind up chasing requirements, project managers walk mockups around the office for review, and approvals seem to take forever.
Agile provides a window of enlightenment through its prescribed sequence of meetings for brainstorming, decision making, and identifying obstacles that prevent work from getting done. It also streamlines the creative process with a series of check-ins that bring transparency to the process including what’s holding up creative work – and what’s going smoothly.
Agile Means A Permanent Seat At The Strategic Table
One of the biggest hurdles creative teams face is repositioning their departments from service providers to in-house strategists. When one campaign ends, marketing moves on to the next one and feedback and measures of success don’t always make it back to the creative team.
An Agile marketing process, with its retrospective meetings and project de-briefs, will provide a mechanism for creatives to see results and metrics. That information will only make creatives more effective advisors by informing their creative brilliance for future campaigns. Agile provides room for the whole team, including creatives, to shape strategy and plans rather than responding to those marketing has already set in motion.
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I believe the trend of Agile marketing represents a break for creatives, to bring new visibility, transparency and value to marketing. Indeed, Agile is the chance to prove once and for all, the value of design.