Lenin's famously said, “” and this quote has never felt stronger than in 2020, especially when we look only at the scale of the popular "digital transformation" in different areas of life. Almost everything was digitized, from small to large companies, which due to rapid growth had to structure their processes, realize e-commerce sites, and eventually become collateral software companies without registration in the CPA.
The second part of the quote from the beginning of this article could easily be presented as the slogan of our marketing department, and often of marketing in the IT industry. As companies digitized overnight, our workload increased. The goals set at the beginning of the year began to take on new forms, and thus various tactics began to be applied. In this whirlwind of events, it was important to stay focused, set priorities and do things on time and, above all, focus on quality.
Agile or Nimble?
Our marketing team is global; four women are responsible for how Serengeti is presented on the global, regional and local scene. As small as the number may seem, the four of us: Malina Krišto, Lucija Babić, Ružica Petričušić and myself, Ana Milas, are the owners of a marketing works studio.
People would say that we are nimble, and in the technological story in which we partake, we are an agile team. Literally.
Agile methodologies are development-bound, where does marketing fit in the picture?
Working in marketing for an IT company is like studying marketing again, but this time with speed bumps activated once you take off. IT has never been more demanding because products and services are becoming more complex, there are a lot of new technologies, and at the same time, we have different buyer personas to talk to since IT spending is influenced by different departments.
Agile uses an iterative and incremental approach that continuously schedules tasks leading to greater productivity, better adaptability to change, faster problem detection, and better teamwork. One of the characteristics of the agile methodology, as well as a prerequisite for its introduction, are self-organizing teams that have the freedom to make project-related decisions, in which there is not much micromanagement from the superiors. Given the amount of work, and the small number of people in the department, agile was the best solution.
A Bunch of Projects, Precious Time, and Kanban
Because of the size of our team, but also because of the type of work that often requires making changes on the run, we opted for Kanban. From the very beginning, we had a clear goal of what we wanted to achieve by applying an agile methodology, we just needed to find the one that would best suit us, our work, projects, and pace of work. We had our development team as advisors. The goals were clearly set: to create a product website, to refresh, migrate and create new content for the company’s website, and to do a complete rebranding of the company. All in 2 months.
Each project had its own digital board with corresponding columns: Open, In Progress, In Review, Done. During the planning phase, each project was broken down into smaller tasks, with the categories marked with appropriate tags (e.g. promo materials, design, content, etc.) The tasks were moved to the appropriate columns according to the stage they were in. At our standup meetings, we focused on the status of individual tasks and on the detection and analysis of possible obstacles that could negatively affect the final result of the project. After the successful realization of the project, an analysis of what was done followed (a meeting where we went through the advantages and disadvantages of what we did – lessons learned).
Time is not money, but value
The Kanban method helped us be more effective and to deliver three large and demanding projects in two months, that is, to deliver value. This is our main goal.
Agile is specific and sometimes rejected in companies because it changes communication from vertical – where communication flows top-down and where all decisions are made "on top" – to horizontal, where processes, communication, and the way of working are focused on innovation, project success and customer satisfaction.
Kanban enabled us to get better insight into the state of the project; we found it easier to visualize the progress and see in which areas we have room for improvement. In addition, Kanban paved the way for a better understanding of the target group and of ourselves and further brought us closer as a team. Ultimately, both the IT provider and the client-side consist of just one thing – people.