Ann Marie Puig


Ann Marie Puig describes the role Scrum plays in improving marketing practices

Certain Agile concepts and ideas have been part of the content marketing conversation for some time now. Scrum is a concept that is often part of these conversations. But combining it with Agile causes all sorts of confusion. Ann Marie Puig, an entrepreneur and Scrum expert from Costa Rica, focuses on how a Scrum-based content marketing approach might work, told through the experience of a hypothetical content marketing team.

Agile is a set of methodologies and processes for project development. It is based on flexibility and speed to adapt to changes and project conditions, using these changes as an advantage. The projects are divided into small phases that have to be finalized and delivered in short periods of time, together with a continuous reevaluation and adaptation of the plans. It emerged as a revolution in the 90s against traditional models of project management. The it sector created this model with the aim of improving software development processes. The good results, since its inception, have made Agile has been adopted by other sectors.

Its name is precisely due to what these revolutionaries were looking for: the maximum agility and efficiency possible in the management paths, which seemed stuck in long processes that did not allow them to advance with a firm step or react to possible changes. The short phases of work are linked to partial deliveries, so the accumulations of work and overtime at the end of the month. They don’t get along with the Agile methodology. This way of working has been adopted by both startups and large companies. As the saying attributed to the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar explains, “Divide et impera,” divide and conquer.

Explains Puig, “The highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous deliveries of products that meet a need. The requirements are changing, and must be leveraged to offer a competitive advantage to the customer. Frequent deliveries will be made, weekly, since the division of labor allows to execute it in this way.”

It is necessary the daily joint work between the client company and the developers, with the aim of measuring progress. Projects are developed around motivated individuals. The methodology is based on multifunctional and self-organized teams, which should allow ending the work of offices, in reference to orders from above without being in direct contact with the project. The most effective communication between team members is face-to-face. Regular meetings with collaborators and clients are very important.

The finished product is the only project that counts. But this does not mean that simple language must be used to inform the client of the evolutions during the process. Agile needs sustainable development. It is not about working, but about reaching the product. It is appropriate to maintain a constant rhythm throughout the processes, rather than working extra hours. Technical excellence and design facilitate agile work. It is important that although we have not decided from the first moment, there is a patent quality in the design.

Simplicity is essential. Sophisticated instruments are not necessary to manage the product. It is better to do it in a simple way, which will also facilitate communication with the client. Self-management is very important. As a general rule, teams work better and more motivated when they feel responsible for their project. Changing circumstances and working at regular intervals allows teams to adapt and reflect on how to be more productive or effective.

The most important Agile methodologies are Scrum, Kanban, Crystal Clear and Extreme Programming, among others. Scrum is probably the one that is having the most success. Why? Because it is the one that best adapts to other sectors other than software development. Scrum is an Agile methodology used to reduce risks in the realization of a project. It is based on the daily monitoring of progress, which allows an improvement in communication in the team and with the client.

The marketing sector has traditionally been considered chaotic, perhaps because the existing methodology is small or why not say it, bad. This has led to delays in deliveries and problems between clients and agencies. To reduce these problems, solutions have been sought, such as the application of the Agile methodology to the world of digital marketing, even if it is something recent.

There are a number of Agile processes that adopted by marketing agencies, increase productivity, as well as the commitment of the professionals involved in the project. The application of this methodology has real advantages in the creation of the annual marketing plan, in the elaboration of a social media plan or in the execution of tasks and projects with marked delivery in time. Why? Because for example, if the client requests some kind of change, the team will be prepared to make it during the march, not on the finished project.

Adds Puig, “Daily, 15-minute meetings help the team synchronize and create a day-to-day plan, assessing progress toward the Sprint goal. If we also do a weekly meeting as a retrospective, it will reduce possible errors in development and make the team work like a perfect gear.” The use of digital applications such as Asana or Trello, for the management of projects and processes is essential for an agile operation of the agency. These applications make it easy for each team member to manage their daily tasks, in turn, within general boards divided by clients or by general projects.