Keywords: Product owner – scrum master – scrum team – sprint-product backlog -sprint backlog – sprint review – sprint retrospective – product increment
Not to be confused with the weird huddled movement that rugby players do when a play has to be restarted.
What is scrum?
If you are anything like me, you would assume that scrum for digital marketing has to do with using rugby to enhance digital marketing performance because, well, who has time to research, right? But you are not like me. You are smart, so you searched for relevant articles to help you erode any confusion regarding a rather interesting topic.
According to Scrum.org (yes, I did some research), Scrum is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value. It is guided by principles that support the ongoing changes of software development methods called Agile. Nowadays, scrum has been adapted to manage projects and product design in various industries across the spectrum.
What is Agile?
Agile helps teams respond to changes during the software development process to deliver faster and more valuable results. It allows teams to produce results in small chunks instead of big heaps that may be overwhelming to the end-user. Continuous planning and evaluation help teams respond to end-user requirements and changes quickly. The difference between scrum and agile is that scrum implements agile while agile is a methodology.
The scrum teams
According to Knowledgehut.com, a scrum team is made of a minimum of five individuals and a maximum of nine. These individuals (including the product owner and scrum master) work together to deliver the required product increments. The team shares varied tasks and responsibilities that are related to executing the end result product. Since the functions are inter-related, it is highly recommended that scrum team members work in the same environment or at least close.
The Product Owner
The Product Owner is a representative of all stakeholders and consumers who make use of the product. They are responsible for translating the project’s vision to the scrum team, the Return On Investment (ROI) of the project, and they validate the benefits to be incorporated into the product backlog. The Product Owner are accountable for increasing the value of the product due to work done by the scrum team. The efficiency of product backlog management, which involves developing and effectively communicating the product objective, creating product backlog items, and ensuring that the product backlog is transparent and comprehensible, is part of the product owner’s responsibility.
The Scrum Masters roles varies depending on the people in the team according to knowledgehut.com.
To the Scrum Team, the Scrum Master:
- Is a coach and teaches self-management and cross-functionality,
- Assists the team with focusing on creating high-value increments that meet the definition of a complete product,
- Mitigates impediments to the scrum team’s progress,
- Ensures that all scrum activities take place, are productive, and are timely.
To the Product Owner, the Scrum Master:
- Finds techniques for efficient product backlog management,
- Ensures that the goals, objectives, vision and product domain are communicated and understood by every individual in the team,
- Enables and supervises all scrum events,
To the organization, the Scrum Master:
- Leads and trains the organization on how to properly adapt to scrum,
- Implements scrum in the organization,
- Builds a bridge over the gap between the stakeholders and the scrum team.
It is made up of professionals who develop a potentially shippable product at the end of each sprint. They are structured well enough to empower themselves and have complete autonomy over managing their own work. The development team’s size varies from one scrum team to another, but the size should always be agile and large enough to complete a significant amount of work within a specific Sprint.
What are the responsibilities of a Development Team?
The Development Team is primarily responsible for the following:
- Perform Sprint Execution; completing a task such as planning, building, testing, and reviewing.
- Inspect progress toward sprint goal and adapt the plan for the current day’s work
- Grooming the product backlog includes creating, refining, estimating, and prioritizing product backlog items.
- Plan the Sprint where the development team, together with the product owner, help establish the goal for the next sprint
- Inspect and adapt the product and process through a sprint review and sprint retrospective
Key benefits of scrum
Scrummastercertification.ie lists the following as the key benefits of scrum:
- Provides a platform for continuous feedback and exposure to ensure that the scrum team make gradual improvements to the quality of work
- Scrum places more emphasis on delivering value at a faster pace to its end users.
- Customers can collaborate and remain engaged throughout the project
- High team morale is evident as it is self-managed and self-organized. Scrum masters mitigate team problems and generally serve the team.
- Metrics such as estimate times, cost, and project performance are relevant and easily measured.
- Sprints and daily scrum team meetings ensure that teams are held accountable for every action taken to complete tasks.
- Transparency allows everyone, including the consumer, to know how the project is performing.
The Scrum Process
The scrum process, which follows an agile methodology, progresses through a series of sprints that usually last no longer than two weeks. Before the sprint, the scrum team chooses which items to commit to from the items listed on the product backlog compiled by the product owner and the stakeholders.
A sprint backlog is created from the chosen items, which is an overview of the tasks that need to be completed. These tasks are conducted by the scrum team under the guidance of the scrum master during a series of sprints. Daily scrum meetings are held to measure progress, and items are crossed off the sprint backlog once they are completed.
When the scrum team is satisfied that all their goals have been achieved, a sprint review. This is when an assessment is conducted to measure the work’s impact on the product’s achievement. Updates are made to the product backlog too. Scrum teams take time to inspect the past sprint activities and make plans to improve how to reach goals for future sprints during the sprint retrospective phase.
The product backlog is an ordered list of attributes and requirements needed to complete a project. It helps to ensure that the development team knows what the project tasks are and which ones have priority.
The sprint backlog includes only the chosen tasks that need to be completed during the immediate sprint. It consists of more detailed tasks than a backlog.
This is where the possibly shippable product will be delivered at the end of each sprint. The increment is a prototype, draft, or working version of the final product expected by the customer.
Sprint planning usually occurs before a sprint, where objectives and goals are established by the development team, scrum master, and the product owner; they define the work that needs to be done.
Sprints are several incremental sets of planning, building, testing, and reviewing activities repeated continuously over 2-4 weeks, depending on the product. At the end of each sprint, development teams must produce a possibly shippable product.
This is where the outcome of the sprint is assessed and necessary changes are made for future sprints. The sprint review is where the possibly shippable product is present to the stakeholders.
Here the scrum team conducts an inspection on itself to see where improvements can be made and succeed. The sprint retrospective is a plan to find ways to increase quality and effectiveness.
So how does Scrum work for Digital Marketing Teams?
Traditional marketing teams were divided into different departments such as paid media, public relations, art and design, account management, etc. Each department would be allocated a budget by the project manager, and they would usually work in isolation. This proved to be problematic as each department was not in sync with the other. They would often have different priorities, not the actual problem that needed to be solved. The traditional method was not efficient in assisting in adapting to ongoing changes.
As social media rapidly grabs consumers’ attention from print media, television, and radio, marketing teams have evolved to keep up with consumers’ demands. Today marketing teams face a unique issue of bridging the gap between IT and marketing by adding web developers, SEO specialists, data analysts, and front-end developers to their teams.
For digital marketing teams, scrum creates cross-functionality where individuals are exposed to different tasks besides the ones they specialize in. For example, a copywriter has the opportunity to learn a few things about SEO as team members are in constant communication during daily scrum meetings. In fact, the team members can quickly identify their strengths and weaknesses, which allows for tasks to be shared across the team. Obviously, Scrum helps digital marketers to inspect and adapt the actions taken to achieve objectives continuously.
Scrum teams can keep up with the changes in digital marketing trends without starting from the beginning. This keeps past work from becoming redundant. Inspections keep teams from wasting time as the sprint retrospective helps them identify mistakes that were made and where they were successful in ensuring the sprints’ success still to come.
Several marketers across different industries have started to adopt the agile marketing methodology to improve their marketing campaigns and delivery quality. Scrum has forced a change in how marketing campaigns are planned, managed, and executed. This has begun the scrum marketing era. theknowledgeacademy.com lists the following companies that have adopted scrum: Netflix, Adobe, Vodafone, Intel, and ING.
As mentioned before, scrum follows an agile methodology that marketers need to learn to implement scrum into the marketing strategy. There are several online courses, and now the International Institute of Digital Marketing™ is offering a certified Agile Marketing course and a certification in agile sales. To learn more, visit www.thedigitalmarketinginstitute.org.
The intense competition to gain and retain consumer attention and even loyalty has forced companies the world over to find new ways to produce quality content on time. Schelp’s marketers create content that grabs their target market’s attention, but it keeps them in touch with the issues and needs that consumers face every day while also allowing consumers to create products that appeal to them.
About the author
Naledi Mahlaba is a small, young, curious and adaptable individual packed with industrious capabilities. She holds a B.Com degree specializing in Finance and Accounting and realized a bit too late that she actually does not enjoy finance at all. She hopes to make a successful transition into the digital marketing world and of course make lots of money.