PLEON Talan

"AGILE out of IT"
Author: PLEON Talan

Agile methodology, which has been used in IT for a project management for more than 20 years, is gaining popularity in other spheres. It’s a modern way of reforming rigid and bureaucratic structures, which helps people to do their work in the best way. Even if Agile doesn’t fit your company, you should know about its principles.

This system offers fantastic opportunities for a joint work management, and is now used in different industries for different types of projects. A beauty of Agile project management techniques is a potential to ensure an efficiency in each phase, leaving flexibility and openness to change. An ability to control development and implementation while fostering innovation and creativity.

The most common Agile methodologies are Scrum and Kanban.

✔ Scrum is a structured approach to a management where the workflow is divided into equal sprints that last up to four weeks. At the beginning of an each sprint a task is formulated, at the end a result is discussed and a new sprint (iteration) begins. A project is managed by a product owner, who communicates with a customer, and a scrum master, who oversees business processes and conducts daily meetings.

✔ Kanban is a balanced approach with a clear visual component, where tasks are equally divided among team members. It was developed by Toyota managers. This method fits more organically into the work of creative and communication agencies. Instead of sprints, there are stages: planning, development, testing. Physical sticker boards or electronic boards, such as Kanban in Bitrix24, are used for a visualization. Each sticker means a task that must go through all the stages as quickly as possible. You can set a new task as soon as previous one is completed.

Each of these methods is aimed at independence of team members, increasing their personal responsibility and mutual trust. That is why companies that practice Agile technologies have been able to easily adapt to a remote work during quarantine.

With our client AMC Channel, who doesn’t have an office in Ukraine, we have been working remotely and using Scrum for a long time. As soon as it becomes known about any premiere on the TV channel, we agree on a sprint for PR support for the new product. In terms of quarters, we evaluate the results of sprints and their effectiveness. Thus, we focus on meeting the customer’s business goals. Having agreed on a sprint, our client is confident that the iteration will be successful, and online meetings once per quarter help to adjust and improve the tools for achieving goals in accordance with new realities.

AGILE in PR

The flexible methodology allows PR and marketers to keep a high pace of work, constantly and quickly respond to external conditions, and even start working on projects without a long prior planning.

Software development has a high uncertainty of the result, and it is difficult to predict it even for a typical project. First requirements change significantly during a process. In this, marketing and PR projects are very similar to IT, which means that flexible management methods that allow you to analyze and improve a product throughout the development process can be useful. What is their difference from traditional communications?

✖ The old-school PR manager draws up an annual plan, focusing on distributing press releases, holding events and publishing articles in the relevant media. But from time to time faces the need to extinguish a couple of reputable “fires”.

✔ Agial PR team will much more often set short-term goals, achieve them, review results and make further decisions based on the new situation. Such work is more volatile, has more nuances in execution, and therefore requires the authority to make special decisions, as well as closer communication within the team and with the client.

✖ Previously, to ensure a successful PR-campaign, it was necessary to cover the largest possible audience on all channels (TV, radio, press, events) simultaneously. A success was determined by a size of a budget, and an effectiveness of placement in each media was unknown.

✔ Now, with analytics tools, we can measure reach, conversions, audience engagement, and content virality. By running mini-campaigns with different creatives for different audiences, you can choose the most effective options from different iterations, and use the budget to scale the best results.

✖ Media plans, a set of regular publications on social networks on general topics do not ensure the interest of the audience to the brand.

✔ It is necessary to talk about the brand through various media in a real time, ideally going live, in the context of current events. This communication attracts a huge traffic. Yes, it is quite risky to assume an inappropriate tone or to touch a sensitive topic, so that to doom yourself to a scandal. But, if your PR-manager is a competent specialist, it will increase the engagement and interest of the audience like no press release can do.

To read:

Agilemanifesto.org

Books:

✔ Jeff Sutherland “Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time”

✔ David Anderson “Kanban: an Alternative Path to Agility”

✔ Lyssa Adkins “Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition”

✔ Scott Brinker “Hacking Marketing Agile Practices to Make Marketing Smarter, Faster, and More Innovative”

✔ Marian Zaltzman “Agile-PR”

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