If your CMO isn’t knowledgeable about, or bought into, agile marketing than the chances that agile will continue to gain traction in the organization and become transformative aren’t good. The big consultancies are banking on this as trusted advisors, and digital transformation guides, they have the CMO’s ear and see an opportunity to deliver value if they can get the CMO to understand how agile marketing is a competitive advantage for the company. But if your CMO isn’t engaged with a consultant there’s another option—your web team.
All customer experiences lead to your website
Your company website is your core digital experience, as such everything that marketing does ultimately drives to your website. This puts your web team in a unique position to influence other functions because they manage the core experience. They can set the terms of engagement.
In practice, web teams are service organizations that field requests from across marketing. Agile web teams know that web experiences that are developed iteratively are less risky and more focused on driving business results. Following this, they structure their internal-client engagements with an agile mindset—deliver initial value quickly and iterate towards a fully featured experience based on feedback and data.
Some internal functions and teams will balk at this initially but disciplined web teams ultimately win them over on the merits of the approach.
Why agile web teams win
Web projects have many moving parts but they are grounded in the reality that websites are software. When software teams embrace agile they’re tapping into a best practice that’s been proven over the last 25 years. Agile derisks releases, delivers results more quickly, is more focused on results, as well as the end customer’s experience—these are hard won truths that have transformed software developers into the cool kids.
If we focus on just the last ten years a parallel change took place in the marketer’s world, namely an almost 50-fold increase in marketing technologies. In other words, marketers are managing more software than ever before and, by the way, a good deal of that software connects to the website.
So if your web team isn’t leveraging agile they’re not playing the game right and there’s a good chance that other technical marketing teams aren’t either. What’s different about agile marketing, though, is that it’s not constrained to software. Websites are not only software, they bring together a cross-functional team that includes both technical and non-technical roles that need a shared process to collaborate optimally. Web teams that win facilitate this by extending agile beyond software.
The hidden multiplier effect of agile
What I, and many other marketers, have discovered is that the benefits associated with agile go well beyond having a lingua franca of shared process. The benefits of shared process are real and important but agile becomes a substrate that encourages teams to align on a range of other fronts that are often unexpected and outsized.
In my agile marketing and WebOps webinar, I share a case study from Cornell University that is emblematic of this multiplier effect. They invested in adopting agile practices, and agile tooling to support those practices, with the stated goal of driving results through a shared process and governance model. They achieved those goals but drive an even bigger value proposition:
One of the bigger benefits is how it’s aligning the institution, we’re all coming together around a common way of presenting information
– Rebecca Joffrey, IT Innovation Officer
Across hundreds of university websites, Cornell’s story and branding became incrementally more consistent over time. In short, a community of shared practice creates a venue for collaboration, and alignment, on everything from storytelling to innovation. While it’s still a minority of cases where agile transformation is driven from the bottom up, when it happens there’s a good chance that the web team made it happen.