Partnering: Getting Started with the Agile Marketing Navigator

Learn about the benefits of the key practice of Partnering.



We recently introduced you to the Agile Marketing Navigator, a flexible framework for navigating agile marketing for marketers, by marketers in the article A new way to navigate agile marketing. The navigator has four major components: Collaborative Planning Workshop, Launch Cycle, Key Practices and Roles. Within these categories, there are several sub-pieces for implementation.


In recent articles we covered the Collaborative Planning Workshop and the Launch Cycle. Now we’re going to dive into the last of our 6 Key Practices: Partnering.


Partnering is about overlapping work


Years ago in software development, a practice was started called “pair programming.” This allowed two software developers to work together on the same code with the notion that two heads are better than one. Pair programming helps software developers think more innovatively and quickly solve complex problems.


We created the practice of Partnering in a similar way, but in marketing it’s more about overlapping work. Rather than having a piece of creative work fully developed by a copywriter and then put into a design, partnering allows shared understanding of the work and creative thinking from both roles, avoiding silos.


 


Getting started with partnering


Partnering can feel really strange, especially if you work at an organization that’s used to very specialized roles. The best time to get started in partnering is at the beginning of the work. If you’re using this framework and are working in defined cycles, as soon as the customer story is pulled into the cycle during Cycle Planning and the team talks about the work, partnering can happen.


Partnering can happen with any two or even three roles, but the most common ones are between writers and designers.


Here’s a story to illustrate how partnering may look from start to finish:


The team has just finished Cycle Planning and one of the stories due this cycle is for a landing page about a new training class. Several team members are involved in getting this landing page done, including a writer, a photographer, a designer and a web programmer. The team has decided on what photos the photographer will shoot and the programmer will start coding towards the end of the cycle, so they have a solid plan. Instead of the writer and designer working in turn as an assembly line, they’ll partner.


The writer (let’s call her Suzy) and the designer (Will) decide to meet together after the team has planned its work to discuss their Partnering.


Suzy says to Will, “What do you need from me to start mocking up a design?” Will says, “If you can give me the headers and approximate word count, I can fill in with fake text to test the layout.” Suzy agrees she can get the headers to him today, he’ll mock up the design and tomorrow they’ll review it together. After they see it, Suzy will continue writing copy and flushing out the design.


Benefits of Partnering


In the above example, not only did collaboration help them align on the end result, but it also helped with innovation, working iteratively (which is what agile is all about) and being able to move much faster than waiting for the completion of one item and baton handing it off to the next person. 


Think about your company. Are there roles that could begin partnering today to streamline how you work? I’ll bet you can come up with a few examples of your own.



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About The Author








Stacey knows what it’s like to be a marketer, after all, she’s one of the few agile coaches and trainers that got her start there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director and adjunct marketing professor. She became passionate about agile as a better way to work in 2012 when she experimented with it for an ad agency client. Since then she has been a scrum master, agile coach and has helped with numerous agile transformations with teams across the globe. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certs to her name than she can remember and loves to practice agile at home with her family. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she recently relocated to North Carolina where she’s busy learning how to cook grits and say “y’all.”

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