In this episode we talk with Bryan Semple who serves as the GM and CMO at SmartBear (just acquired by Francisco Partners)—Bryan has a lot to say about scaling Agile at a mid-market company that’s completed many acquisitions. Actually, the fact that they’ve done some many acquisitions led to his insights around why he sees cross-functional teams as imperative. In this episode you’ll hear about:
How Bryan transitioned from functional silo (shared services) to distributed resourcing (x-functional teams)
Some key differences between engineering and marketing teams that impact Agile method
How SmartBear connects Agile planning to strategic planning
In this episode we’re expanding our horizons a bit by interviewing Marina Simonova about her work bringing the Agile approach to marketing and sales teams. Marina is a Moscow-based Agile Coach with Agile Space and has worked with more Agile sales teams than anyone else we’ve met. She’s a certified coach and Scrum Master who has found techniques for bridging the marketing / divide with Agile practices.
Marina’s recent article 10 Steps of Agile transformation of sales is a great primer on why Agile is a good fit for sales, how to get started, and what some of the most common challenges area. It fascinating to hear from a practitioner who is coming to Agile from the sales side first. In this conversation we discuss:
Why sales may be a more natural fit for Agile than marketing because of it’s focus on time-boxed iterations.
How Agile practice can help align marketing and sales
How combined sales and marketing teams are able to outperform traditional teams
Note, while Marina speaks English she chose to work with her colleague Julia Tegel who served as a translator for this episode.
In this conversation we really delve into operational aspects of Agile—Mark has a proper enterprise context that means integrating many systems that support his practice. Thus the conversation covers both marketing practices but also some of the platforms that support the practices. Mark’s team relies heavily on Jira which is interesting because many marketing teams initially struggle with more robust solutions like Jira and prefer lighter-weight applications like Asana or LeanKit. There’s some fascinating bits in here about how he’s customized workflows to support his team practice.
We also touch on why Mark’s team gravitated to Scrumban and how they’ve organized themselves with respect to aspects of the supply chain he manages. Give it a listen—as always we want your feedback! Let us know how we’re doing, what questions we should be asking, and where to take the show next.
This episode features Jonathan Rasmusson whose website Agile in a Nutshell and book The Agile Samurai inspired me to start writing The Agile Marketer. He’s been working with Spotify for a couple of years but has also worked at a range of larger enterprises mostly in the product management and engineering functions. What’s unique about Jonathan is his commitment to sharing what he’s learned with the broader community … including those outside of product management.
In this conversation we hear from Jonathan about:
how Spotify leverages Agile and how their practice continues to evolve
where the current state of Agile adoption is in context of the larger adoption/maturity cycle
why Agile transformation is so hard—especially for established companies
how Agile is truly an empowerment model
During our conversation I brought up the Cynefin framework—here’s a great overview of this decision making framework.
We talk with David Lesue who runs the creative group at WorkFront about how he uses WorkFront’s solution to support his team’s Agile practice. This is a continuation of our conversations with Agile software vendors—it’s a bit different than our past conversations, however, because David is more focused on using the solution than on developing or selling it.
David has worked as a graphic designer, UX designer, art director and creative director for over 17 years. At Workfront, he leads the creative services team (web, print, and video) as the Creative Director. Prior to Workfront, Dave held leadership roles at Omniture, RiSER Media, Brigham Young University, and Adobe. David’s background is focused on design so this conversation will be particularly relevant for marketers running creative teams or who are within the agency context. David touches on a range of topics including:
how Agile has helped his team more effectively manage the stream of incoming work requests
the importance of work estimation
why he’s chosen to focus on Scrum
how WorkFront integrates traditional workflows with Agile