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The Cross-Functional Team Imperative with Bryan Semple

The Cross-Functional Team Imperative with Bryan Semple

 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

Bonus, check out a couple of blog posts on Agile Marketing from Bryan.

Marina Simonova and the Agile Sales Team

Marina Simonova and the Agile Sales Team

 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.

Mark Verone on Agile Marketing Operations at Gogo

Mark Verone on Agile Marketing Operations at Gogo

In this episode we talk with Mark Verone about his work adapting Agile to marketing and operations at Gogo. I initially got to know Mark through a six-part Forbes series on the topic of Agile Marketing—if you have not come across this content it’s worth a read.

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.

Spotify’s Jonathan Rasmusson Talk Agile Transformation

Spotify’s Jonathan Rasmusson Talk Agile Transformation

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.

David Lesue on Using WorkFront’s Agile Software to Manage Their Creative Group

David Lesue on Using WorkFront’s Agile Software to Manage Their Creative Group

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

Follow David’s latest on Twitter at @davidlesue and visit WorkFront for a set Agile resources. 

Finally, here’s a link to Stately Type the t-shirt company that David runs on the side. Sadly we didn’t have time to ask him about this business … next time!

Why Kanban is the Future with Denise Grey

Why Kanban is the Future with Denise Grey

We’re particularly excited to share this week’s conversation with Denise Grey who is the CMO at LeanKit—this continues our conversations about technology and tooling services that support a marketer’s Agile practice. Besides bringing a wealth of experience with both Scrum and Kanban to the conversation, Denise has a strong point of view about why Kanban is the way forward for marketers. In past episodes, I’ve spoken about why I recommend that marketers start with Kanban but I think Denise makes some great points about why it’s not just a starting point.

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • How Kanban and Scrum differ
  • Why marketers struggle with Scrum
  • What the advantages of a continuous deployment model are

It’s a fun conversation and one that we’ll likely have to continue in another session with Denise. In the meantime, check out two content pieces that will help you take your practice to the next level:  LeanKit’s Lean Business Report and their Kanban Roadmap.