"There's way too much work! This is unreasonable!" You'll commonly hear this at the tail-end of a project or campaign when it's crunch time. But what if you're someone who hears it all the time? What can be done to alleviate the constant burden of being overloaded?
The answer is Agile.
Agile is a methodology for project management — a process for managing work that is characterized by constant iteration, constant improvement, and collaboration in order to more fully answer a customer’s needs.
The Core Values of Agile
Back in 2001, a group of 17 software developers gathered to create a guideline for building software that focused primarily on delivering value to the customer and end-user. They wrote these principles down in the Agile Manifesto, a formal document containing the four core values and 12 principles for developing software.
The Agile Manifesto is a guide not a tactical document, and as such does not provide you with a how-to. Instead it focuses on what to prioritize as your product is being built. For example, two of the four core values are: "individuals and interactions over processes and tools" and "responding to change over following a plan."
When you put Agile's values into practice, you get a framework (Scrum being one of the more popular ones) wherein a team can embrace uncertainty and creativity at the same time. There is structure around the learning process, making it easy to duplicate success. And teams gain the tools to self-organize and rapidly improve the speed and quality of their work.
Agile's benefits are real. In our 2016 Agile Marketing Report where we surveyed over 800 marketers, 79% of those who say they practice Agile found that their meetings were extremely valuable vs. only 46% in those who don't practice Agile.
More importantly, Agile contributes to greater work satisfaction. In marketers who practiced Agile, 63% were very satisfied with their work versus only 26% in those who didn't use Agile at all.
Procurify: Better Visibility in Sprints
Before Wrike, this purchasing software startup was struggling with missed deadlines as the team started to scale.
They implemented Scrum and held two-week-long sprints in an effort to handle the deluge of work. But because other groups were using different platforms, there was no easy way for teams to see what others were doing. And there were no clear priorities.
Result: missed deadlines and inefficiency. It took a painful lesson — a deliverable that missed its deadline — to push them to look for a tool that could unify everyone's efforts under one system.
Today, Wrike gives them that visibility and the ability to collaborate across different teams.
"By having a central tool to manage the whole process," says Eugene Dong, Co-Founder and CTO of Procurify, "we're able to actually see what individuals are doing and if it completely matches our company goals."
How Wrike Enhances Their Visibility
Procurify now organizes their workflows into a Dashboard that acts as their Kanban board. Task statuses are color coordinated and can be dragged into the various columns of their workflow.
"It's now so much easier to do our daily Scrum because everyone is aware of how many tickets are still left open," says Carol Huang, Customer Success.
"Since we've implemented Wrike," says Dong, "individually we've all saved at least 6 hours a week by cutting out all those extra coordination meetings we were holding."
Tactus: 80% Shorter Scrum Periods
Tactus is a tech company that develops innovative touch screens with unique physical buttons that can appear or disappear onscreen as needed.
But as the company increased the speed with which they were executing, communication wasn't as effective. This led to delays, and longer Scrum periods.
The Activity Stream in Wrike became a quick way for people to see what was going on throughout the company.
"Updating colleagues happens instantly without waiting for the next face-to-face, which makes collaboration between scheduled meetings much easier,” says Curtis Ray, VP of Engineering at Tactus.
End result: they shortened their Scrum period from an entire week to only one day.
Lightspeed: Clearer Weekly Priorities
Lightspeed POS provides cloud-based point-of-sale systems for retail, restaurants, and independent businesses.
But with the company growing to six offices worldwide and over 600 employees, their marketing team was struggling to handle all the incoming work and hand tasks off properly to the right colleagues.
How Wrike Clarifies Incoming Work
With Wrike, Lightspeed's marketing team now conducts its weekly Agile sprints much more efficiently, because their deluge of requests is tamed by a crystal clear work intake form. Now all requests have a clear creative brief attached to them, allowing the team to better communicate when it can be delivered.
"We were getting requests all the time with unreasonable deadlines," says Katelyn Good, Manager of Marketing Strategy & Implementation at Lightspeed. "And this allows us to give people the right expectations. It really developed that culture of planning... It really forced our team to think beyond their one task."
If it isn't obvious yet, Agile teams are able to improve the quality of their work, while accomplishing their work at a faster pace. All because they can better align on priorities despite a large amount of work. Furthermore, teams that use Agile processes are more satisfied with how they manage work.
Just make sure you have the right tool that can help you track work and direct your entire team toward a common goal.
Learn more about the benefits of Agile in our ebook: How Marketers Get Things Done: The State of Agile Marketing.