We recently introduced you to Agile Marketing Navigator, a flexible framework for navigating agile marketing for marketers, a new way for marketers to navigate agile marketing in articles. The Navigator has four main components: Collaborative Planning Workshop, Launch Cycle, Key Practices, and Roles. Within these categories, there are several subsections to be implemented.
In a recent article, we introduced the Collaborative Planning Workshop and Launch Cycle. Now we’ll dive into the 4th of the 6 key practices: cycle time.
Is it taking too long to reach customers?
If your team is constantly struggling with actually reaching customers, you may be working inefficiently. For example, maybe your team is very good at publishing social posts quickly, but when it comes to email, there is a huge lag in delivery time.
Cycle time measurement is all about measuring how a particular work item type (e.g. email) goes from start to finish – finding inefficiencies in the process. The team is then collectively responsible for discussing ways to improve cycle time. In a truly agile culture, leaders allow teams to make these changes. At a more traditional company, it may not be that simple, but at least knowing the status quo can really start moving mountains.
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Does the leader realize what is holding the team back?
I’ve had leaders at a lot of companies asking why they couldn’t deliver sooner – so the team worked overtime and the magic happened. Then it happened again. Then again. Vicious circles are hard to break, but no one really addresses the underlying problem.
Too often, people are trapped in a narrow vision and see only parts of themselves when delivering work, not the whole picture.
I was working with the CMO of a company and he and other leaders in the room and we found out why it was taking so long to send emails. We discussed every step of the process, from start to finish, and looked at what went wrong.
We found that many sign-offs took days, including multiple rounds of unnecessary comments. After discovery, emails went from taking more than a month to reach customers to within a week.
How to measure Cycle Time
There are tools out there that measure Cycle Time for you, but I still believe the most impactful is to get people together in a room and have a conversation about it, and provide data backups if necessary. If you can involve everyone involved in the process and those who complain that the process is taking too long, you can quickly gain transparency and consistency.
Let’s demonstrate with an example using email. If you have a collaboration tool or a whiteboard, have everyone list the steps to complete the email from concept to delivery.