priority scrumban board example

Scrumban in Marketing

In this example, you will find how Teamhood marketing team applies Scrumban practices on day to day basis. If a refreshment of knowledge regarding Scrumban is required, check our post about what is scrumban?

We call it Scrumban because we intentionally do not apply all Scrum practices and focus on throughput (Kanban system). It’s a mix of techniques that is far from final and still is in the polishing mode. Lastly, we do not state that this is a perfect Scrumban definition, but more like a transition towards something else. Eventually it can become a text book Scrum or a text book Kanban System.

Marketing tasks scope and types

We at Teamhood focus mainly on the digital side of marketing. We have divided responsibilities and tasks based on functional areas as such:

  • Organic Search lead gen
  • PPC lead gen
  • Content
  • Mail marketing
  • Product marketing
  • One-off campaigns

To ensure the best time to market and sustain omnichannel reach with limited resources we aim to be a high-performing team.

Initially, we had dedicated classes of service (Kanban swimlanes) for each area on our Kanban boards. But as we moved towards a fully centralized prioritization workflow, we no longer care that much regarding work type but focus on which area can deliver the most. People can switch areas and help each other if possible or necessary.

Our prioritized backlog is usually around 30 items and is limited to an absolute maximum of 40. Our unprioritized backlog currently has 67 work items and is unlimited. That makes a total pipeline of 107 work items.

Strategic practices

  • Twice a year we run strategic planning session based on yearly goals to define direction and focus areas.
  • Once a month we sanity check our metrics and measure progress towards goals which are Visitors, Conversions, MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads), MQL Cost, Conversion Cost).

On demand practices

  • For now we are experimenting with on-demand prioritization as it is one of the most time consuming events. Yet we can ensure we prioritize enough work for at least 2 iterations/sprints. If need be, we can trigger prioritization in 2 business days.

For prioritization, we use RICE methodology which comes from the product management field, though we find it useful and applicable in marketing as well. A simpler alternative could be ICE, just we find better flexibility with 4 parameters instead of 3, as digital marketing spans across a variety of specific task types. Read more about the comparison of RICE vs ICE.

Scrumban in marketing
scrumban marketing

Below you can find two examples how our backlog changed from class of service to streamlined prioritization.

Prioritization board before RICE scoring: Marketing Backlog

Prioritization board with RICE scoring: Marketing Backlog with Rice

Weekly practices

  • Sprints/Iterations. We work in 1 week sprints, meaning that we plan work 1 week ahead. We chose 1 week as marketing activities require to be sensitive to changes in the field, like campaigns, external effects, etc. We have a dedicated sprints board which is separate from backlog.
  • Before every sprint we perform work planning. We use hours to estimate tasks and ensure that every person is loaded 3/4 of their total work hours leaving 25% for meetings and ad-hoc activities. To make it work, we use the workload view in Teamhood. We take work items from backlog board where those items are prioritized. For prioritization we use RICE.
  • After each sprint we review core marketing metrics like visitors, conversions and MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads).
  • After each sprint we retrospect and talk about what went well, what could be improved and which actions should we take to be better next time.
  • Every week we participate in a all-hands-on-deck meeting and present our key metrics. Meeting is called “State of the world”.

Sprint board example

Workload view example

Daily practices

  • We review each others work once it is ready.
  • For now we have only ad-hoc catchups via Teams if necessary, otherwise we do not have any fixed “standups” to talk about progress, given our short sprint of 1 week.

Sprint board example

Conclusion

Prioritization is transparent and work type no longer affects priority. A separate backlog board gives better focus during sprints. Planning is clearly separate from execution. One week is the shortest possible iteration, could be worth exploring two weeks after some time. Another thing to add is to define sprint goals, so we can ensure that our output iterations are focused on the higher business goals. For example “Increase organic conversions count”. It would mean that sprint goal is a supporting prioritization tool when cherry-picking from RICE scored backlog.

We have also just started checking our agility metrics to see if we are getting better or not. This will serve as a baseline tool to continuously evaluate and trigger improvements.

Example of agility metrics report.

actionable agile metrics

Scrumban in marketing delivered for us and we know how to progress forward. It is just a mix of practices and one can freely choose the best fit for each case. It is about sharing lessons learned and best practices discovered.

If you would like to experience the same journey and need a tool – check what Teamhood can offer.

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