Getting Started with the Agile Marketing Navigator: Cycle Planning

We recently introduced you to Agile Marketing Navigator, a flexible framework for navigating agile marketing for marketers, by marketers in the article A new way to navigate agile marketing. The navigator has four major components: Collaborative Planning Workshop, Launch Cycle, Key Practices and Roles. Within these categories, there are several sub-pieces for implementation. In recent articles, we covered the pieces in the first stop of the navigator, the Collaborative Planning Workshop. 

Now we’re going to dive into our second stop on your agile marketing journey—the Launch Cycle. The Launch Cycle is a repeatable cadence for delivering valuable marketing experiences early and often. Within the Launch Cycle there are five key components—Marketing Backlog, Cycle Planning, Daily Huddle, Team Showcase and Team Improvement. Last week we shared how to build an effective Marketing Backlog. Today we’re going to take a deeper look at Cycle Planning.

Cycle planning

During Cycle Planning, the team collaborates and plans for the work they intend to launch during a 5 or 10 day cycle. The goal is for everyone on the team to commit to what work they plan to launch and to discuss how they’re going to work together to achieve that goal. The team synchronizes timing around their work and understands everything involved to deliver customer value in this launch. 

To prepare for Cycle Planning, the Marketing Backlog should be ready for the team. Things to look for here are:

Is the work in priority order?Is the work sized by effort?Do we understand any dependencies?Do we know what success looks like for each backlog item?How will we test, learn & measure our results?The Marketing Owner should come to Cycle Planning with a Cycle Goal in mind that ladders up to the Guidepoint. This is meant to give the team guidance on what a good outcome of the cycle will look like, but not specific tasks that they will complete.

A Cycle goal may read something like this:

The above shares what the Marketing Owner hopes the team accomplishes, but the team decides what work they can do in the cycle to get there and may also have other work as well.

The team doing the work attends Cycle Planning. This may include part-time team members, or Supporting Cast people that have work in the upcoming Cycle. Stakeholders and Practice Leads shouldn’t attend unless they are contributing to the work.

The team is self-organizing in Cycle Planning. The team decides which marketing backlog items they can tackle during the cycle, and how they will accomplish the work by breaking out tasks.

At the end of Cycle Planning, all team members should know what work the team has committed to and how they all plan to approach getting it done. The Cycle Planning eliminates siloed planning and people only focusing on their tasks and brings to light collective team ownership.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Stacey knows what it’s like to be a marketer, after all, she’s one of the few agile coaches and trainers that got her start there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director and adjunct marketing professor. She became passionate about agile as a better way to work in 2012 when she experimented with it for an ad agency client. Since then she has been a scrum master, agile coach and has helped with numerous agile transformations with teams across the globe. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certs to her name than she can remember and loves to practice agile at home with her family. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she recently relocated to North Carolina where she’s busy learning how to cook grits and say “y’all.”



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