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If your agile marketing team is struggling with chaos instead of taking advantage of clarity, then before you try and revert back to a conventional framework (which probably isn’t advisable and may not even be possible), here are five strategies, tactics and policies that can turn things around — and get everything and everyone back on track:

1. Set and Enforce Boundaries

Arguably nothing causes agile marketing teams to explode, implode — or often both at the same time — than a lack of effective boundaries. No, this isn’t about urging team members not to bring their pet Komodo dragon to work, nor is it about having a policy against spontaneous opera singing (although both of those are wise moves). It’s about authorizing and empowering team members to say “no”; or at least, “not right now”. Remember: if the team is at full capacity, then agile marketing is a zero-sum game. Saying yes to one task inevitably means saying no to another. It’s far better to make this no explicit than to over-promise and under-deliver.

2. Don’t Necessarily Take an All-or-Nothing Approach

Some agile marketing teams find the experience of jumping from a waterfall approach to Scrum disorienting — or in some cases, just plain terrifying. If this is the case, then teams shouldn’t revert back to a conventional framework and agree never to speak of agile again. Instead, they should consider Kanban (or Scrumban, which is a hybrid of Kanban and Scrum) as a more structured alternative.

3. Expand Visibility

Visibility is important for all types and methods of work. However, for agile marketing it’s beyond important: it’s absolutely essential. If team members cannot clearly and instantly see what their colleagues are doing, then bottlenecks, double-work, and other pitfalls are inevitable — and painful. A streamlined and simple cloud-based agile task management solution like Clarizen Go checks this box, and turns gut feels and best guesses into hard data and actionable intelligence.

4. Continuously Groom the Backlog

Backlog management is a core skill that many agile teams don’t initially realize they need — that is, until the backlog becomes an out-of-control beast. High priority tasks (those at the top of the backlog) need to be broken down and detailed, so that team members know who’s supposed to do what and when. Guessing is not an option. It’s also wise — and often mandatory — to assign a marketing owner (similar to a product owner in agile IT) who is responsible for receiving, vetting and adding items to the backlog.

5. Strategically Pad Schedules 

Many agile marketing teams rely on non-agile colleagues or customers to provide input or iterate products (e.g. websites, email campaigns, videos, infographics, ebooks, etc.). In theory, everyone does everything on time, and everyone is happy. But in reality, these stakeholders are sometimes late with their piece of the puzzle — which isn’t a big deal to them, but is a major problem for agile marketing teams that are anchored to stringent schedules and aggressive deadlines. Ideally, the solution is for all of these external sources to dial up the efficiency and accountability. But practically, the remedy is for agile marketing teams to strategically pad schedules so that possible (read: inevitable) delays will not lead to pandemonium.

Clarizen Go is used by agile marketing teams in adaptable businesses worldwide to drive clarity, focus, progress and results. Learn more by watching our brief, informative and fun video: click here.

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In the Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting guide, Gartner, Inc. provides recommendations and evaluation criteria for executives and PMO leaders assessing Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions. This guide outlines the adaptive project management and reporting process flow as well as a market review of current providers in the following categories:

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