Room 301 Podcast 010 – Leading A Team Through Marketing Sprints

Posted on: June 23, 2023

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Rob Twells

Rings

Join Rob Twells as he talks with Bee Craft (Head of Performance Marketing at Golf Breaks) and she spills the tea on leading teams through sprints. Get the inside scoop on goal setting, killer communication, and keeping the team motivated. Bee’s adaptability and collaboration tips will have you sprinting like a pro!

If you’re a marketing leader, Bee’s got must-hear advice for implementing sprints. Don’t miss this episode packed with actionable tips and tricks to level up your sprints!

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Podcast Transcripton

0:00:03 – Rob Twells
right, we are back room 301 podcast. I’m joined today by B, who is head of performance marketing at Golf Brogues Golf Brogues.

0:00:16 – Bee Craft
Welcome B. How are you? Hello, really good, thanks, rob.

0:00:21 – Rob Twells
Thank you, thanks for inviting me to be a podcast, No problem at all. Would you like to give yourself a quick break? So yeah, worth going over your history and how you got to the R1 now.

0:00:34 – Bee Craft
Yeah, so I’m, yeah, so work at Golf Breaks.

I have been in the business for a long time 10 over 10 years So I originally started as a placement student and returned as a grad, always worked in marketing and in more of a digital space.

So I’ve seen a lot of change over the years. I’ve seen us go from, you know, being predominantly to Scandi and US and then all of the challenges that come with that, so always worked in sort of more of the content SEO background and then, as the years have gone on, i’ve taken on more channels under my wing and then taking on more of that performance role and that a bit more context around. That is looking at how all of the channels feed into our website and looking at how we can get to the best in class platforms and also working with, alongside our digital analysts and then our head of digital as well, looking at the best in class platforms and how we can utilize them as a marketing team, um, and so, as you can imagine, there’s lots of different um tasks and responsibilities that we have that we need to manage um, according to Right, Well, I have.

0:01:48 – Rob Twells
My first question was going to be performance marketing. How would you describe that? which would you describe as a marketing development? We are going to talk about something that’s fairly new to me from a marketing point of view. My background is actually in software development, So the idea of sprints is is quite normal for me in a previous life, but not in a marketing sense. So we are going to talk about marketing sprints today. I know it’s something that you’ve implemented very successfully in your role. So My first question is with the sprint process having gained quite a lot of popularity in various industries, what for you, given you manage a team which needs a lot of management and collaboration, what for you makes it an effective approach to manage your to you and your workloads?

0:02:38 – Bee Craft
Well, i think, as I touched upon before, we have lots of different stakeholders across the business who have lots of different requests.

So, my team we look at the content on the website.

we look after the SEO, so that is, optimizing the site, the onsite, as in content-wise, but also technically so working with the developers, looking after the email team as well, so, make sure, looking at the emails that we send out, and then also looking at all of those channels coming in, also PPC as well and paid social. So ultimately, there are so many different areas that we need to cover and with that means that we like organization and prioritization is critical. And we got to a point where I felt like I was saying, no, we can’t do that because we’re too busy, and I was too busy to look at why we were too busy. So it was really difficult for stakeholders around the business to understand why we were so busy when I was like I don’t have time to actually spell out to you why we’re so busy. So introducing this process basically made that so much easier for me, because I would be planning things anyway, but it just put more of a process behind it and a prioritization to manage that workload.

0:03:56 – Rob Twells
essentially, So do you lead the sprint meetings or is it someone else on your team?

0:04:02 – Bee Craft
So how it works is I’m. So. There’s three roles essentially, in a sprint, you have the scrum master, you have the product owner and you have the team members. In an IT context, that would be the developers, but in, like the marketing context, that’s basically the team. So, whether they’re working in SEO, content, email, my role is more of the product owner role and what that means is that I take all of our tasks, all of the requests from around the business, and I prioritize those in a backlog.

So I look at you know, what are we trying to achieve as a marketing team, what is the business trying to achieve, and prioritize that backlog accordingly and then build that into sprints. We then also have the scrum master, who is basically in charge of implementing best practice and making sure that we’re all in line, all following the process correctly, but still providing a bit of flexibility, because you know you can’t do. You need to be able to adapt the process as well, and I think that was one of the concerns about scrum introducing scrum and sprints to the marketing team, which you know we like to be creative and we like to be seen, as you know, have being free spirits and then we’re adopting this very process driven more IT function. So there does also need to be a little bit of an adaption there, but still following some of those best practices which need to be followed to make it a success.

0:05:26 – Rob Twells
Sure, Yeah, and then do you typically find that you still have resource issues with sprints, or do you find that because you’re prioritizing, because you’re very clear on the sort of resource you have, that is sort of eradicated by the sprint process?

0:05:43 – Bee Craft
I think in any business there will always you could say, if I had more people I could deliver this. So there’s always going to be resource challenges in terms of how much the team can deliver. What it really helps with is showing based on the amount of hours that we have. So we work in two weeks sprint.

So based on these two weeks I can see how much time, how many hours, our team have available. So that might be that takes into account any meetings that they have. So we’ll take that out of their available hours. You know no one’s going to work at 100%, you just can’t. You know people won’t be allowed to have a toilet break or go and have a coffee or just have a bit of walk away from their desk. So take into their velocity into account, and then you know like anything else that might impact it, and then we have their available hours and we can then plan the workload accordingly. Based on what they have planned, those individual tasks. We estimate how long they’ll take And then what that means is that we can manage expectations from around the business.

So if someone says to me right, you need to get this task done, which is going to be 50 hours, and then I can look at the team and say, well, if we’re going to do that, then this has got to give our. Is the business prepared for that? So it makes it helps us understand what resource we have. But then also have those conversations. It’s really easy for me to say, look, if you gave me an extra person, i can give you this amount and we could achieve this, but without that we can’t do that. So it actually. It does identify resource challenges, but helps you manage them and manage that workload accordingly, whereas before we were kind of running around a little bit like headless chickens trying to manage everything. So yeah, from a resource perspective, it gives more transparency.

0:07:35 – Rob Twells
Ultimately, No, i personally love the sound of this And it’s definitely something that I should be stealing from you and implementing our own business, i believe, but no, anybody leading a marketing function or marketing directors, marketing managers, whatever you want to call it. A big part of that role is managing stakeholder expectations, and I think this is such a clever way of doing that in terms of that prioritization, explaining that if you want this doing, actually this might have to give. What’s the overall impact on the business? all that kind of stuff And also, when you’re making hiring decisions as well, if you’ve got a clear, structured list of you know things that need doing and what order they need to be done in, does it make an impact on the business if we add another head into this team to get more done in one time And that’s yeah, it’s all.

It’s all really really clever, isn’t it? Honestly, it seems like a no brainer, and I’m surprised that you’re one of the only persons that I’ve actually spoke to about this and that has actually implemented this And it’s clearly. It’s clearly doing what you want it to do. So just diving into sprints a bit more, then. So how would you to do that? Do you typically define the goal and objectives of each sprint, and what sort of factors do you consider And does it feed into a wider marketing plan? Do you plan any more than that two weeks you mentioned ahead, or is it simply two weeks sprints?

0:08:54 – Bee Craft
So with us, as part of the sprint process, what we do is I will always set the sprint goals. I will set the sprint goals for the team based on what we need to achieve, so if we have a big project going on. So at the moment we’re in a stage where we have onboarded lots of new platforms well, three new platforms And with that requires migration of content. So one of the most recent examples being a dam And what that means is we have to migrate all of our assets from one place to the new dam. That is quite monotonous work, but I know that as a business we have to get that done. That is a business objective. So what I then do is I will plan accordingly in each sprint how many hours that we’ve based on all of the other items that we have to do as a marketing team. We have to action. How many hours can we realistically do based on that? So, for example, my most recent spring goal is doing at least as a team, 15 hours of migration over to our new dam.

So I look at basically what the business needs, so those wider business projects, but then I also look at the marketing goals. So, for example, if we’ve got a campaign that I know that is launching. I need to make sure that we planned in all of that work accordingly to make sure that that campaign hits that deadline And that will be one of the sprint goals. And the sprint goals are the things that you know we really need to strive to achieve as a team during that two weeks. But I will always be thinking about the sprints ahead as well. So, for example, if it is a big project like the dam project that we have, if we’ve got an overarching deadline of that needs to be live in three months, i’ll have to plan to make sure that we hit that deadline. So it’s taken into account. Business objectives, then marketing objectives as well when looking at those items, and also just business as usual, like those things. You know you can’t let slip the business as usual tasks, so it’s it’s also taken into account.

0:10:59 – Rob Twells
No, of course it’s. I think one of the challenges that you’re you’re leading any function as you are is is how to balance the time between short term and long term goals. And I think if you’re playing that role of the product owner, you’ve got a nice sort of bird’s eye view of what we can do in the short term but also what we need to do in the long term. And again, I think sprints are a really good way of combat in that sort of challenge as well. So you can tell my fan, can’t you? So I’m sure you know communication throughout plays a massive role. And again, if it’s OK with you, it would be great if you could go into detail in terms of the meeting structures you have and how often you touch base as a team during those sprints, But, first of all, any tools that you have in mind that help with communication. And what does that meeting structure look like, How often do you touch base the team and you know report on progress and sort out the next sprint, and so on and so forth.

0:11:54 – Bee Craft
Yeah, So how we are the tool that we use to manage the sprint so everyone can see exactly what they’re working on every single day that they come in. Over the two weeks We use a sauna. So that is, you know, a standard project management tool, but it works really well for us as a marketing team. And that is where we can also tag up particular tickets so I can see, you know, how much time we’re spending in a particular era, whether that be content optimization, you know, whether that be the dam project or whatever. So I can tag all of that up.

And so what we do in terms of comms is we have a daily stand up And that is first thing in the morning 15 minutes. It never goes over 15 minutes because we want to keep people engaged. And that is an opportunity for people to then say this is what I worked on yesterday, This is what I’ve got coming up, I’ve got this blocker. I can’t move this ticket forward unless that gets blocked. Can anyone help me with that? But also to say I’m really going to struggle to get this ticket over the line. Does anyone else have any capacity that they can help me with this ticket? So as collectively, as a team, we can hit this goal. So it’s a really nice way of just touching base without it being meeting upon meeting, knowing that will only be that 15 minutes. Like everyone knows exactly what they’re getting out of that?

0:13:19 – Rob Twells
How many people are on that? That’s very impressive. to keep it to 15 minutes, yeah, i know.

0:13:25 – Bee Craft
And it can be a challenge, but you learn to adapt. So, in terms of our team, we’ve probably got about eight Our IT team and that is just within my area. There are wider people within the marketing team who don’t follow the sprint process, which is also a challenge within itself, but maybe cover that a bit later. But so the IT team they’re bigger, they have lots more people, but it just always is that 15 minutes And you just know to keep it to the point and you know what to cover rather than go. And if it’s a case of actually could I have a call after this to go through that rather than keep everyone?

on the call about something that doesn’t doesn’t cut, you know, isn’t doesn’t bother other people or isn’t part of their remit. Because it’s quite easy to do also, Like all of a sudden you’re sitting on a call talking about something that’s nothing to do with your role. So by having that standard it just really helps. Everyone knows kind of what they need to get out of it.

0:14:25 – Rob Twells
And presumably that’s all done remotely for the most part.

0:14:29 – Bee Craft
For the most part yeah so our scrum master, he is remote. He’s full-time remote anyway, so we do tend to all go on that. But just with hybrid working it just makes sense and it’s so much easier with teams to be able to do that. So that’s another form of comms that we use. See teams, it’s really easy. But Asana, you can actually talk to people via the tickets app mention people in those. So that really helps from that perspective.

0:14:56 – Rob Twells
Perfect, and you mentioned there if some people are struggling with a particular ticket or task or anything like that, so I know one of the things that is unavoidable is changes, disruptions, delays and so on. how do you typically handle them? Is it a simply shifting it forward to the next sprint, or is there anything you’ve got in mind for that?

0:15:20 – Bee Craft
Yeah, so it is a challenge, but it was way more challenging before. We had sprints. There are things that are gonna come up last minute and you need to be able to adapt. So if something comes in that is super urgent, it’s really easy for me to have a conversation with people and say, look, if this needs to come in, then this is gonna be the knock on impact on these other tickets that we had planned. Are you happy with that? Or I’d go to my boss, are you happy with that? Or I’d go to the business. Look, this project is actually gonna be delayed because we’ve had this request. Are we all happy with that?

And then everyone knows exactly where we’re at, rather than me trying to shoehorn something in and then risk of the team getting burned out, which is and that’s one of the big things of sprints is just managing that resource to get as much as you can out of a team, but in a comfort, so that they’re comfortable, so they don’t feel that they have to be working until midnight on a particular project. Don’t get me wrong. There’s some times that you do all need to chip in, but because it’s not happening, all the time you get more of a buy-in because people feel respected and it keeps motivation up, just people knowing that these are the hours that I’ve got and there’s more willingness to chip in, rather than if they feel like this is happening all the time, like I’m so like burnt out and everything. So it’s really good from that perspective.

0:16:48 – Rob Twells
Yeah, and it’s superstructure as well, isn’t it? So when the team’s concerned, they don’t have to worry too much about what to do and when and the sort of project management side of it. And, as you say, the vast majority of these people are creative people. Certainly, in my experience, they’re less concerned about time frames and would rather do the things that they have to sell out and what they’re good at. Has that been an issue at all? Has that sort of rigidness in terms of the structure been an issue? Had any pushback on that, or?

0:17:17 – Bee Craft
Yeah, well, i think from maybe a more of a stakeholder, wider, just like stakeholder perspective, if you say to them we can’t do that like, or we don’t have capacity, then they’re like well, sometimes you need to have flexibility And it’s just still quite easy for me to have the conversation and say that’s fine, but the business has said to me no, we need to focus on that. So it makes those conversations easier. It’s probably more challenging for people who don’t work in sprints to understand it, because it does seem and it is adopting an IT process, so it’s that education piece around it to say, but this is working really well for the team and look at all of this output, and you know. So from that perspective it makes those conversations more comfortable in a weird way, because before if I just said we’re too busy to do that, then it would be like well, why are you too busy.

It’s quite difficult to explain why you’re so busy, but this you can literally show them like. This is everything the team’s working on. So you know, deal with it.

0:18:29 – Rob Twells
Is that all set up in quite a visual way then?

0:18:32 – Bee Craft
Yeah, so in Osana it’s great And we also do like end of each two-week sprint our scrum master. He’s an IT project manager, but we’ve adopted him in marketing, so I hope we don’t have a take him back We have something to do it, but I’m like, please don’t.

So he will send the stats pack at the end and then it really clearly shows how long we’ve spent, how, what the team have, the hours they’re put in. have we hit the sprint goals? where has our time been spent? And we see that over, and then it just also shows it over the year as well, so we can kind of see and we’re managing the content for both UK and the US website So we can look at our split of time based on.

you know, uk is our cash cow, but also US is our area of huge growth. That is more in a startup phase, although it’s sort of more kind of five, six, seven years old now. but you know how they approach things quite different. So I need to make sure that as a team, we’re spending the right amount of time in each business unit from that perspective. So there’s lots of things there that I look at and analyze after each sprint to make sure that you know we are focusing on the right area, cause sometimes, if you’re in the moment as well, you don’t realize how much actually I’m a baby. we’re spending too much time in this area and we shouldn’t?

we should look at how we can make that more efficient.

0:19:58 – Rob Twells
Yeah, no. I have to say it seems like you’re. you’re very aligned with the company’s sort of strategic objectives And I think any marketing department in-house or even agency, whatever it might be having that awareness of what the strategic direction of the business is and what their priority is is massively important. How do you sort of keep yourself up to speed with that? Do you sit on a leadership team or anything like that, or is it sort of available company-wide? How do you make sure that you are working towards the company goals effectively?

0:20:27 – Bee Craft
Yeah, so we’ve got we’ve got different meetings. So, for example, we have like a monthly digital strategy meeting and that is where we sit down with the leadership and you know our directors and you know we share updates on whether that be on experimentation, progress That’s one of the newer platforms we’ve brought on board and we look at that. But then also I we have like monthly what we call our product meetings, which is where we just look at results, sales results and everything. And I’m in a lot of those meetings. So it’s my responsibility as product owner to communicate that with the rest of the team, who won’t be in as many of those meetings. And I do that through the sprint goals And that’s really important actually for team buy-in and motivation for them to know actually the stuff that they’re doing is contributing to these goals and the business.

And I always look to try and get give exposure to the team as well. So you know, especially if they’re doing something quite monotonous, like you know, having to spend 15 hours moving assets or whatever, like that can be a bit demotivating. So it’s, it’s, it’s the fact that it’s a goal. We check in on the goal. How’s everyone feeling? you know, just keeping people motivated towards that and say you know our directors, they really appreciate what you’re doing And and you know that’s that’s my responsibility to communicate that with them, to help with the motivation of the team.

0:21:56 – Rob Twells
Now that makes sense. That’s, yeah, super important. I think any anybody in any form of management or leadership position. I think making sure that the wider business or the wider stakeholders have awareness of what’s going on is massively key. Keeping things hidden is never the right thing to do, and having this sprint and having it all visual in a sauna it sounds like that allows you to give that awareness to the, to the wider business and what the impacts are in it. Overall, i imagine that just helps you make better marketing, better spend decisions, better hiring decisions as well.

0:22:29 – Bee Craft
Yeah, absolutely. It really helps with those decisions And I’ve, i’ve used the and I just it sounds like when I say I’ve used the data from the sprints, it makes it sound like it’s almost like keeping tabs on people.

And that is actually a really important, a really important part of the adoption of this, because it is a change to how people work And you don’t want people to feel like this new process has come in place to keep tabs on them and make sure that they’re spending the right amount of hours and stuff.

There is an element of making sure that we are working on the right things and that you’re getting the best out of your people, but ultimately it is there to protect their resource, and that’s what I say to them. This is to protect your resource, so you’re not being pulled in lots of different directions, and to keep you motivated, keep you on track. You come in every day, like every person in the team comes in every day and knows exactly what they can work on, and it’s down to them to then. They do have autonomy over their tickets and what they work on to an extent, unless there’s a deadline and they know that it needs to be done by tomorrow. But they can control how they work in those two weeks sprint, so it’s not super rigid, that they have no flexibility, and that gives them some control over it as well.

0:23:42 – Rob Twells
Like I say definitely, i will be taking this and I’ll be running with it. I think I could talk about it all day because I don’t know how we did it before.

0:23:52 – Bee Craft
Honestly, i just don’t know how we managed to function, and we were lucky that we did introduce this before COVID Just before COVID, when, all of a sudden, everything went into lockdown and we were in the middle of building a brand new website and launching a new website. So for us, that meant that we could carry on throughout COVID. Everyone came in, knew exactly what they were working on because we had these tasks that were given to them. Everyone still kept that team motivation during a time which was nobody knew what was going on And it was all very uncertain, So the fact that we managed to get that in place before that really helped us throughout that period as well.

0:24:34 – Rob Twells
I can imagine actually taking ourselves back to COVID, which is probably not the most ideal thing to do, but I imagine the fact that you’re all touching base every single day, so everyone was seeing the future of a dive and it probably felt like you know, a lot of businesses I spoke to, and ourselves included, we felt like we lost that collaboration, we lost that sort of team spirit as COVID had begun, because we all came from an office environment.

We had quite a busy, busy office to working from home And it was like, well, we were trying to shoehorn calls in to make sure that everyone spoke to each other and stuff like that, and a lot of them didn’t really have a purpose behind them. We were talking about what we had for tea and all sorts of stuff like that. But you was very, very purpose driven. Clearly, everyone had a reason to jump on a 15 minute call in the morning, get that sort of human interaction that everyone needed during COVID, and I imagine that worked really well for you And it was really quite organic as well, didn’t feel forced or anything like that. So, time wise, it’s not like you’ve picked the perfect time for it, to be honest, exactly, and it meant that we could actually get resource from other areas of the business.

0:25:35 – Bee Craft
So, for example, our tournaments team. We have a group of amazing people in there And they were obviously they couldn’t go out and run tournaments. Everything was cancelled, so we brought them into the sprints And it was really easy to bring new people into the sprints. It took them a little bit of getting used to, but then they came in. They had a purpose, they weren’t just on furlough, they could contribute to the new website launch And from that perspective it’s really easy to move people in and then out again. So it’s really adaptive, adaptable from that perspective. And then getting them on, and we always made sure a rule was that we had our cameras turned on, which is actually less like it I have.

I have battles with the it lot when, i have calls with them because they all hide behind, They don’t like their cameras on. But yeah, we always made sure that we did that, just so that people you know were felt they could see each other.

0:26:28 – Rob Twells
They’re rather than just speaking to a picture.

I think that’s really important. I think there’s a lot of good. You know absolutely good reasons why people don’t have that cameras on, but for me, the benefits you know the, the feeling of human interaction, also just understanding people’s body language, the head nods that you don’t see it’s really super important. So, just taking it back a bit then B. So how did this all come about? Was it? was it your brain child? Did you approach the business with this? and what advice would you have for anybody else in your position? because the typical listener of this podcast is somebody managing a team and in-house marketing function and they might think about you know, taking this approach to the senior leadership team or board or whatever it might be, and ask for the blessing on this sort of process. Should we say so, what would what would your advice be there? and was it your brain child to begin with?

0:27:22 – Bee Craft
So, I work very closely with the IT and sort of like the more digital function, the digital function that sits within the IT, so in charge of the project, or you know bringing the new product in and you know working closely with them, to say these are our requirements, can you build that? So I knew that it worked for them and we actually brought our IT project manager on board around a similar time and we would. I was always in those conversations about sprints and I, because I work closely with them and we would often have to work together. I would often have conversations with them saying, well, i don’t, i don’t, we’re too busy, we can’t do that or we won’t be able to do that in time for you. And so I was just from conversations with them and they you know some of the guys there said I think that this will be really good for you. And the IT project manager said this works, this has been known to work really well in marketing and so read more into it.

0:28:24 – Rob Twells
So I can’t take full credit for it, but I will take a bit, because I just take it, just take it Yeah exactly, but I could just see.

0:28:33 – Bee Craft
I could see how it would work and it solved a massive problem or a massive issue that we had, which was just managing workloads. And because there was, you know, there was articles out. There were articles out there about how it works really well for marketing and that was what God I forget with Covid like that was not four or five years ago now that that that was out there but not many people were adopting it. And I did also see a. It was one of the online conferences. I saw someone else talking about scrum for marketing and the benefits of it.

So from that perspective, i was very lucky that our IT project manager was is great and he’s really good at explaining, you know, the processes and the efficiencies and how it should be done, and that’s one of the key things that I would say. You need to have everyone’s buy in. So explaining why it’s important is change management to an extent, like. So you need to make sure that everyone’s on board, you explain it clearly and explain the benefits to the team as to why it’s going to benefit. And, you know, make sure you do have to spend a bit of time setting up so, for example, the Asana board, to make sure that you have those processes in place once you’ve done all of that, it comes your bread and butter like it’s not.

0:29:55 – Rob Twells
There are some things that you need to learn, like story pointing and everything because I know I know a lot of people that run scrums and they dropped the story, pointing actually in favour of simple time measurements and stuff like that. So do you see the point in and do you really are quite you really taken the IT approach?

0:30:18 – Bee Craft
Yeah, and to the story pointing the story pointing. At first we were like I don’t, i have no idea what’s this. I’m kind of like I think it’s this. But it becomes really natural and the reason why the story pointing work is just another way of measuring that site, the size of a task in terms of, like, uncertainty.

0:30:37 – Rob Twells
It’s complexity, isn’t it?

0:30:40 – Bee Craft
Yeah, for just anyone listening story pointing is it represents.

0:30:44 – Rob Twells
I mean, maybe you’re probably better off explaining than me, but size and complexity, is that fair?

0:30:50 – Bee Craft
Yeah, yeah, essentially, And we still do estimate the hours. That’s really important because that’s an easy way to kind of see the size of a task and just look at those available hours, And then what we do is also mark the actual. So if someone’s estimated that it’s going to be 10 hours but actually they’ve managed to do it in eight, that’s a learning for the next time that actually we could do more in that time. So that element is still really important And we do still adopt the story pointing, But I do agree like it’s probably something that if you do struggle with you could drop. It’s just something that still works for us.

0:31:28 – Rob Twells
No, absolutely So. In terms of, i mean for you. I imagine it was quite easy because it was already been implemented elsewhere in the business, wasn’t it? But if you know other marketing leaders listening to this podcast, what advice would you have for them taking it to their stakeholders in terms of implementing that? I suppose it’s as simple as explaining the benefits, isn’t it?

0:31:49 – Bee Craft
It is, but it’s also explaining the challenges. Like, from my perspective, as I mentioned earlier, the challenges were that we were being pulled in all directions, we couldn’t facilitate all of the work that was being requested And we were letting people down, and that’s the worst, you don’t know. You know, I don’t like saying no to people And I don’t like the thought of the team letting others down, and but also I don’t like to see my team demotivated, and that’s a really important thing. So I wanted to protect their resource And so it was quite an easy conversation by selling the benefits. These are the challenges And I think that this process is going to solve those, and it has.

So I think it’s also being really clear with, say, you know, if you are speaking to more creative people of, yes, this is an IT process, but this is some amazing examples where it’s worked for marketing, and there is stuff out there There’s lots of stuff out there now where more people are adopting it, lots of examples where it works really well. So it’s actually, you know, taking that and but also adapting it to what works for you. So, for example, our sprints for the IT lot are from JIRA And that’s probably not quite right for us because that is quite you know. You know that is better suited to that way of working And that’s why ASANA which is more visual, it’s more colorful, it’s a bit more creative like it, you know, it kind of manages more of those creative tasks worked better for us. So it’s fine with those things that work for your team as well. But yeah, just it. Hopefully it would be quite an easy conversation.

0:33:32 – Rob Twells
We’re telling you to look at this Because it’s just improving processes.

0:33:35 – Bee Craft
It’s improving processes and efficiencies, So like I could tell you exactly what my team have been working And it’s also really easy to give updates. This is what the team have achieved last month, because I can just go back through the boards, because it’s often quite difficult to recall off the top of your head if someone said what the team been working on. it’s quite difficult to get to remember. I can just go back through the sprints, which are all. so we have a board each sprint.

0:34:01 – Rob Twells
So that’s where people can see their tasks. Do you keep the histories in place?

0:34:06 – Bee Craft
Yeah, we archive the old boards so it could always go back and see what we’ve worked on.

0:34:11 – Rob Twells
Cool. Well, i have to say, be this has been. I think people will find this probably one of the most insightful episodes that we’ve done, because it’s so actionable, and I think there’ll be a lot of people listening to this who take this idea and adopt it, or at least take some parts of the framework and move forward with it, because of the structure, the organization around it. I think I speak to marketing leaders day in, day out. It’s what I do for a living.

We offer clients our performance marketing services, and the same challenges come to me day in, day out is the reason they need our service because they’re lacking the resource internally and they’re managing all different priorities and the CEO wants this, and the sales director wants this, and the sales director wants this, and I think this makes it such an easy way to, in some cases, turn down requests internally but also visually show why you haven’t to do that.

Not because you’re being horrible about it or you’ve got a preference to somebody. it’s simply because you’ve got proud of the business and you’ve only got a certain finite amount of resource. So I think this is a really good approach and, like I say, i think a lot of people rule with this, so really grateful for your time. The last question I’ve got with that in mind with a lot of people I imagine we’ll take this approach and run with it. Are there any sort of specific insights or experiences that you’ve got to help people in those early phases of running sprints and what challenges they might face in the early stages, and any parting words of wisdom effectively for anybody looking to approach this?

0:35:44 – Bee Craft
Yeah, i think I’ll. I mean I might repeat myself, but it’s just being committed to it. It’s, you know, once again, getting the buy-in It’s. But I can’t emphasize enough how important just getting those processes in place and spending time, because at the end of the day, everyone is going to be spending time planning workloads, so this just adds more of a process to it. So I would always say plan out what the team need to work on.

But it was maybe less frequent or, you know, you kind of expect people to know what they were working, what they should be working on. So it’s just making sure that you have spend time setting up, getting to understand it. It’s not super complex at all, but just that early phase to make sure that you get the, you adopt it correctly, because it is a bit of a change to how you might currently work And unless you sort of get those processes in place and get a really good scrum master who understands the process, so whether that be someone internally who learns about it, i don’t know. Like, if you want to just adopt, like, get the buy-in first, like if your resources and your budget is limited, someone who can just go for a course or something or just read about it.

First, because that’s so important, else, unless you’ve got someone who says we should be doing it like this and these are the best practice and this is why we’re doing it, then you’re going to struggle, i think, to get it off the ground.

0:37:17 – Rob Twells
Yeah, and there’s no two ways about it. There is a front-loaded time investment to all of this. But from what I’ve heard today, i think most people will agree that it’s definitely worth that investment.

0:37:29 – Bee Craft
It will save so much time and it saves so much of my time, like, just planning those two-week sprints is so much quicker than you know, thinking about a whole month’s worth of work or anything And that’s one thing that we found as well with two weeks worked perfectly for us as a team. We tried doing it longer, we tried doing it shorter and we found that sweet spot. So it is about finding what works for you as well. So be open to that. Like there’s, you know, although there are certain things that you should follow for the best adoption, you can also adapt. So find out what works for you.

0:38:03 – Rob Twells
Yeah, absolutely. I think every business is very different. Everyone employs different people. So, yeah, I think just because there’s a framework doesn’t mean it has to be completely rigid to your business. So really appreciate it. I don’t know if you want to just spend a minute or two just talking about golf breaks and just explaining what that is. I’m sure a few golfers listening.

0:38:24 – Bee Craft
Yeah, so golf breaks is a. We sell golf breaks, holidays, all across the world, so UK, across Europe, further afield, the likes of Thailand, mauritius and lovely destinations. So we’re actually in our 25th year this year, founded in 1998 by Andrew Stanley, who’s still, very much, you know, the soul of the company. We’re celebrating actually this weekend at Celtic Manor, so one of our resorts in Wales, so we’ve got a bit of a birthday bash. So, yeah, the largest golf tour operator.

And you know we have gone from selling, you know being UK based and branching out to the US and Scandinavia as well. So, and also selling tournament experiences. So we’ve got the open coming out for recent in July, selling the masters. So yeah, we’re going from strength to strength. And what we found is that unless golfers are told that they can’t go on a golf break because of COVID or something that physically stops them from going, then they don’t tend to sacrifice their golf breaks, which is great. And we’ve seen it go from strength to strength. The bounce pack has been phenomenal after such a terrible year, so it’s great to see us go from strength to strength.

0:39:47 – Rob Twells
Amazing, fantastic, lovely. Well, like I say, be really appreciate it. I hope everyone has found this episode insightful. I certainly have a massive learning experience from Ah.

0:39:58 – Bee Craft
I hope so, and if anyone has any questions, reach out to me Yeah, absolutely I could talk about it all day. I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to sprints, which I never thought I’d say.

0:40:09 – Rob Twells
When something helps you so much, which it clearly has, how can you not be a geek, as you say, about it? But look, i’ll leave all your details in the in the show notes, and, yeah, feel free to reach out. So, look, thank you all for listening and we will see you.

A Podcast for Marketing Directors & Marketing Leaders

Room 301 is a monthly marketing podcast ran by The Digital Maze, a specialist full service creative agency. We discuss ongoing themes, topics and news in the digital marketing industry to help marketing directors (and leaders) stay ahead of the curve. Show support by subscribing today.

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Rob Twells

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Rob is the Founder of an award winning digital agency (since forming a digital agency group The Digital Maze with Boom Online) specialising in SEO, PPC, CRO, digital strategy and web design. With over 10+ years in the marketing space, Rob has been involved with hundreds of marketing projects and campaigns with some of the best known brands.

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