The ScrumMaster is one busy bee! If the team is less than fully self-organized, her plate can be quite full. If the organization is less than Agile, there isn’t a « Certified ScrumMaster shovel » big enough to handle all the issues that arise.
Every day, she tries to improve the development team’s engineering practices, productivity and generally make their lives better by removing barriers and shield them from external interferences The ScrumMaster also works closely with the Product Owner by encouraging him to communicate directly and frequently with the development team and teaching him to maximize ROI and meet his objectives through Scrum. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
But something else doesn’t feel quite right. How are we planning to sell this “best thing since sliced bread”? Our ScrumMaster is highly skilled in group dynamics and most Agile engineering practices, but couldn’t tell the difference between a marketing plan and a Snickerdoodle cookie recipe. But she does know (as does everyone else) that for the project to continue, we need to get those product licenses out the door! What can she do?
The short answer would be: The same as with all the rest!
What would a ScrumMaster do if she knew that « technical excellence » was not up to par but knew little about Test Driven Development (TDD)? In order to insure that this Agile principle is applied, I figure she’d identify a TDD champion within the team or get some outside help and encourage coaching and pairing. She would also expect the team to continuously improve their engineering practices and allow the product to evolve easily and maintain its high quality.
Why not apply the same approach in regards to the marketing plan? A ScrumMaster could once again fall back on the sound principles of the Agile Manifesto and use them as a guide. Below are a few of those principles that could add great value to a marketing plan:
A marketing plan should welcome changing requirements
Marketing requirements can be as volatile and unpredictable as software requirements. Despite the initial overall marketing strategy, our Product Owner must lead the initiatives to adapt the plan based on the availability of new information, such as competitor strategies, market trends and of course, the evolution of the product itself.
Business people and developers must work together
Don’t allow a third party marketing firm work in isolation with the Product Owner. As a ScrumMaster, make sure you get the developers involved. These professionals are building the product! Who better to offer input on how to sell it?
We should test the plan and see if it’s « working »
How do we test a marketing plan? Maybe after a couple of Sprints, could we execute a subset of the plan, get some feedback (or lack thereof) and adjust the Product Backlog accordingly?
What other Agile principle could apply?