Agile marketing teams perform better in 2021?

Why sticky agile marketing teams perform better?:

A team that stays together understands the dynamics and does more, faster.

Teams that stick together like glue have a big performance advantage. It’s not about the work they do or the skills they have that give them the fantastic sauce, but how they learn to work together over time.

My daughter plays in a soccer team that has been the same girl for three years. In their first year together, they were a true team in the making. They did not know to which girl they should play the ball, where to stay, who did it, who encouraged the team, or who needed more encouragement. In the second year, they attack managers, team players, dedicated girls, and retirees. By the third year, the team dynamics were so well understood that they knew exactly what the team dynamics would look like from day one.

Train, attack, command, and export

The idea of   Forming, Storming, Norming & Performing (FSNP) has existed since 1965, when American psychologist Bruce Tuckman proposed the model. It is used by business teams and in Six Sigma as well as in project management and deftly used as a proven model for team performance.

The SNP has a lot of data to show how teams go through different psychological stages and just have time to become a performing team.

bring the teamwork along

Although this research on team dynamics has been successful in corporate teams for over 50 years, most marketing departments follow the opposite approach, by allocating “resources” to a project and disbanding the project team after the project is completed. When that happens, groups can form, they can even attack, but let’s fix it before we do something.

I see this happening again and again because marketing leaders focus on the wrong dynamics: they are looking at the short term and want to make sure all “resources” are used. ‘That’s why we offer people projects, usually not just one project, but also several projects. Not only do they have to create new teams, but they also do so many projects with so many people that their brains are wasted to keep everything in order.

In agile marketing, we need to reverse this model. We have to gather small groups of people and bring them to work. The ideal team size is four to six people, but absolutely no more than 10. A small team can perform faster than a large team, simply because there are fewer communication lanes to cross and a small group is more than a large group.

A common solution for getting more work done is putting more people on the team. However, there is a disruption that occurs when we do this and causes the current team dynamic to be lost, so unless it’s a long-term problem solution, it won’t be done any faster to get more people on a project.

Tougher teams get more work

Teams that stick together get more jobs. They develop their own efficiency and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and can compensate accordingly. Speed comes to the team because they know the job and they know each other.

I once coached a large company that invested millions of dollars in an agile transformation, but couldn’t understand the concept of tough teams—and team members are expected to be in five or six teams! The constant rotation from one team to another resulted in big changes of context, which only decreased productivity. But keep in mind that attending five- or six-team meetings means, well, meetings all day and no time to work.

In my decade of building agile teams in marketing and beyond, teams that stayed together have been one of the biggest success factors. These tough teams, who have worked together for at least a year, have been far more successful than teams that wanted to be mobile for years without dedicated teams.

If you’re just getting started with agile marketing, how you train teams will be one of the factors that will. There is no such thing as a perfect team. There are cases where you have to rely on highly qualified work outside the team or that you have partner agencies. However, if the majority of the team is solid and sticks together, you will succeed.

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