One of the most significant challenges of any growing company is to maintain the responsiveness and agility it had when it was a startup or a small company. This difficulty is especially acute when organizations grow into multinationals. With vastly greater numbers of employees and infinitely more complex operating structures, few are capable of preserving the operational speeds they had once reached as a smaller company. The software industry, which has faced this challenge for some time, conceived of continuous delivery, a way to keep your foot on the accelerator without the risk of damaging your firm.
It is a philosophy that applies to most of a typical company’s different sectors, including marketing. It, therefore, pays to learn more about it and understand how to implement the approach in your company.
What, exactly, is continuous delivery?
Like virtually all management methodologies for the software industry, the origin of continuous delivery can be found in the Agile Manifesto. More specifically in the following section:
“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”
Continuous delivery is a software engineering approach in which teams produce software in short cycles, ensuring that the software can be reliably released at any time. It is designed to build, test, and release software faster and more frequently.
In the IT industry, the approach helps to reduce the cost, time and risk of delivering changes, thereby allowing more incremental upgrades for production applications.
And just like the agile methodology – which also originated in software companies – continuous delivery has the flexibility to deliver the same benefits to your marketing team. It can help because it can help you deliver valuable services in a more rapid, controlled, and reliable way.
How does it work?
Continuous delivery is based on a relatively simple idea: as the time increases to deliver a product or service, the project’s costs rise, and the financial viability for the developers decreases. Does this happen a lot with your marketing team? In the case of the IT industry, the market’s dynamism requires that priority is given to:
- Functional software, always right away, never for tomorrow, instead of aiming for comprehensive documentation;
- Customer participation throughout the development, rather than lengthy processes and indecipherable tools;
- Interconnectivity between teams, rather than incommunicable “islands” between IT areas.
Continuous delivery applies to automated and on-demand software implementation, regardless of the project’s stage of life. In this methodology, the product or service is made available in much shorter timeframes, at a lower cost, more objectively, without compromising quality.
Continuous delivery presupposes a business environment in which requirements change permanently. It is therefore essential that the teams involved are flexible and well organized, and accustomed to working closely together. In other words, their work together as programmers should flow as if they were a team of synchronized swimmers.
Remembering the Agile Manifesto’s main points
Since continuous delivery has everything to do with the agile methodology, which has the objective of streamlining bureaucracies while simultaneously making them more flexible, we’ll take another look at the Manifesto’s main points of emphasis:
- Individuals and the interactions between them more than between processes and tools;
- Functioning software rather than comprehensive documentation;
- Collaboration with clients rather than negotiating contracts;
- Respond to changes rather than following a set plan.
How to implement the approach? Exchanging the cascade methodology for one of continuous delivery
As the marketing professionals still develop projects based on verticality – where activities are divided into stages, and only after one is finalized/delivered /approved, does another begin – it is high time to incorporate the techniques developed by the IT guys.
In this context, continuous delivery can be used in various ways: to increase alignment with the organization’s and sales team’s business objectives, to improve communication, and to increase speed and responsiveness.
After having put all of this into context, let’s see how continuous delivery and agile thinking can be implemented in your marketing department:
1. Establish and align your team’s expectations
When you design a team, make sure the project or campaign’s objectives are well aligned. For continued delivery to work, you will need total and continuous collaboration among your team, speed, acceptance of the unexpected, an effort focused on simplicity, responsibility and, above all, putting the customer at the center of every decision.
>> Recommended reading: See why the concept of ownership must be part of your company
2. Analyze data to identify opportunities
Work begins with the development of insights from the analysis of data, pain points, problems, and opportunities. Each morning, hold a meeting where each team member gives a quick report on what has been done and what will be done. This is a powerful practice for generating commitment.
3. Design and prioritize tests
For each identified opportunity, the team will propose ideas on how to improve the experience. For each hypothesis, a test method is to be created, and key performance indicators defined. Prioritized ideas are bumped to the top of the line for immediate testing.
4. Run tests
The team will conduct tests in sprints of one to two weeks to validate whether the proposed approaches work. For example, changing a bid for a particular segment or doing A/B testing for a landing page. The purpose of these tests may be, for example, to increase conversion rates.
5. Confirmation of an idea based on the results
The team must have effective, flawless on-site tracking mechanisms to quickly report on the performance of each test. The team leader will review the test and decide how to scale the most promising results.
>> Recommended reading: How data can help you make performance assessments more accurate
A tool for continuous delivery
If your goal is to improve the speed, predictability, and transparency of your deliveries, you can rely on management software to engage your employees and to help them quickly adapt to any agile methodology.
Runrun.it, which facilitates the management of projects of any size, organizes the flow of demands, registers all discussions and helps you visualize the deliveries of project participants.
A well-accepted tool that offers complete reporting. Sign up for your free trial now at https://runrun.it