Director of Strategy
Published Feb 6, 2018
Observe how we run Skyrocket now compared to two years ago, and you’ll notice that:
- The production team works at an optimal pace
- All tasks are prioritized with our clients’ vision in mind
- We measure and iterate on more real-world feedback
- Account strategists and clients share a clear roadmap
- Our clients get to see work in progress every check-in
On top of that, we’ve taken a lot of risk out of the process. How?
We’ve gone agile
Agile, and more specifically Scrum, is a workflow method that breaks work into the smallest possible tasks, producing deliverables of maximum value within a strict timeframe called a sprint (which for us is a week).
After nearly two years of tweaks and adjustments, we are ready to show you the Skyrocket Scrum process in action.
With every new client coming in, account strategists share the vision, scope and initial deliverable expectations (e.g. brand identity, web experience) with the Scrum master, who forecasts a product roadmap and breaks down the work by departments (content, design, development).
At the end of every week, each department gets together with account strategists and the Scrum master for a planning session to turn all upcoming work into descriptive tickets (tasks)—each written with a specific deliverable in mind.
And here Scrum really gets to shine—we prioritize and estimate every incoming ticket. Essentially, every ticket is either part of the roadmap (important) or a client request (urgent) that had come in that week. Collectively, we decide which tickets have to be done in the following sprint, balancing urgent tasks, roadmap deadlines and our production capacity.
There is a fine balance between urgent and important work.
After every sprint, account strategists meet with clients and report on the progress. The beauty of Scrum is that account strategists can show deliverables completed the week before. Sometimes the work gets approved and published, sometimes we get feedback and iterate on it the following week.
On Friday, once the plan for the next week is nailed down, we pop open some beers and talk about things that inspire us #coolshitfridays.
Rinse and repeat!
Agile stands in direct opposition to the Waterfall model we relied on before.
Waterfall assumes you can predict the future and produce all of your good insights and ideas at the beginning of the project, and that they won’t change until the project is complete.
Agile, on the other hand, is built for change, the ability to adapt to market needs and feedback from your audience, thus maximizing your work’s value and focus week-to-week.
Waterfall leaves little time or budget for leeway, creating inefficiencies for both us and clients—implementing changes late in the game means scope change and additional cost.
Agile allowed us to release and test assumptions often, to see how effective a piece of work is before putting in more effort on something that doesn’t land in the first place.
Looking forward, week-to-week
How did Scrum affect our client relationships?
- We maintain a steady rhythm with every client. Frequent check-ins mean you know exactly where on a roadmap your products stand
- Account strategists work closer with clients than ever before—laying out the vision, sharing calendars and adjusting priorities every week
- We welcome one-off requests, which get prioritized at the end of the week along with the rest of the work, ensuring even progress (unless there is a fire, which of course we would extinguish with much haste)
Scrum streamlined our workflow, which we continue to improve and revise as we go. Nothing is set in stone, we
are open to invite feedback and tweak our approach almost weekly—much like our ability to adapt based on client needs, our agile process is built for change.