After completing a two-day training session with an enterprise financial institution, one of their leaders approached me with a common Agile marketing question.
“Do we require cross-functional marketing teams for Agile to work?”
This question can have many answers, as is the case often with Agile Marketing Questions. Here are some options:
I used a combination of first and third responses for this group: “Yes, except creative services.” If you have more resources, this might change.
The pilots will be flying in a cross-functional manner. This means that several creative team members are expected to join an initial pilot. The visionary leadership may hire more people if the pilot proves successful.
It’ll be amazing if it does. If it doesn’t, creative will have to continue serving other cross-functional marketing teams.
You might be facing a similar problem. To help you find the correct answer, take a look at these answers.
Crossfunctional Marketing Teams Defined
Before discussing when cross-functional marketing teams are appropriate and when they aren’t, let’s define what that term means.
Cross-functional Agile marketing teams have all the skills required to complete the work in their backlog without relying on outside resources.
Because there is no one right list of crossfunctional skills your team requires, it will vary depending on what kind of work they do. It’s essential to examine your backlog to determine the necessary skills to achieve cross-functionality.
Crossfunctional marketing teams can be made up entirely of cross-functional people. Or, to use Mike Cohn’s phrase, just because a team is cross-functional doesn’t mean everyone can do everything.
There is a limit on the work a team can do, even if it’s only specialists.
These are reasonable goals to strive for. However, in Agile marketing real life, sometimes it is impossible. Let’s go back to the three scenarios and see why.
Option 1 – Crossfunctional Marketing (Except Creative)
This happens when your creative services, or whatever you call them, are under-resourced compared to the number of cross-functional teams that would be formed.
This is how it works: In a team of 30 marketers, not including creative, we would create 3-5 cross-functional teams.
Each team needs a copywriter and designer to ensure they are genuinely cross-functional. (We will talk more about reducing bottlenecks for people like CDs later.
Creative services usually have at most 3-5 designers and writers. This would mean they are responsible for 33-50% of larger marketing departments…not a standard ratio.
We let the subset of 30 people go ahead and set up cross-functional marketing teams.