This is the 7th in a series of posts on Agile Marketing – the working definition of which is to “Create, communicate and deliver unique value to an always-changing consumer (or business) in an always-changing market with an always-changing product.” One of the hardest parts of this process is using the right tool for the problem you’re trying to solve. And your “right tool” might be different than the right tool of your colleague. What can you do to help your co-workers share structured information in a common way while not caring (as much) about the tool they use? Sometimes the tool you need is not an app but a way of communicating.
Principle 7: Use the right tool for the right job
There are a few ways that you can make sure you’re using the right communication tool for the right job. One common way is to adopt enough form and convention to keep everyone on the same page, but not so much methodology that you turn that communication into a chore.
For agile marketing and communications, three forms help communication no matter what tool you’re using to share information with your team:
- “Scrum-style” meetings – often conducted as a physically standing meeting, these daily (or otherwise frequent) meetings should be focused only on identifying the most important things you should be working on today, sharing very brief insights about what you’ve just done, and asking for help from the team.
- Status update – the brief email or other communication that you send to your team that reiterates this information so that people can arrive at the scrum meeting already having identified potential challenges and ways that they can help other members of the team
- Single topic meetings – and if there is additional work to be done, keep those meetings brief (15-30 minutes) and focused on a single topic rather than a laundry list of topics
When you are sharing this information, be clear about what you’re asking for, and why that will be useful. This clarity is important because it helps your teammates waste less time.
You should try to:
- be brief and place your one or two most important points first – the longer your email, the less likely the reader will make it to the bottom. So make the first point count.
- provide context – the journalistic who, what, when, where, and why will give your busy colleagues the information they need to make decisions without providing extraneous information
- leave them wanting more – be right when you’re asked, not when the question is generally available
When you use these forms, your communication will be more open no matter what tool you use. Mobile professionals can get most jobs done where they are using cell phones, mobile internet access, and laptops. Yet some communications (especially planning meetings with development teams) are best conducted face to face, in meetings as short as necessary, but no shorter. The concept of Agile Marketing means that we’ll use lots of tools to stay in touch (and we might be each using different tools along the way.) So we had better communicate more effectively as we try new tools and talk to our teams.