Getting Started with the Agile Marketing Navigator: Cycle Planning

We recently introduced you to Agile Marketing Navigator, a flexible framework for navigating agile marketing for marketers, by marketers in the article A New Way to Navigate Agile Marketing. The Navigator has four main components: Collaborative Planning Workshop, Release Cycle, Key Practices, and Roles. Within these categories, there are several sub-elements to implement. In recent articles, we’ve covered the elements of the Navigator’s first stage, the Collaborative Planning Workbench.

We will now dive into the second stage of your agile marketing journey: the launch cycle. The launch cycle is a repeatable cadence for delivering valuable marketing experiences early and often. In the release cycle, there are five key components: marketing backlog, cycle planning, daily meeting, team introduction, and team improvement. Last week, we covered how to create an effective marketing backlog. Today we are going to take a closer look at cycle planning.

Cycle planning

During cycle planning, the team collaborates and plans the jobs they intend to release in a 5-day or 10-day cycle. The goal is for everyone on the team to engage with the work they plan to start and discuss how they will work together to achieve that goal. The team synchronizes the timing around their work and understands all that is involved in delivering customer value in this launch.

To prepare for cycle planning, the marketing backlog should be ready for the team. Things to look for here are:

  • Are the jobs listed in order of priority?
  • Is the work sized to the effort?
  • Do we understand dependencies?
  • Do we know what success looks like for each item in the backlog?
  • How will we test, learn and measure our results?

The marketing manager should come to cycle planning with a cycle goal in mind that extends to the benchmark. This is meant to give the team some guidance on what a good cycle outcome will look like, but not what specific tasks they will be doing.

A Cycle objective can be read as follows:

The above shares what the marketing owner expects the team to accomplish, but the team decides what work they can do in the cycle to get there and may have other tasks as well.

The team doing the work assists in planning the cycle. This may include part-time team members or support people who have work in the upcoming cycle. Stakeholders and practice leaders should not attend unless they are contributing to the work.

The team is self-organized in Cycle Planning. The team decides which elements of the marketing backlog they can tackle during the cycle and how they will get the job done by dividing up the tasks.

At the end of the planning cycle, everyone on the team should know what work the team is committed to and how they all plan to approach getting it done. Cycle planning eliminates siled planning and people focusing only on their tasks and highlights the collective ownership of the team.


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily those of MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About the Author

Stacey knows what it’s like to be a marketer, after all, she’s one of the few agile coaches and trainers to get her start there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director, and assistant marketing professor. She became passionate about agile as the best way to work in 2012 when she experimented with it for an advertising agency client. Since then, she has been a scrum master, agile coach and has contributed to many agile transformations with teams around the world. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certificates to her name than she can remember, and enjoys practicing agility at home with her family. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she recently moved to North Carolina where she’s busy learning to cook oatmeal and say “y’all.”

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