In 2011, I found myself managing a brand-new team of marketers at an agency. And I quickly found myself flailing. My team members managed their workflow independently, which might seem like a dream scenario, but to me it was a nightmare: Overseeing their projects was extremely difficult for me. If a project failed, I had to reverse-engineer it to figure out what went wrong and when—and sometimes I never could identify what had gone wrong.

Perplexed, I started discussing ideas with my supervisor on how I could rectify the situation. He asked, "Have you ever heard of agile PM?" I hadn't, but after he described it, I was immediately hooked: This was the answer to overcoming my project management roadblocks!

I knew that one of our clients had been using the agile approach for the past 10 years for a range of projects, everything from their agile application development platform, to project delivery and marketing. So I got in touch with some of my contacts there and used them as a sounding board.

Based on my research and on what they told me about the agile methodology, I quickly devised a plan for managing my team. The result? A more efficient team that identifies problems before they become big problems and does a better job at time management, preventing projects from falling behind.

The agile methodology has helped us because it...

  1. Implements a workflow that enables us to work more cohesively as a team, rather than working on projects independently.
  2. Improves internal and external communication.
  3. Quickly identifies our strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Increases accountability, in turn resulting in more wins.

So how exactly did we do this? Let me take you on a quick crash course of the agile methodology and how I, as a marketer, applied it to managing my team. I hope to help you identify where you can improve your project management style.

Agile Project Management: What Is It

Let me direct you to this article from Wikipedia that describes agile software development from a programmer's perspective. If you read it and went "WTF?" let me try to break it down for you in marketers' terms.

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image of Adria Saracino

Adria Saracino is a UX content strategist at Facebook, a digital marketing and content strategist, and the founder of The Emerald Palate, a Seattle-based lifestyle blog.

LinkedIn: Adria Saracino

Twitter: @adriasaracino