How adapting the agile process for SEO campaigns has helped SEO North improve productivity and results.
What is Agile project management? Agile is a project management process by which a team can manage a project by breaking it up into several stages; continuous improvement and iteration at every step.
The main aim of Agile is to boost the adaptability and velocity of projects which allows SEO North to adapt our process at each iteration; this nimble planning enables us to adjust the technique continually, compared to following a straight path approach in workflow processing.
Agile project management can be used to boost SEO or any digital marketing. Through the agile framework and Scrum, companies will offer better results for their client or own campaigns such as competitive analysis to technical SEO, keyword research, strategic outreach, content audits, SEO copywriting and more.
For many companies, digital marketing and search engine optimization are not accessible. Additionally, the digital world keeps changing as technology keeps advancing. The marketing world has also changed a lot as there are new competitors and new marketing platforms. These changes have made it hard for the management of change to keep up.
Agile project management strategies have drastically changed software development and manufacturing industries. However, Agile is not very common in digital marketing. For SEO agencies, SEO project management sprints under the agile process of project management to help ensure dependable results.
The new project management strategies’ driving force is the urgent need for inspection and adaptation, minimizing waste, and continuous improvement. The agile approach’s key result is that it improves speed, reduces costs, and boosts outcomes.
The project management framework, known as Scrum, is vital in managing client projects and improving internal processes.
Table of Contents
A scrum is a project management strategy used by small teams who utilize short sets of work, called sprints. These sprints entail review and reflection times to eliminate wasted time and effort and work towards consistent improvement.
This team has three unique roles: Project Owner, Scrum Master, and team member. The three work together towards achieving the project goals.
The project/product owner is responsible for the project’s general goals and vision. They manage the project by exerting effort on the most relevant work. The project owner works more on the tasks that deliver good results. This person takes customers’ requirements and includes them in the backlog or to-do list. The product owner is referred to as the project owner in a marketing capacity.
The Scrum Master’s role is to ensure that work is done as fast as possible. They work to ensure no barriers that distract team members from doing their work smoothly. The team aims the project and its objectives, and the Scrum Masterworks on having a super-efficient team.
The Scrum Master’s role is to enable team members to understand the way scrum works and adapt the agile rationale in the project. You may be thinking that the scrum master is the boss in the project, maybe because of his role and title. However, that is not the case. The Scrum Master happens to be the team member with the most experience, knowledge, and skills to help the team members to work to their best.
The team members are the central part of the agile team. The teams have complete control of the project, with the scrum master and project owner taking the lead. However, the team has authority in the work implementation of the project.
Team members must have the necessary knowledge and skills for the work at hand to succeed. For instance, if the project focuses on digital marketing, the team should have PPC, SEO, analytics skills, conversion rate optimization skills, and more.
Adding to the skills, the team needs to have good teamwork. The team puts in their strengths while helping each other achieve the project goals. Lack of cooperation will only derail the project through collaboration; every team member can give their best. The team undertakes all these with the focus of delivering results.
Project Owner & Scrum Master
Depending on the project and company, the project owner and scrum master can be one person. Such a plan can work well depending on the company’s capacity, projects & goals, budget, and other factors.
For the Agile team to deliver, there are several project management tools needed . These tools are mainly used to ensure that all team members can view the entire process, which fastens results.
This backlog is a list of all the jobs, and they are attached to a clear goal or objective. The jobs are listed based on the client’s goals rather than daily random SEO tasks. This means that the project owner orders jobs, depending on importance; showing on the board are in order of priority.
High-priority tasks need to be small to motivate workers to pick and work on them. Functions that appear at the lower part of the board may require more detail and higher skills and knowledge of SEO tools and software.
The following information should be included in the project tasks:
- The objective of the business
- Requirements for the objective
- Work/time units
- Criteria of acceptance
In the Agile framework, work is set out in short sprints. These sprints could be a day, a week, or a month, and no sprint is longer than a month. If an agency focuses on more than one client, these sprints are shorter. For instance, there could be a five-day sprint focusing on every client.
The project owner’s role is to move project tasks to the sprint backlog from the project backlog. From this sprint, team members can decide how to handle the present jobs.
A burn chart is a visual tool showing how time and scope relate. For instance, when a project is set on a five-day sprint with five people, the time and capacity may be 200 work hours or units. Through the Burn charts, one can view the progress of work in line with how time progresses. For a project owner and Scrum manager, this is a workable way to view work input.
Burn charts are most suitable for big projects that demand results in a sustained period. A team can use them to view their progress in a project. When a workday ends, the work units for completed work must be displayed against the burndown chart. The display uses estimated hours depending on how tasks are completed.
The burndown chart shows the feedback on whether the team is progressing effectively. If the group is not on track, the visual feedback motivates them to work better.
Visual task board
All agile project management output needs to be visualized, and this serves as important information for all team members on what needs to be done and the progress of the tasks at hand. Work for every current sprint or work cycle is moved to the task board from the project backlog for team members to see and work on.
There are three essential columns in most simple boards:
- To do a column
- Doing column
- Done column
The tasks are moved using sticky notes across the board as they progress. This allows team members to see the functions that everyone is doing, and it also helps the team members to communicate better and help each other achieve project objectives. This also allows project owners to view teams’ progress on a particular project.
The sprint cycle
Sprints are short bursts of work in the agile framework, and the length of the sprints can vary. This variance of sprint times goes on in the industry; software development teams might need more time than an SEO sprint cycle.
Therefore, a sprint cycle is a specified period where one works on small portions of the overall project. It may entail one person working for a day or a month, and it could also be a team doing something in the right way for a month. The critical factor with sprint cycles is to inspect and familiarize with the work and take lessons.
Sprints contain the following:
- Sprint planning — what is expected to be done
- Scrum (daily meeting) — should take a maximum of 15 minutes.
- Sprint review — to demonstrate results
- Retrospective — identify several strategic changes that can boost results.
1. Sprint planning
Planning on what should be done in a project helps to prioritize tasks. The project owner helps ensure that jobs are ready for team members to work on. The scrum master can then assist the team in queries or problems.
Two questions guide sprint planning:
- What are we going to do in this sprint?
- How are we going to do it?
Take your time to plan on this, depending on how long to work should take.
2. Scrum (or Daily meeting)
This is an integral part of the agile process. The daily meetings are generally held with members standing to ensure that they take a maximum of 15 minutes. They are held to allow every team member to provide details on what they have done. The team members also give details on what they are doing that day and any problems they may be facing in their work.
Problems presented are not handled in this meeting, but team members may offer to help each other after the meeting. The daily meeting ensures good knowledge sharing and communication flow during a project. SEO team may utilize Google Docs, Gmail, Google Sheets, Google Drive, Asana, and Slack are great for messaging, chats, and Internal communication. For an agency with many clients, daily sessions entail reviewing problems with processes to improve the market activities.
3. Sprint review
All achievements are put together and linked to the project objectives in this stage. This section forms the client report’s foundation on what has been done and helps attain the goals. In the sprint review stage, the team also plans what to do in the following work cycle.
This is a meeting that occurs when each sprint cycle comes to an end. The end of a sprint cycle can be the end of a week or a month. The team reviews and adapts its PPC, SEO, social media, and content marketing strategies in this stage.
The meeting focuses on three main things:
- What was learned in the particular sprint cycle?
- What were the problems encountered during the sprint cycle?
- How can improvements be made?
The retrospective meeting is not meant to create a new list of tasks but to develop one or two simple improvements to improve the process.
How SEO North uses Agile Project Manage for Client
SEO North has businesses that contract us for one task, such as local SEO. We also have clients who require local SEO, outreach, and content marketing. These tasks could require just one team member, while others demand that a client works with a bigger team.
This planning requires a proper SEO strategy to ensure clients get excellent results. Our agency improves its approach to agile SEO marketing by adapting the agile framework. Our process can be explained as follows:
1. Project backlog
Before starting up on anything, the strategist sets out to understand the project’s scope. For instance, in SEO projects, a technical SEO audit is conducted before coming up with a list of tasks. This is followed by prioritizing the tasks into the project owner’s project backlog.
2. Sprint planning
In every project, tasks are arranged in order of priority. They are picked from the project backlog and added into the sprint plan waiting for the next period.
There are two ways that our agency approaches this part. The first approach uses actual boards and sticky notes for more significant projects and internal processes. The information is created in Asana, and the work progress is made visible using the physical board.
The other approach uses Asana to develop digital boards for every project. A genuine review of the finished product where the team shares their comments—all information and communication on the project is then put on the digital board. Any time there is an update, the board’s followers are notified.
The team members do the work following the sprint cycle until realizing the planning results.
The agile project framework aims to maximize the time spent to complete a process successfully. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that time is valued for more productivity. This can be achieved by identifying weaknesses in the approach and focusing on more productive strategies.
Identify the approach that worked in a previous cycle and the team members that delivered well. Also, identify what failed to work. All these help you project plan on a more robust approach in the coming cycle.
In any business, continuous improvement is what builds better results. This requires regular adjustments in internal processes to ensure clients get the best. The SEO team members must also remain challenged as well as motivated. They are the backbone of the entire agile framework, and their ability to deliver determines the results. Team members need to meet often, share knowledge, and get assistance whenever necessary. Being able to handle problems successfully keeps team members happier in the tasks.
For instance, for digital marketing and SEO projects, the work is quite challenging. Such projects demand many moving parts and more tasks in the cycle and SEO sprints. The team members must learn how to work around the inspecting and adaptation to limit waste. This works well by maintaining more focus on working and ensuring constant improvement towards attaining the objectives.
The agile framework works well with proper implementation, and companies should not shy away from adopting it. The process is not complicated and can work well for digital and marketing companies with the appropriate training and courses.
Adapting the agile process for project management has helped improve work delivery. Team members have also become more productive with the agency managing to remain preferred in the competitive and ever-changing digital marketing sector.
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