3 Lean Tools to Try With Your Marketing Team
The planning for any strong marketing campaign should acknowledge one essential fact: change is inevitable. In business to business marketing strategy, the ability to constantly adapt on the fly is vital to your company’s success.
The definition of process improvement seems self-evident, but it’s more complex in theory — and challenging in practice — than you might realize. The term refers to the task of identifying opportunities for improvement, implementing changes, and, ideally, measuring the impact of those changes. Without a structured, continuous approach to process improvement, it’s difficult to keep momentum moving.
It’s also far too easy for busy, overworked teams to become desensitized to process inefficiencies, and allow bad habits to fester and affect the quality of their work and speed of their delivery.
Continuous improvement (also called Kaizen) is a Lean process improvement methodology that provides the disciplined approach teams need to keep improvement as their top priority.
1. Continuous Improvement Methodology
This is the overarching philosophy to guide your Lean approach to marketing. Continuous Improvement is a tool that can apply both as a generalized way to think about your marketing as well as an actualized measurable strategy.
This tool can also be applied in a more formalized manner to measure how well marketing campaigns are succeeding. In this approach, the Continuous Improvement cycle has four general steps.
- The first step is to identify, which is to analyze your marketing campaign from various angles and determine where the process requires improvement.
- The second step is to plan. This step involves meeting with team members to discuss the identified problem and develop measurable ways of resolving it.
Once you’ve devised a plan with your team, it’s time to execute that strategy. It may take some time to see results, and it’s a great idea to take an active role in overseeing this phase(Review).
It’s vital that the strategy is executed in the precise way that it was planned so that step four, review, can be done in an accurate manner. Determine a set schedule to review how the plan is performing. Meet with your team to discuss outcomes and troubles along the way. Make sure that your team knows to not feel too much pressure from the results; it’s more of an experimentation process, and so long as the experiment is being conducted as determined, they’re doing their jobs.
2. Kanban Boards
In order to improve your process, it’s critical that you fully understand it. Kanban is a visual process workflow tool that enables individuals, teams, and organizations to manage work through a shared understanding of process. Kanban can help teams identify opportunities for process improvement. As teams use Kanban boards to manage their work, they automatically generate data they can use to assess the impact of their continuous improvement efforts.
The Kanban board uses cards and columns to represent the workflow process. In the simplest form, a Kanban board demonstrates left-to-right movement through value chains; it might be as simple as “To-do/Doing/Done”.
3. Work-in-Progress Limits
Implementing work-in-process (or WIP) limits for yourself and your team is another great Lean process improvement technique. WIP limits are fixed constraints teams place on themselves in order to improve throughput and minimize context switching. This helps them deliver higher quality work faster.
Kanban boards make it easy to track WIP limits, by simply counting how many cards are in the “in-process” lanes in your workflow. You can set WIP limits for specific lanes in LeanKit,which makes it so that you are alerted when you reach your WIP limit. If you wish to exceed the WIP limit, you have to manually override it (ideally, only for specific exceptions decided by your team).
Implementing WIP limits can help teams focus on improving how they prioritize and collaborate on work. This encourages everyone to discuss work priority, status, and opportunities for pair programming as a team, and keep improvement top of mind.
With marketing groups needing to produce faster than ever, Lean strategies are an ideal solution to the pace of digital workflow. These tools can be the impetus for your marketing team to turn the corner and acheive previously-unrealized gains.