If you work as part of a technology team or are a product owner, you’ll be familiar with the concept of a ‘backlog.’ In short, a backlog consists of a list of incomplete work items, ideally in priority order and only containing items you can complete in a reasonable amount of time.

Backlogs are common in development environments and are part of Scrum and Kanban, but don’t just think of them as being exclusive to tech startups or new product development. Backlogs can play an important role in helping any business become more productive. 

When I headed the global marketing department at Travelport, we ran the whole department off a set of interconnected Kanban boards. After a lot of initial pushback, the team slowly started to recognise the value of visualizing work, understanding work in progress (WIP) limits, and measuring velocity and gained a basic understanding of the underlying principle behind most agile and lean tools.

With access to automation tools, increased data, and better analytics, the traditional marketing department that once focused on creative is beginning to look and function like a development environment. In a growth hacking oriented environment, managing marketing in this way might be a distinct advantage.   

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