We are lucky at Leadspace to be able to host some of the best and brightest in marketing and sales on our show Leadspace Radio. Most recently, we had the honor of hosting our friend, author and CMO of BitTorrent, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff. We’ve known Jascha since his Webtrends days and have enjoyed watching and learning from him as he continues to bring new ideas and concepts to market, most recently with his book, Growing Up Fast How New Agile Practices Can Move Marketing and Innovation Past The Old Business Stalemates.
Take a look at some excerpts from our Leadspace Radio interview with Jascha, then catch the full program to grab all the knowledge you can about becoming more agile in your marketing and organization as a whole…and finally, buy the book on Amazon. It’s a great read and gives you some invaluable insights.
LS: What it is that you need to do as a new CMO in an organization; what do first 30, 60, 90 days look like? How do you get set up? A the new CMO of BitTorrent, how did you do it?
JKW: I have changed my perspective on kind of what the playbook should look like for a new CMO over the years. And part of it is a lot of the learnings that I have had in previous companies, introducing new business processes into the teams, specifically these agile processes that we’ve talked around a little bit.
So for me the absolute first and most important thing for a CMO to do coming in is to find out how the organization is currently running and that’s not just marketing, but it’s actually understanding in depth the way that the product or organization is working, how the product strategy is showing up in products being developed and then ultimately, being able to assess what the marketing team is doing with the product team to bring those to market.
That full cultural immersion and then real kind of empathy in the way that the company is working is the absolute most important thing in my mind to build a foundation to be successful. There are these kind of soft skills that I think are so often talked around or just jumped completely over. I find those to be fully empathizing with the way that people are motivated and the way that organizations are working to be absolutely tantamount with being successful overall.
LS: Let’s talk about what agile is and why we should care. Let’s say I am a brand-new CMO, I am using the waterfall method or no method at all inside my marketing department. How do I transfer my organization into an agile marketing organization?
JKW: Well, the secret is to start small. It goes back to one of the first question you asked about what the playbook looks like when I joined a company. The secret here when introducing agile to an organization is not to expect that the entire organization is going to work perfectly to any model that’s been built out, specifically focusing on agile.
What do I mean by “starting small”? One of the recommendations that I give to many of my peers that I talk to about agile is to actually just spent some time reading about agile development in particular. It’s not as topically right on for the work that we do every day. You will need to sort of adapt it a little to fully understand. But understanding the basic piece is the methodology that I think is important.
To begin with, they are a couple of tools that I really like and these are prior to even implementing any of the more kind of regimented methods in agile. One of those tools that I really like using is called “the standup”. The standup is a meeting that happens everyday, typically happens as it relates to a specific team, a scrum team that’s working in a specific sprint duration of time. The standup is a really cool tool to begin to introduce organizations to the idea of agile.
Just purely introducing this idea of a standup each day will begin to improve communications in an organization and especially an organization like marketing where there are a lot of competing priorities that are being thrown at you from different parts of the organization. Just knowing and empathizing what each person in the organization is working on each day goes a really long way to being informed of the ways you can help the organization be more successful.
Want more on agile processes, BitTorrent and how to maximize effectiveness for new CMOs? Listen in here.