PI Planning in an Agile Marketing Go-To-Market Team

I shared some insights into the early stages of Planview’s internal Agile transformations. I discussed how, like our customers, we are experiencing the impact of the changing world of work and are navigating those changes. We are now nine months into the transformation of our Agile marketing go-to-market (GTM) value stream and just completed our fourth PI Planning session.

Planning

This event at Planview is a two-and-a-half-day working session where our cross-functional GTM teams come together to plan their work for the next twelve-week increment. Company leaders provide visibility into key company, sales, marketing, and product priorities. Dedicated teams and shared services functions plan what’s to come, gain alignment, and perform a confidence vote and commit to plans.

Having exited our fourth full PI, I am seeing the progress we’ve made. Each PI had its own transformation challenges, but we are ironing out issues and setting the foundation for a highly collaborative, productive environment. In this blog, I’ll share the progress we’ve made in Agile marketing PI Planning and cover the phases of alignment we’ve experienced on our transformation journey.

Watch a short video where Patrick Tickle, Chief Product’s Officer and I chat about PI Planning at Planview. For more videos, check out the full series on YouTube.

Planview’s Agile Marketing Progress with PI Planning

PI Planning 1: Forming go-to-market teams.

Preparing for our first PI, we worked to get functions aligned (sales, products, marketing) across this go-to-market value stream. This was a little bumpy for us but was a critical step. If functional leaders are not aligned, bought-in, and supportive, the transformation will struggle to get going, be real, or be sustainable. A key enabler for us was bringing in an external coach, with Agile Marketing coaching context, to help us get started on our journey.

PI Planning 2: Re-forming and empowering the teams.

In our second PI, with continued coaching our executives to be more aligned; we re-formed the dedicated cross-functional teams to minimize dependencies and distributed budgets and targets to reinforce team empowerment and accountability. In our first PI retrospective, it became clear that our content creation process was a bottleneck, so we pivoted and introduced a new marketing role, content strategists, and dedicated one to each GTM team. By being closer to the source messaging and campaign strategies, the content strategists develop content plans and manage the creation workflow across internal and external SMEs and contractors. Further, we augmented the dedicated teams with what we call voice of customer (VoC) reps – from sales, sales development reps, product management across different regions – to help the teams better understand internal and external customer demands – so the deliverables have more business impact.

PI Planning 3: Aligning teams with shared service organizations.

In our third PI, the dedicated teams really gelled and had better understanding of their capacity, work-in-process limits, and flow. The transformation attention shifted to the important shared service organizations (i.e. digital, events, creative services, social media, web, etc.). These subject matter experts enable and amplify the deliverables of the dedicated GTM teams.

PI Planning 4: Aligning teams with international marketing.

We recently wrapped our fourth PI Planning session. Our transformation attention shifted to aligning our international marketing teams, so campaigns and deliverables were not surprises tossed over the proverbial fence – or ocean – resulting in delayed launches often poorly matched to local market needs. International marketers started making their work visible and mapping their work to the programs from the GTM teams. That quickly advanced to coordinating on programs and assets, to understanding which ones mapped to each local market, which needed to be adjusted and translated, and which needed to be influenced and co-created from the start. We also adjusted our PI Planning agenda to support live remote participation and considered the time differences.

What’s to Come

Our Agile transformation journey will always require more and more alignment – more change and optimizations. Change is continuous, that’s a given, and we are already starting to change roles and people in the GTM teams to keep the voices and ideas fresh and to encourage more experimentation.

Some shared services began planning together with persistent teams, and this will continue to expand. During this PI, we’ll refine our value stream level ceremonies, and Planview will kick-off a third value stream (to join Products and Go-to-Market) around Customer Success. We’ll expand the alignment across value streams rather than just across teams within the single value stream.