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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Dec 18, 2020

This week, Dan Neumann is joined by Jim Ewel, the President and founder of


Jim has been involved with agile and marketing for over 10 years and is a leading proponent of using agile in the marketing space. He was one of the original co-authors of The Agile Marketing Manifesto as well as his recently published book, The Six Disciplines of Agile Marketing: Proven Practices for More Effective Marketing and Better Business Results. Additionally, he is also an agile marketing blogger, trainer, speaker, and angel investor.


In their conversation, Jim gives the lowdown on all things agile marketing. He shares how the world of agile marketing is both similar and dissimilar to agile for software developers, the key drivers that have led marketers to adopt agile (especially in the past year), the benefits for marketers adopting agile, and his coaching tips for getting started with coaching in the space of agile marketing!


Key Takeaways

The key drivers that have led marketers to adopt agile:

The pace of change (both with the pandemic and the shift to digital advertising, mobile devices, and technology tools)

With this shift to technology, marketers are having to become technologists (and part of how you do that is through agile)

The limited resources also have been moving marketers to agile with the increased demand

The benefits for marketers in adopting agility:

With the shift to digital, the opportunity for feedback is greatly accelerated in marketing to enable agility

Digital tools allow marketers to be more precise about the outcomes of their marketing than ever before

Agility creates a focus on outcomes rather than outputs which applies directly to marketing (because marketers want to make sure that they are continuously testing to improve business outcomes; not just simply putting out more content)

The process creates predictability

Understanding top-down decisions vs. decentralized decisions (knowing who gets to decide what, when, and with what information is really critical to moving fast)

Utilizing intent-based leadership (i.e. giving people permission to make the decisions and they tell you their intent. As a manager, your responsibility is to provide real clarity about what a good decision looks like and make sure that people are competent in whatever it is that they’re making decisions about)

Agile in marketing vs. agile in software:

How marketers use user stories (which, in turn, impacts how they build and process their backlog as well)

The agile marketing world uses the methodologies of Scrum, Kanban, and Scrumban

Which one they use depends on what kind of marketing they’re doing

Marketers are more likely to practice the informal kind of Scrumban rather than the formal kind (they typically adapt various practices to their various needs and company)

Marketers are less likely to do canonical Scrum than developers are

Jim’s coaching tips for getting started with coaching in the marketing agile space:

If you’re looking to practice agile marketing, start with a certification

Start with a marketing background before you become an agile marketing coach

Read Jim’s book, The Six Disciplines of Agile Marketing

Before you teach the process of agile, you need to get alignment on why the team you’re coaching is implementing agile marketing, what problems they’re trying to solve, what success looks like, and how they can measure success

Structure is key for an agile marketing team

Check out the resources tab on


Mentioned in this Episode:

Jim Ewel’s LinkedIn

Jim Ewel’s Twitter

The Agile Marketing Manifesto

The Six Disciplines of Agile Marketing: Proven Practices for More Effective Marketing and Better Business Results, by Jim Ewel

Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, by David Marquet

“The 7 Levels of Delegation,” by Jurgen Appelo



Hacking Marketing: Agile Practices to Make Marketing Smarter, Faster, and More Innovative, by Scott Brinker

Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, by Robert Rose and Carla Johnson

Practical Kanban: From Team Focus to Creating Value, by Klaus Leopold


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