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Agile & Product Management

GitHub for Marketing: Live near the code

Not every team functions like a development team. Take marketing, for instance: often a small team, they implement long- and short-term projects, plan events, execute campaigns, write content, and more – sometimes simultaneously. Some marketing initiatives can be completed in a few hours, while others are ongoing across months or even quarters. Marketers wear many hats, and require a project management workflow which allows this fluidity.

Gone are the days of marketers and software developers siloed in different tools, resulting in informational walled gardens and communication breakdowns. And soon, a marketing team’s technical ability (however basic) will be considered table stakes for success. ZenHub’s clean UI and robust features allow marketers to unite close to the code, and most importantly, close to their entire team. One strategy, outlined in this article, is a calendar-based ZenHub Board.

Organizing Zenhub Boards by quarter keeps team members focused on achievable, actionable goals, while allowing for ideation on longer-term projects. Below, we’ll overview each pipeline (or “swim lane”) in our calendar-based Marketing Board. You can easily create your own by renaming the Board pipelines to match.

Backlog/To Prioritize

backlog in a ZenHub Kanban board

This pipeline contains new Issues which have not yet been assessed for a due date. This list should remain small, as each Issue should be triaged into one of the pipelines outlined below.

Monthly pipelines

a monthly pipeline for three months in ZenHub

Create a pipeline for each of the months in your quarter – in this example, January, February and March. Organizing Issues by month gives each project set deadlines (the end of each month). Deadline-focused ZenHub Boards help increase accountability and visibility to the team; the entire company can see the marketing team’s impact every month, even while their resources are dedicated to several projects.

Q1 Pipeline

pipeline in ZenHub for Q1

Now you’ll create a fourth pipeline titled Q1 – populated by Issues with focus spanning several months. The goal here is to focus on achievable steps, so you may want to break out these multi-month projects into smaller, actionable monthly increments. For instance, a goal to “Increase brand awareness within San Francisco” may contain sub-Issues like “Sponsor a major event”, “Host a meetup”, and “Give one keynote speech.”

The key here is to identify steps that are granular enough to be agile, yet significant enough to move your company’s needle at every turn.

Brainstorming / Ideation

ideation column within a Kanban board

This pipeline is the answer to the question, “What if we…?”. Creative juice is a marketing team’s lifeblood. An impactful marketing team balances reactivity – those tasks that need to be done now, because a feature is coming out or an event is approaching – with plenty of proactivity – blue-sky ideas yet to be explored in detail. In other words, this pipeline is the place to store ideas so they don’t keep you up at night!

Reference material

reference column within a ZenHub board pipeline

A storehouse of reference material can top up depleted creative juice. Save insightful articles, how-to guides, reports, inspiration, and more in this pipeline. Treat it as a constantly-growing list of Best Practices and inspiration to revisit often.

Using the method outlined above, your marketing team can become more results-focused and organized amidst all the evolving challenges of a startup. By quarter’s end, you should have a very small (or even non-existent) open list of Issues – and a long list of achieved goals. Simply rename your monthly pipelines for the new quarter, keep your Ideas and Backlog pipelines, and celebrate all you’ve achieved so far.

Would you bring your marketing team into GitHub? Let us know what you think @ZenHubHQ!

This is the second chapter of our series exploring ZenHub Boards for different workflows. ZenHub Boards are customizable, and can be adapted to work with almost any workflow — in this series we’ll run through some sample strategies. Whether you’re a marketer or a developer, we hope ZenHub’s Task Boards help your North Star shine a little brighter.

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