The catalyst for CA’s agile marketing transformation

Pivotal moment #1 on our journey to agile marketing

In my recent blog, Our journey to agile marketing, I referred to three pivotal moments that convinced me to keep moving forward. Here, I’d like to focus on the first defining moment, emerging from our acquisition of Rally Software.

Prior to the acquisition, I had dabbled in agile, mostly because the BU (business unit) I was part of was totally agile-focused.  I had taken a Leading SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) course and was a certified “agilist.” I had started applying a few agile principles to one marketing department, but I knew we were just toying with it.

The acquisition was the catalyst

Looking back, I realize the acquisition of Rally Software in 2015 was a key inflection point. Pre-acquisition, Rally Marketing had been using agile for about two quarters. The ~20 marketers were mostly co-located in Boulder, CO.

When we acquired Rally, I was local and was one of the executives involved in the integration process.  I often worked out of the Rally office and became increasingly exposed to the Rally culture. I noticed the marketing team seemed very engaged and happy but was that just the Boulder culture? Was it something in the Colorado air? I watched.

Throughout the integration we leveraged many agile principles and had agile coaches facilitating joint meetings. I attended RallyON!, Rally’s user conference, and interacted with the agile community.  Even the coach of my daughter’s soccer team was an agile coach. I couldn’t escape it. I saw agile running well within Rally Marketing and wondered if this was a truly better way to work — and if it could be applied at CA’s scale and complexity.

Agile Marketing – the first experiment

Post-acquisition I was very ready to scale our adoption of agile in Marketing.  What started as a mostly co-located, 20-person marketing team for the Rally product line (CA Agile Central) was expanded to the Agile Management BU. The Agile Management BU included our Project & Portfolio Management and IT Service Management products and marketing teams.

We created a Delivery Group of about 35 marketers, merging legacy CA marketers with no agile experience right in with the legacy Rally marketers who had been practicing agile for a few quarters. We mixed the teams intentionally. While not large, our experiment tested a range of team and product variables typically encountered in a larger marketing organization:

  • Co-located teams -> widely distributed teams
  • Agile experienced marketers ->  agile neophytes
  • SaaS -> On-Prem products
  • And a portfolio of products covering the full life cycle: concept – emerging – rapid growth – moderate growth – mature.

How do we measure success?

The experiment started out pretty well. The teams survived working in a more distributed environment and Agile Marketing was showing it could scale to a larger number and different types of products. But was it a success?

We needed some concrete metrics and we needed to measure two different aspects – the satisfaction, engagement and productivity of the teams and the impact of Agile Marketing on the business. We needed evidence of both before declaring the experiment a success and to further scale agile adoption.

The first measurement was easy for us. Every year CA conducts an employee opinion survey and we used this survey to determine how the teams felt about the shift to Agile Marketing. Satisfaction and engagement from the legacy CA marketers, those new to agile, had significantly increased compared to the prior year and were above the overall CA average. Specifically:

  • ‘Engagement’ for that group was up 6pts from the year before and was 6pts above CA overall
  • Being ‘Proud to work for CA’ was up 11pts and was 7pts above CA overall
  • Being willing to ‘Recommend CA as a great place to work” was up 31pts and was 15pts above CA overall
  • Feeling ‘appropriately involved in decisions affecting their work’ was up 11pts and was 14pts above CA overall
  • Feeling ‘valued as an employee’ was up 20pts and was 20pts above CA overall

This was not surprising since it was apparent from watching them that Agile Marketing had been a positive shift for those participating. The opinion survey was useful but it didn’t answer the second question – was Agile Marketing good for the business?

This led us to pivotal moment #2. Stay tuned.

Questions on pivotal moment #1? Contact me on Twitter @CWvanOrman.



Cameron van Orman is senior vice president of Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies.…


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