While agile is sweeping the business world, some departments are still stuck in the old ways. Without realizing it, they are holding on threads and actually working and worrying harder than they should be. The inability to adapt the content creation process within marketing and design departments has already caused friction in most companies turning agile. So the question is – will this persist or will the change inevitably take over?
To understand why most content creators struggle with agile, we should start thinking like them. Most of their personal and professional lives, they have been taught to first come up with the winning idea, plan it out and only then start executing it. This ensured that the content is actually relevant and well thought out and the hours spent on developing it are not wasted. In short, the creation process came down the BCUP – Big Content Upfront and that was supposed to guarantee success.
However, once agile started taking over the businesses worldwide, it preached short iterations, no time for long planning and constant changes. In other words, the content creators were forced to face everything they have tried to escape before – unfinished concepts, wavering plans and costly changes. Looking at it from this standpoint, it is really easy to understand why they were opposed.
While the problems are often easily spotted with a novelty, doing the same with a well-known practice proves to be much more difficult. The same way, content creators often forget the lack of flexibility, very costly changes late in the game and absolute inability to adopt to the changing market that BCUP brings. In other words, this method has its own set of setbacks, so why not explore another option and maybe find a beneficial middle ground.
A solution that tries to accomplish that is RCUP or Rough Content Upfront. It strives to find a middle ground between agile and the traditional way the creatives work in order to keep the best of both worlds.
- Plan ahead
No matter how you put it, with content creation it is important to have a plan. While agile does not agree with detailed long term planning, it has nothing against the team having an overall direction. The RCUP approach uses this in creating a specific planning approach – instead of planning out the whole project, the team prepares a rough plan of action for the next 2-4 sprints. This allows them to have an overall idea of what they will be doing in the future, while at the same time prevents wasting time on precise plans.
- Peer in
The second part of the RCUP is the detailed planning that is done for the next sprint only. Just like other agile teams, the marketing team looks at their rough plan for the next sprint and adds important details and clarifications on what exactly needs to be done. At this stage the plan takes the form of the BCUP plan and thus is exactly what these teams are used to working with.
- Include everything
Lastly, when planning include every little thing that is happening and that you should be aware of. The rough plan is there to roughly represent your next actions, however it should be filled with events, releases and other things that could affect your content. Once again, the better of the two worlds are combined, creating a time saving way of planning that represents the overall picture and facilitates the future sprint planning.
While the idea of RCUP may seem daunting at first, it masterfully meshes the principles of agile and the key points of content creation. By adapting it, creative teams are able to not only keep up with an agile organization, but at the same time to feel like they are completing their work to an established standard and are not being rushed. Therefore rough content might just be a diamond in the rough.