Back in February last year I spoke at Startup Product Summit 2013. I’ve been remiss in not posting this sooner.

Some call this drinking your own champaign. At Atlassian we called it eating your own dogfood – trying the product, using the product, before sending that release out to the customers. Higher quality, empathy for the customer, all that great stuff.

Here it is…

In 2012 a crew of marketing folks, of which I was one, spent a day hashing out how to apply agile and lean principles and practices to marketing teams. One of the key takeaways was a written proposal for an Agile Marketing Manifesto.

Authors of the Agile Marketing Manifesto, SprintZero, June 2012

Authors of the Agile Marketing Manifesto, SprintZero, June 2012

We wrote an Agile Marketing Manifesto as the original Manifesto for Agile Software Development is geared squarely at software development teams and didn’t really fit:

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.

I spoke at the Integrate Marketing Summit last week and over the past few days I’ve been thinking about the Agile Marketing Manifesto. I keep thinking we should have left with something simpler, more concise. Cutting away the duplication I wound up with the following. I am presenting it to you as an iteration on the original, perhaps the Manifesto for Agile Marketing v2?

Manifesto for Agile Marketing

We are discovering better ways of creating value for our customers through new approaches to marketing

Validated learning over opinions and conventions

Customer collaboration over silos and hierarchy

Responding to change over following a plan

Meaningful experimentation over minor optimisation

What do you think? React on Twitter:


Over the past 18 months Fabiana AzevedoAustin Walne, Paul Willard and I have been running and building the San Francisco Agile Marketing meetup. We’ve had a bunch of great speakers and learned a tonne of stuff applying agile and lean practices and principles to marketing.

In 2014 we’ll continue the conversation around agile marketing. If you’ve not given  any thought to applying agile techniques to the world of marketing world then now is the time – show your support for an Agile Marketing event in 2014. The goal: take you from 0 – 100kmph in one day.


Yesterday I had the great privilege to facilitate the San Jose Budget Games. Luke, April and Tami of Conteneo organised a fantastic event with the help of the San Jose local government and I was so excited to be involved.

What is Budget Games?

Nothing like Hunger Games! The San Jose local government has been in a spot of bother over the past 10 – 15 years with rising costs and a stagnant revenue base. That has meant a reduction in various services across the city – they are back at 1984 staffing levels despite a 30% larger population than 30 years ago.

Budget Games leverages Innovation Games for serious results. As a Product Manager at Atlassian we used one of the games – Buy a Feature – to understand what customers valued and where we should devote our energy on the product roadmap. While it wasn’t the only input into our decision making process it was the best at capturing what customers valued.

Budget Games applies the same approach from product management to the city budget – where do residents most value the resources of the city. Luke Hohmann who wrote Innovation Games, his crew from Conteneo, and a bunch of facilitators (myself included) ran Buy a Feature for the residents of San Jose. There were about 20 tables of 7 – 10 people on each, and the “features” that the residents were buying included things like “40 Sworn Police Officers” and “Extend Library Opening Hours”.

How do Budget Games help?

The city had feedback from over 100 residents at the end of the day – where they would spend their money to improve and impact the city. The exciting part is that the in person game was just the start. Throughout the next week the crew from Conteneo and facilitators from around the world will put 10,000 more residents through Budget Games online.

All of this data will go directly to the Mayor and the Executives of San Jose and they will use it as one of their inputs into the budget for the next fiscal year. This is a fantastic way for the government to capture feedback from residents at scale.

Redirect Funding

Table 8 – the table I was facilitating with Masa Maeda – had selected “80 Sworn Police Officers”. There was a great discussion around the table as to whether they should instead aim for “120 Sworn Police Officers”. We raised the flag to get someone to provide more input on the initiative and help the table decide 80 vs 120.

Who should show up to provide more information on the initiative? The Captain from the San Jose police department came over! Talk about participatory culture, the table got the answers they needed directly from the person in charge!

The Captain explained that while the initiatives were super he couldn’t make use of the extra police officers today. At present there are 150 unallocated spots on his force. He can’t fill those spots as the police officers can move to another city in the vicinity and get a 30% pay bump – his key problem is retention.

The Captain explained that instead of adding more headcount to the police force the most pressing need was to first address the remuneration and benefits of the existing officers. That would enable him to retain his existing people and attract new people.

Table 8 then proceeded to reshuffle money to other initiatives. They ended up focusing heavily on community services, the fire department, gang prevention, and libraries. Very very very cool!

Thanks to San Jose local government, thanks to Conteneo for organising, and thanks to Masa who I got the opportunity to work with on the day. Splendid.