Pivoting without change fatigue
This week, we did a major, last-minute pivot on a campaign. It didn't feel great for anyone involved. Not the writers, not the graphic designers, not those deploying the campaign. For everyone, it felt like a giant PITA (pain in the, well, you know...).
As a leader, it didn't feel great to have a bunch of disappointed teammates, especially as I was a key driver of the change. However, the data felt irrefutable. A similar email we dropped earlier in the week didn't perform well. Having said that, the timing of our decision to pivot was poor. It came after we had already aligned on the concept for the next email, had a working draft of the copy and were starting review rounds
Based on the data, pivoting was the right thing to do. However, following the above pattern on a regular basis would result in change fatigue, endless rework and poor morale for the team. So, the question becomes, how do we preserve our ability to pivot without harming the team?
Despite what the name implies, Agile isn't about endlessly changing one's mind at the last minute. It IS, however, about the ability to respond to information and react accordingly.
In this instance, we need to take a look at our flow. When is the right time to first align on the concept? Before or after data comes in? Most likely after. So what does that mean for our workflow? It probably means that instead of deciding the theme of the campaign on Monday, we would benefit from pushing it to Thursday morning, after data arrives. Doing this would mean an extremely short turn-around window. Given that, could we turn Friday into a "swarm day," where we can quickly iterate together and get the bulk of the work done?
Expectations are everything, and having a known swarm day sounds much more appealing than one that pops up out of nowhere, however, we'll see what the team says!