This definition of continuous improvement is in terms of its application to Agile marketing, thus it may not completely align with other more traditional definitions.
There are three ways to define Continuous Improvement:
- First, continuous improvement in general is the practice of analyzing both outcomes and the processes that create them and finding ways to incrementally adjust and optimize them over time.
- Second, in terms of Agile or Scrum, continuous improvement is a core part of these practices that is implemented in areas like the Sprint retrospective and Sprint Planning in order to ensure that the product iteration, as well as the processes used to do the work is always running at peak efficiency and effectiveness.
- Finally, in terms of Agile marketing, continuous improvement is the practice and mindset of ensuring that marketing campaigns and programs are analyzed, adjusted, and revised in order to product maximum results while produced with maximum efficiency by internal teams.
There are four components of a Continuous Improvement Cycle, as pictured in the diagram below.
Continuous improvement can be explained in 4 steps as featured in the diagram (Figure 2.0.1):
- Identify: In this step, we are looking at steps in the process workflow or methods we are using in our projects and campaigns that might pose an opportunity for improvement.
- Plan: In this step, there is collaboration on the team, including discussions and other work around how the processes and methods can be improved. The Sprint Planning process is a great time in order to do this.
- Execute: In this third step, changes that were identified and planned earlier are implemented into the workflow. The execute phase can be integrated into a Sprint Backlog and the work can be performed as part of a Sprint, for instance.
- Review: In this final step, the team will review how effective the changes were, and if there is still room for improvement. If there can be further improvements, identifying and planning can then be performed in a new continuous improvement cycle. A good time for the review phase is at a Sprint retrospective.
Once this process has been completed, it starts again, similar to how a new Sprint begins in the Scrum process once another one has ended. Keep in mind that you can utilize this continuous improvement model while engaging in Scrum practices, utilizing it within your Sprint Planning, Sprints, and Retrospectives.
Book: The Agile Brand Guide to Agile Marketing Fundamentals by Greg Kihlström