*This post assumes the reader has a basic understanding of the Agile and Scrum principles and frameworks.

We at Commerce Kitchen are big fans of Agile Software Development and Scrum. Over half of our team consists of certified ScrumMasters or Scrum Product Owners, and we have been putting Agile principles to practice for most of our 14-year history.

Like many innovators, we have pondered on how to apply the principles of Agile and Scrum to other facets of our business beyond just the product development team. A few months ago, we felt like we achieved a breakthrough. We stumbled upon a process that we are now positioning as an extension of the Scrum framework. We call it “Augmented Scrum.”

The beauty of Augmented Scrum is it allows the sales and marketing side of the business to benefit from iterative learning and continuous improvement that the development side is already used to.

Here is how Augmented Scrum works:

  1. A sales or business development representative (let’s call her Kelly) goes through the typical sales process, consisting of some prospecting, discovery, proposal, and negotiation.
  2. Once the deal has closed, Kelly then transitions into an account manager role for that new client. This role can and should be thought of as an assistant Product Owner.
  3. Kelly, now acting as an assistant PO, sits in on the sprint review meetings and optionally the iteration planning meetings, if it is deemed valuable. There is no need for Kelly to sit through the daily Scrum meetings or the sprint retrospective, as it would be mostly invaluable to her.
  4. Throughout the product development lifecycle, Kelly offers the PO deeper background knowledge on the client, to further inform the prioritization of features in the planning process.
  5. Once the project wraps and the product launches, Kelly works with that client to ensure that they have everything they need to be successful, while learning the client’s overall impressions and feelings of the engagement.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5.

And here are the benefits of Augmented Scrum that we have observed after only one full cycle:

  • The sales/marketing force just obtained a much deeper understanding of what they can and should sell/market.
  • With this newfound understanding, the sales team is empowered to improve their sales approach, which usually translates to better and earlier client education.
  • Better and earlier client education lessens pressure on the Scrum team, because the client has a greater appreciation for the process and in turn trust for the team.
  • Their is greater mutual understanding between sales and dev, and everyone is happier.

We are in the early phases of testing this framework extension. It may prove unsustainable, but for now it certainly proving valuable.

Stay tuned for blog updates on our Augmented Scrum experiment!