How to Grow Your Business Using the Scrum Framework

What drives the revenue generation in your DTC store? Is it your products, your creatives, or your marketing? Or is it your overall strategies and work frameworks? Whether it’s one, two, or all of the above, there’s one entity within your business that ties everything together and generates the results—your team.

In an exclusive speaker session with growth marketing wizard Dee Deng, he shared insights of his company Right Hook Digital’s employee-centric system.

Dee Deng - DTC Breakthrough Singapore
Dee Deng - Founder of Right Hook Digital

He broke down a system that’s been around for quite a while now (first time implementation back in 1993 in fact) but is not yet as widely known to many business owners today as it should be.

While there are still many skeptics of this system, the benefits it can bring to you, your team, and your business as a whole is nothing to sneeze at.

Dee stressed the fact that while it’s your people who drive your business, it’s your business’ system that can help them drive it towards success.

Keynotes:

“If you have a great system, you could put mediocre people in there then they’ll be great. But if you have a shit system, you can put great people in there and they’ll be shit.”

Dee Deng

The next question we want to ask you is this: Do you have a system that encourages your team to drive results?

If all your team does is finish task quotas and clock out for the day, then it’s less of a them problem and more of a system problem. It’s a sign of a barely growing, stagnant system…which unfortunately reflects the growth of your business.

So, what do you need to fix your system?

Enter: Scrum framework. Or specifically—creative sprints.

What’s the Scrum Framework and How Can it Help Grow My Brand?

The scrum framework within a creative sprint is like a cycle composed of these three major components:

  1. Process
  2. People
  3. Platforms

Wherein you think of it at a process-first standpoint. A well-made process enables your people. Your people then do good on your platforms. They then take their learnings from your platforms back to the Process—creating a self-improving cycle.

To maximize this upwards trend in internal growth, 8 to 9-figure brands use creative sprints to keep their teams in this cycle of continuous growth—which sustainably maintains continuous scaling of their brands.

Sprint planning - DTC Breakthrough

What are the Moving Parts within a Creative Sprint?

First of all, let’s tackle the more traditional work structure of a business.

Usually you have your Strategists overseeing two general groups that essentially speak two different languages. Your Creatives (creative and visuals) and your Media Buyers (analytics and technicals).

Here are the common problems that arise with the traditional structure:

  • Inconsistent and inaccurate passthrough of insights to the right people
  • Keeps you from balancing your rate of testing with quality of results generated
  • Hinders your goal of building an autonomously improving engine
  • Requires micromanagement where you would need to frequently orient every team member to drive results
    – This gives rise to the argument of completing a quota vs optimizing outputs to drive results

The worst part is that even with these prominent issues, a lot of business leaders would simply ask their teams to “just do their jobs.”

They would focus too much pointing fingers at their people rather than tackling the real source of these problems—their system.

Once you start tackling your system—your work design—you can start helping your people flourish. They can finally get creative all while being less stressed. The result? Your team will be in a much better mood to start driving results that can scale your brand.

So, what’s the first step to fixing your work design?

This is where we can dive deeper into the scrum framework and creative sprints.

 

Why and How Should I Leverage Creative Sprints for My Business?

Dee Deng -DTC Breakthrough

You can implement the scrum framework into your work design in the form of creative sprints. That entails many benefits which are written into the principles of scrum:

  • You have more control over the empirical process
  • It can be self-organized per team
  • It encourages more collaboration over “working in silos”
  • Favors value-based prioritization over quantity-based
  • Chops large tasks into more manageable sizes distributed over separate timelines
  • There is constant learning for your teams
  • Observable improvement especially through metrics

Overall, the scrum framework creates an overall healthier work design for you and your teams. When done right, you’ll have teams that can generate more results-driven ideas.

In fact if you get the hang of setting up your creative sprints, you can easily let even key roles in your teams take weeks off and everything will still run smoothly.

What Does a Creative Sprint Look Like?

Here are the main components of a sprint. All of which you should never EVER skip. Or as emphasized by Dee Deng himself—“Skip at your own peril or it’ll blow up in your face later.”

 

  1. Sprint Planning—Ideas Backlog + Sprint Backlog
    Here is where you plan and delegate manageable chunks of tasks. Once you put them in the sprint backlog, you lock it up and don’t touch anything else.

    In other words, you define a selection of tasks your team should focus on. Once you and your team have finalized which tasks they need to do, don’t add anything else throughout the given timeframe.

  2. Daily Huddle—“Are we on track?”
    This is your regular team pulse check. How is everyone doing with their tasks? If anyone is running into any bottlenecks or bumps in their tasks, open the discussion on what you can do to help.

  3. Sprint Demo—“Here’s what we created”
    Different teams will meet each other and start a cross-learning session. They’ll talk about what each team is doing, how difficult it was to do it, and things that they didn’t expect to happen.

    This way, each team gains more awareness of how they’re own team is involved in the other’s tasks. Everybody gets on the same page and, in turn, offers solutions the other teams might have not looked into.

    It’s all about opening that two-lane collaboration between your teams.

  4. Sprint Retro—“What went well and what can we improve?”

    You and your team look back at your previous sprint and take your learnings from there to improve your next one.

    This is where that self-improving cycle comes into play.

Those are the crucial components of sprints, now it’s time to talk about the three key roles that make a successful sprint happen:

  1. Scrum Master
    The person who knows how to keep things moving along and has a deeper understanding of the scrum system. They do not have to be the key manager.

  2. Product Owner
    Can be the key manager. Comes up with the ideas and is essentially the “one throat to choke” when you’re looking for important updates and progress reports.

  3. Execution Team
    The team that actually does the work, gets the feedback, and fleshes out the ideas along with coming up with them at the same time.

A Sprint Cycle can vary from being a 1-week to 1-month cycle, it depends on the job at hand and complexity of the tasks.

Here’s a sample of how a scheduled sprint plan cycle would look (using a two-week cycle):

Dee Deng Sprint Planning - DTC Breakthrough Singapore
  • Retro Day:
    Your team evaluates the previous sprint and integrate your learnings into the next one.

  • Sprint Planning Day:
    Idea planning, managing and delegating tasks, discussion of goals for planned tasks.

  • Execution:
    This is the time period where all planned tasks are the main focus. If new ideas come up in the middle of the Execution Phase, hold them off until the next cycle.

    In turn, you avoid the issue of forcing planned tasks into the back burner (delaying tasks and stretching timeframes) in favor of ad hoc tasks, creating confusion of priorities.

  • Demo Day:
    Discuss what teams have done so far and any results that came from their current progress.

  • Approvals / Revision Submissions:
    If there were any needed changes done to tasks presented on Demo Day, this is the day to submit them.

  • “More Ideas Day”:
    If you managed to finish your sprint cycle with no backlogs left in your current sprint, this is the best time to get together, get creative, and come up with more ideas for tasks to improve results.

Fix Your Work Design with Creative Sprints

The bottom line is quality will always triumph over quantity, especially if your goal is to scale your brand. Ask yourself why your teams are doing what they’re doing in the first place.

Are their tasks, roles, and responsibilities connected to your end-goal metrics?

The impact of the scrum framework shows in your results, making it a must-have in your business.

In the end, it’s you and your team that pushes your eCommerce business from below upwards towards success.

About The Speaker

Dee Deng is the CEO & Co-founder of Right Hook Digital, a Facebook advertising and growth marketing agency whose sole mission is to help brands achieve high ROI.

If your business isn’t growing, then it’s dying. As Dee and his company company philosophy goes: “We only grow when you do.”

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