Adopting Agile for Communications Teams

May 16, 2018

[Updated July 2023] At Brilliant Ink, we manage various exciting creative projects for our clients, from benefit guides to Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) to intranet rollouts and everything in between! Our project managers bridge the gap between right and left brains, designers and HR professionals, content experts and tech gurus.   

It can get tricky but one way we like to bring different groups of people together cohesively is by using agile methodologies and iterative best practices.    

Although Agile was first created to deliver software to customers faster, its principles can be applied to creative projects, too! According to Teamwork, experts in project management technology,   

“Agile project management is an iterative approach to software development projects and ensures feedback can be acted on quickly and that responsive changes can be made at each stage of a sprint or product cycle.”   

Agile has four key values and twelve principles within its Manifesto. I believe there are three in particular that more communicators should be adopting and using!  

1. Get a Reaction Early   

Agile places an emphasis on collecting feedback from the client as early and often as possible. They suggest teams deliver iterations of the project and collect ample feedback prior to the "due date."   

Does the product work? Sure.   

Is it perfect? No – and that’s the point.  

Agile encourages getting input and feedback before you've spent too much time going down the wrong path.   

💡PRO TIP: For content-heavy projects, like an employee value proposition, make a list of all your stakeholders on the project and review it with your manager/project lead when you kick off the work. Then, make sure your project plan includes looping in your stakeholders at the right moments in the process. For video projects, create a static visual storyboard first before animating any of the creative assets. Then get the storyboard in front of your stakeholders early in the project lifecycle for feedback and reactions. Make updates and edits to the storyboard before moving into production.  

2. Maintain a Pace That’s Repeatable  

Teams that follow Agile Methodologies work at a set pace that they’re able to maintain and repeat. This is known as a “sprint.” The length of the sprint is less important than the team’s ability to maintain and repeat the pace. Sprints set a specific expectation for team members and keep everyone accountable.   

It’s no secret that internal communicators do a LOT (and our research has proven this). By shifting our work into repeatable sprints, we’re not only clarifying our roles and deliverables, we’re creating space and pace to open us up to bigger thinking and projects. 

💡PRO TIP: No need to use a separate tool, instead, incorporate sprints into your day-to-day by adding them to your editorial calendar! If you haven’t found the best tool to help you work smarter and not harder, check out our guide for selecting the most helpful editorial calendar tool for you!   

Here's how to pick the best editorial calendar tool

 3. Reflect as a Team  

Agile teams make time to look back at their performance after every sprint.   

Teams use this time to reflect on how the collective team performed and acknowledge what worked well and what could be improved for next time. Teams are able to discuss openly how to work more efficiently in the future. The team can then change its behavior to incorporate the improvements.   

💡PRO TIP: For my IC pros that are a small but mighty team of one, don’t think you get to skip over post-sprint reflection! If anything, carving out time at the end of each cycle to think about what worked, what didn’t work and what you learned might be the most valuable step of all!   

Whether you’re working in sprint cycles or from project-to-project, at the end, spend time with your team (or yourself!) and reflect on the good, the bad and otherwise. At Brilliant Ink, we call this our retrospective meeting or just plain old self-reflection, and we spend time thinking and talking about curve balls that came up, what we learned about working with our stakeholders and decide on how we’re going to show up for the next project!    


As you can see, these principles from software development absolutely apply to technical and creative projects in the world of communications and employee experience. Agile teaches us to share our work early and often, to iterate, and to continually improve upon reflection. Do that once, repeat – now you’re agile!    

For more bite-sized brilliance, subscribe to our monthly employee engagement newsletter, the Inkwell, and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest!

Learn Why Project Management is the Secret to Internal Communications

Lindsay McCleary

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