Workfront is a powerful work management system that is used by thousands of organizations across a variety of departments including Marketing, Marketing Operations, IT, Product Development, HR, Compliance, Procurement, and others. Some of the things we like most about Workfront include the following:

  • Simple user experience
  • The best proofing and document management capability on the market
  • No additional technology resources/skills are needed—admin function only
  • Integrates with critical marketing tools such as Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Experience Manager

But did you know Workfront also allows teams to work in Waterfall and Agile methodologies, or a hybrid approach? We find that many are surprised that Workfront has this capability. The Rego marketing team uses a simplified approach with Workfront in a Kanban format, and the team loves it. Before we get too far down the road, let’s quickly review the differences between Waterfall, Agile, and Hybrid Project Management.

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Waterfall

When you think of Waterfall, think linear. Project activities are broken down into sequential phases, where each phase depends on the deliverables of the previous one and develops systematically in a downward fashion until release. Each phase has to be completed before the next one starts.

Agile

When you think of Agile, think flexible. Project activities are broken down into manageable tasks, which are tackled in short iterations or sprints. Developers and managers are continually collaborating with project stakeholders so that the final deliverable better fits the customer’s needs.

Hybrid Project Management

Hybrid Project Management takes specific Agile methods and combines them with other non-Agile techniques, such as Waterfall. For instance, if you’re using sprints of incremental delivery, but you choose to start with a detailed requirements effort, that would be a Hybrid approach.

Workfront Hybrid Project Management

An important thing to point out is that Workfront offers two types of Agile approaches, Kanban and Scrum:

  • Kanban – the team does their work based on a traditional Kanban board with no task constraints and no burndown.
  • Scrum – the team still does their work based on a traditional Kanban board, but work is done in a conventional sprint format with tasks for that sprint having a must finish on date and a burndown.

Before you get started, you’ll want to determine which approach will be the best for your team. For Rego’s marketing and event group, which is a relatively small group, we decided on the following, simplified approach:

  • Marketing work will be run from a Kanban board. Because of the size of our group and the unpredictability of requests, we determined that a Scrum/sprint approach was too rigid for our needs. Each week the team meets to review the Kanban cards, bring in new tasks, and assign priority. Once materials are ready, we use Workfront’s proofing capability and workflows to handle the review and approval process.
  • Events work is run from a Waterfall approach. Our largest event takes nearly a year to plan, with most events taking three to six months. We like to have at least six weeks to plan and promote our webinars. Nearly every event follows the same workflow, so we have created event-specific templates with milestones. When there are marketing-related needs for an event (signage, collateral, etc.), those tasks are assigned to the marketing team and appear on the Kanban board for prioritization and completion.

Here are a few things to consider as you decide which approach within Workfront is best for your team.

  • Tasks and issues are the primary “work” objects in Workfront
  • Tasks and issues always live on a project
  • Tasks and issues can be “worked” from different places within Workfront
  • Agile (Kanban and Scrum) in Workfront are essentially different methods of prioritizing and working the task and issue objects

Waterfall

  • All work items (task and issues) in Workfront must live on a project
  • Task objects can either be organized in a traditional waterfall project plan or in a “holding project” approach where the project is more of a folder for similar work items but doesn’t represent a chronological flow
  • To set up a traditional project plan, predecessors are used to show dependencies between tasks

Agile

  • Agile operations are determined at a team level (each team is set up as either a traditional team, a Kanban team, or a Scrum team)
  • Kanban – Team works their tasks and issues from a customizable, tile-based Kanban board
  • Scrum – Team works in time-boxed iterations where tasks and issues are brought in from a team backlog. A tile-based board is used to work tasks and issues that have been brought into the iteration

As mentioned earlier, you can set up Agile in Workfront as either a Kanban or Scrum approach. You select which one you want in the Team Settings.

Teams Assignments Task Constraints Time/Velocity
Kanban Kanban vs. Scrum is selected in Team Settings 1 Team, 1 Board, 1 Backlog Not applicable Points = Hours
Scrum Kanban vs. Scrum is selected in Team Settings 1 Team, 1 Board, 1 Backlog Must finish on Points = Hours
Burndown but no Velocity

Here is how the Kanban approach looks for Rego’s marketing team:

Workfront Agile

And here is an example of the traditional Workfront / waterfall approach for a Rego event:

Workfront Waterfall

Even though we have a small team, because of Workfront, we estimate that we complete 40% more work than we were before implementing Workfront. We’re more focused and streamlined, which allows us to focus on getting work done instead of figuring out how to work.

These are undoubtedly simplified approaches, and we know many, if not all, of our clients have a much more sophisticated and mature work and project management approach. Tell us more about your approach or what approach you are going to implement. We’d love to hear what you are doing and the experiences you are having.

And, if you aren’t quite sure, Rego’s expert guides are ready and willing to help you determine the best way to approach your work management using Workfront.

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