Everyday marketing operations can be daunting, stressful, and overwhelming at the same time, especially if you’re still using traditional methods, like spreadsheets and paper job jackets to track things. If you want to attain successful business outcomes with your marketing, there are a few essential things you must do to complete projects successfully. So today, we turn our attention inwards and focus on the role of the project manager, and more broadly, the discipline of project management.
Simply put, project management is the act of assigning tasks according to their relevance, urgency, and time allotted for each activity across a project. Here are 6 tips to help you bring project management discipline to your marketing initiatives:
- Keep Track of Everything
Keep track of everything that you do because some business people have a short attention span. Keeping track includes making sure that you’re recording everything that you’re working on and doing for your project. Using project management software can help you keep everything tracked to help you achieve your business goals.
There are many reasons to use project management software for your business, but not many people ever realize the importance of this tool. Project management software can also be helpful to organize things when you’re working at home. Here are some key features and benefits:
- Track Time: Project management software makes it much easier to track the time spent on different jobs and activities. If you take the time to track the time spent on various tasks, you’ll be much more productive with your marketing efforts.
- Manage Time Effectively: Most software programs include tracking features, such as time spent on content writing, graphic design, production scheduling, or taking phone calls from vendors. This is a great way to understand your team and personal productivity.
- Save Time and Money: With marketing expenses under scrutiny these days, it becomes increasingly important to find ways to cut costs and increase productivity. Project management software often helps you uncover ways to save.
- Track Tasks Faster: Using project management software will allow you to track your projects much faster than if you had to manage them manually using spreadsheets or paper job jackets.
The best way to ensure that you finish a project is to figure out the number of hours each task will take. This way, you’ll know exactly the time it’ll take to complete the project and will be able to plan accordingly.
But how do you ensure you monitor quality processes and outcomes? You might want to also consider improving your integrated quality management system to keep track of your quality processes. Some of these business processes include document control, risk assessment, non-conformance management, release management, audit management, and supply chain quality control.
- Hire A Professionally Certified Project Manager (PMP)
If project management is a weakness on your team, you will want to make sure that you’re consulting with an expert. A professional project manager (PMP) will make sure that you’re using a disciplined process, help you make better decisions and finish work “on-time- as-promised”. If you’re already comfortable managing a project, you might choose to go with a more complex project management software program instead of choosing a less sophisticated one. You may want to consider hiring a PMP to give you advice on selecting the right tool for you and your department. This way, you’ll be able to get the most use out of the software and assure a return on your investment.
- Enhance Your Skills
Enhance your own project management skills by taking courses online. You might even want to get certified as a PMP yourself. If you don’t have some practical work experience with project management, then you can get started by joining a project management chat or forum so you can access best practices from other marketers and from across your industry.Are you a project manager? Project managers initiate, design, plan, execute, monitor, and complete projects. They’re highly trained in managing teams, facilitating, motivating team members, managing the stakeholder expectations, and communicating project status and milestones. But what are the essential skills that project managers need to build to have a comprehensive plan and manage project budget?
The skills a project manager needs to possess include the following:
- Team Management: Project managers bring team members together. They delegate responsibilities, evaluate performance, coach team members, and handle conflicts.
- Time Management: A project manager should be able to handle and meet deadlines. Tasks should be attained in a pre-defined period. Project managers should create an attainable project timeline to accomplish tasks in a deliberate project lifecycle.
- Technological Savvy: Technology is an important enabler to get things done correctly, quickly and easily without compromising excellent quality outcomes. It’s important to stay abreast of the latest technology to increase output and overall productivity.
- Other Skills: Project managers should also possess risk management and budget management skills.
- Create a Checklist
It’s always a good idea to have a checklist when you’re trying to get a project completed. This way, you can look over your work and be aware of all the activities and steps that are necessary to complete the project. Also, you’ll be able to avoid any unfinished tasks and being late on the job that could’ve been finished a week ago. If your project requires printing, coding and product numbering, visit Leibinger for a guide and services.
- Set and Agree a Budget
Often, marketing projects end up costing much more than what was originally anticipated because you end up overspending on resources, materials and media. While some projects are small and you don’t need a full-blown budget, you still need to be aware of the overall costs of you marketing efforts – and the little things can add up quickly! If you’ve got a limited budget, then plan ahead so you can save money on the production materials or forward buy media placements at a lower cost. Budgeting is on the critical path when you’re planning a marketing project.
- Audit Your Active Projects
Whether you manage small or large projects, it’s crucial to audit your workflow with your team to understand your effectiveness. Here’s how to audit your project management efforts and streamline your workflow:
- Debrief Project Successes and Failures: Get your team together at the end of every project to get their suggestions on how to improve your workflow. This will reveal your project management strengths and weaknesses abd helping you refine your marketing strategies and tactics as well.
- Report on Projects: Your project management software will generate reports and data about how your team is able to meet deadlines or if you need to adjust work schedules based on the workload demanded by the project.
- Assess Project Outcome: The results and outcomes of your marketing project should be assessed to assure that you hit your goals and objectives. Gather feedback from key business stakeholders so you can continuously improve your marketing strategies and tactics.
Following these simple tips will help build project management discipline into your marketing department and put your team on track to deliver more consistent results and successful outcomes from your marketing projects.
If you’re looking for more tips on assuring the success of your marketing, subscribe to the TopRight blog! Or connect with me on Twitter and on LinkedIn. If you’re still on a quest for more marketing insight, pick up copies of our latest books: Strategic Analytics and Marketing, Interrupted.