We’ve all heard a variation of this before, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. It’s cliché, but it is true with most aspects of life. The moment you are not prepared for the worst, you fall behind.
This is especially true with managing a marketing project. As a project manager for a marketing team you need to know the complete scope or goal of the project to plan the way to complete the project. Doing so also allows you to prepare for any forscene challenges that may occur.
It is equally important to know your team very well to determine the best project management methodology to implement; waterfall, scrum, or agile. Before we get into the best practices for marketing project management, let’s take a closer look at these methodologies.
Three Methodologies of Project Management
The waterfall project management methodology requires one step to be completed before the project can be moved forward. This is best thought of with marketing strategies. You start with your goal, then you move on to the plan, then creation, then iteration, then review. However, it is common for teams may use agile over waterfall, or a combination of both, because all requirements may not be known at one point making it difficult to get all items completed before moving on to the next phase.
Agile is a project management methodology is an alternative to traditional project management styles and is commonly used for software development. Agile management allows for unpredictability by incremental, iterative work cadences which are known as sprints.
Scrum project management only has three roles; the owner, the team, and the scrum master. The traditional project management role and responsibilities are spread out amongst each role and to keep on track, the team tackles smaller iteratives of work and meet five times during a typical lifecycle project collaboration tools. Those meetings are the backlog refinement, sprint planning, daily scrum (aka 15-minute standup), sprint review, and the sprint retrospective meeting.
Marketing Project Management Best Practices
No matter which methodology your team works with, there are still best practices to follow (though they are just best practices-you don’t have to live by these). The best practices to follow are:
- Determine the right Methodology
- Each team works differently, and each project may require a different approach. Identify the right methodology for your team, implement it, and work towards keeping it function.
- Determine the right Software
- Marketing projects will require multiple forms of communication be it email, text, instant messaging, planning, and project updates. Be sure that your team picks the best marketing software that will allow your team to create a clear plan, increase transparency, and produce great work.
- Understand the Project In-and-Out
- Read through the project plan multiple times and be sure to understand it completely allowing you to properly plan the project and avoid as many challenges as possible.
- Clear and Consistent Communication
- Provide clear and consistent communication with your client and/or team to be sure everyone on the project understands their task and the tasks of others. Touch base with the team regularly but avoid micro-managing as you should trust your team to complete their work as needed.
- Be Honest with Estimates
- It seems almost human nature to want to take the path of least resistance, but this needs to be avoided with project management. Be honest with your time estimates for each task and avoid cutting back hours to save time as this could cost you at the end of the project.
- Be Prepared for Problems
- For what? For as many “what-if” scenarios that may arise. Since you know the scope and/or goal of the project by heart, identify any possible scenarios that may arise that can pull the project off course and put together a few contingency plans to keep your team on track.
- Face Problems Head On
- Jeremy Caulfield said, Our biggest problems arise from the avoidance of smaller ones.” This is true with project management. If something isn’t right, address it early on to avoid having to go back and fix a much larger problem later on.
- Stay Calm and Work Together
- While you may need to address a problem, you need to stay calm and work together to find a solution. The last thing that you want to happen during a project is conflict within the team.
- Have a Scope Creep Defense
- Scope creep is a thing, and it happens more than not. It isn’t the fault of your client or boss though. When it comes to marketing, most people don’t fully understand what they are asking when they want something. Be prepared to answer their question and explain why that may or may not be within the current scope of the project.
- Learn from Experience
- Each marketing project will present its own unique set of challenges. Learn from each challenge and apply your new knowledge to the next project. Life is a constant work-in-progress and we should always be learning from it.