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project management attention points

05 Mar
Don't shoot the project manager

Don

Having taken my first, second and third step in project management of online campaigns, I thought it was time to write down some of my findings. Personally, I have had some courses in this when I was studying but as they say: nothing can prepare you for the real thing. There are huge differences between make-believe projects that you do in school and real projects, for real clients and real budgets.

Here are some pointers to build projects that could be great and not reduce them to footnotes of mediocrity.

Always have a structured briefing document

This is the basis for your project. When project run for several months, you can lose track of decisions that were made in the past. A project brief is the document to fall back on. So keep this up to date, include version control and save it every time you change it to a new document. This way you can track the changes.

Planning

Of course everyone has to know what to do and when. There are handy programs such as the ever present Microsoft Project. This way you can schedule time and effort in the most effective manner. It is extremely important that you get this done correctly. It is no good that people are wasting time and money waiting for input that they will not get.

Timing

This has a strong link to the planning. Calculate enough time for everything. Do not expect that the tasks will all be done in the time that is provided in the planning. In a project for an external client, in my experience the most time is wasted by going back and forth, asking for feedback. Do not let this client know that he has more time that is mentioned in the planning. This way, it will take even longer to get the information you need.

If people are taking a lot longer than they should, doing subtasks, revise the planning and timing. Be sure to warn everyone next in line of the adaptation in the planning.

This is the single most important thing in this entire article: calculate in mistakes! Errors will happen. Make sure you have enough time to solve these.

People

Don’t forget people. Whether they are working for you or you are working for them, they are an integral part of the process. They will be directly responsible for the result of the campaign. Don’t offend, be polite and always remember your place in the food chain. In short: just be nice when you need to be, but don’t hold back when a bit of anger is required.

Overview before details

Where a lot of managers go wrong is the focusing on the details. Don’t get me wrong: details are very important. But who cares about a semicolon where a comma would do when your URL isn’t registered yet.

Don’t forget the details

In a project brief, the following items look like footnotes but they are extremely important. Don’t forget these:

  • Fulfilment: Great prize draw but no way to get the prizes to the winners?
  • Tracking: A lot of visitors on the site, but where did they come from?
  • Follow up: Send your client regular updates on how the campaign is running. This tells them that you still are on top of it and it is important to you too.
  • Content updates: Old news isn’t as important as actual news.

Think ahead

This point applies to both the planning stage as to the project itself. In planning, timing, skills and people are important and you should keep all this in mind.

If the project is successful, the client might want an extension on it. It might be more content, a longer period that the project is live or even the adaptation of it to please a new target audience. So document everything and make sure all the files that have been created are legible by a similar professional. This is because people come and go in companies. There is nothing worse than getting a great project and not understanding a word that is written down about it.

Don’t forget your client

If you are developing a project with your team, remember who you are working for. This person will decide if the project is good, the budget is approved and whether they want to work with you in the future. If you have a better knowledge of the market, in no case forget these points when you are explaining why he is wrong and you are correct.

Do you have more ideas on this?

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Posted by on March 5, 2009 in My 2 cents

 

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