Five Tips to Make Managing Projects Easier

When running an internal project, there are a myriad of things to worry about. There are timelines to be established, goals to be met and budgets to be crunched. Your ability to keep all these balls in the air will depend largely on how well you manage the people involved in the campaign – both those who are working with you as well as the people you’re creating the campaign for.

Whether designing marketing strategies for clients or managing our own internal initiatives, we’ve managed a lot of projects over the years. Here are some of our tips to help you get the most out of your team during your next big project.

1) Don’t overwhelm people with choices

“Every woman wants choices, but in the end, none wants to be one of a hundred in a box.” – Don Draper

If you’re looking for an example of a marketing tactic gone bad, consider the concept of choice. Studies show that while choice may be appealing to customers, they’re 10 times less likely to buy (30% to 3%) a product or service when presented too many options. Why? Because choice can be paralyzing and overwhelming. Whether you’re talking to customers, external clients or are pitching branding ideas to an internal team – make sure the options you present are limited. If you don’t, you run the risk of wasting valuable time, money and opportunity waiting for people to get over said paralysis. Keeping your energy focused on a few, well-honed ideas is always more valuable than spreading your resources too thin.

2) Don’t try to please everyone

“A ‘no’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The old proverb holds true – Try to please everyone, and you’ll end up pleasing no one. Some folks will love what you present. Others won’t. While it’s important to listen to dissenters, it doesn’t necessarily mean that what you’re doing is wrong. In fact, your biggest room for improving a campaign might not be in pleasing those who are dissatisfied – but doing a better job of pleasing those who are already satisfied. Always take negative feedback into consideration, but unless it threatens to cut to the core of what you’re doing, don’t let it dictate your overall direction.

3) Remember that time is money

“Time is money says the proverb, but turn it around and you get a precious truth. Money is time.” – George Gissing

The more time that’s put into making a decision means that there’s less time being spent doing what your campaign was meant to do in the first place – make money. After all, it’d be a shame to lose a great account that could have come from this campaign because you were wondering what color the ‘I’ in your logo design should be. This doesn’t mean you should be reckless or that planning and development don’t have their place. They most certainly do. But using thoroughness as an excuse to do nothing is unacceptable. Trust your instincts and move forward. There’s no such thing as the perfect campaign and adjustments will have to be made in the future. Don’t think yourself into inaction.

4) Limit the number of decision makers

“Nothing at all will be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.” – Samuel Johnson

At some point, we’ve all been at a table where a group is trying to decide if A will come before B. Someone blurts out that A has a minor crack in it. The person next to them agrees. Person #3 wonders if it’s a deal breaker. Person #4 says it will and Person #5 insists it won’t. What starts as a casual observation has now turned into a time wasting, money burning debate over something mostly innocuous. It’s the kind of thing that drives a marketing consultant mad.While it’s nice to look at a campaign from a variety of perspectives, it’s also important to recognize that too many cooks in the kitchen can become problematic. In some cases, they can derail an entire campaign. That’s why you make sure – before any project begins – to set a clear strategy that defines who is making decisions and stick to it. Define what is expected of whom and when it’s expected. Limit the decision makers to no more than 2 to 3 people. The more people you have to go through, the more basic decisions can bog down your efforts.

5) Don’t forget who’s paying for whom

“Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win”- Jonathan Kozel

At the end of the day, you’re in your position because you possess a certain expertise. Part of that expertise includes your judgment. Judgment includes making decisions. Whether that’s you guiding a group to a consensus or making it yourself, don’t be afraid to use the power you’ve been given. If you don’t like the direction things are headed in, then you’re within your authority to change it. If someone has flown off the reservation, you can put them in a better place on the team or choose to part ways. You were given the power for a reason. Don’t be afraid to use it.It doesn’t matter if you’re at a big marketing agency or dealing with a small client, our experience has taught us that managing people is more important than managing things. Things have a tendency to work themselves out. People, on the other hand, always need guidance and encouragement. Stay positive, stay focused and abide by these rules and whether it’s a creating a website or merely maximizing your SEO, we’re confident your next project will be the best one yet!


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