A beautiful advertising campaign looks great, but if it’s not timed right, or targeted well, or saying the right things, then it’s not going to gain much traction. Similarly, problems will arise if you end up with a direct mail campaign without a co-ordinated mailing list, a print job without a printer – and who’s checking that the graphics team has time to fit that urgent job in?
There’s more to project management than meets the eye. Many people claim to be very good at it. Fewer actually are. There’s a bit of an art to it, and you have to be something of a strategist to really excel. There are usually multiple parties involved in most projects, from designers and production teams to voiceovers, delivery drivers and store managers. Keeping everyone up to speed is vital, so good communication is an absolute must.
Here’s our checklist of what a good project manager should be considering. Obviously there is some flexibility in this depending on the scale of a given project, but if these questions are not being answered, then perhaps you need to start asking a few yourself!
- Capacity. Can the campaign realistically be achieved? Are additional resources or time required?
- Timings. A detailed timing plan, allowing for feedback and amends at each stage, needs to be provided, and most importantly, stuck to.
- Briefing. We’ve blogged about this separately but the importance of a good brief is not to be underestimated. A well briefed project lets everyone know exactly what is expected, and when, and if done well will save time and effort further down the line.
- Feedback and amends. We all want to be helpful and accommodate clients’ needs, but equally, timings need to be met. It’s best to allow time for feedback and amends from the start – trying to squish them in along the way will nearly always result in delays.
- Leadtimes. This is slightly different to the broader timings plan – right from the start, a project manager must be checking the leadtimes on all aspects of a campaign, from sourcing products to booking print time or creating templates for die-cutting. Some elements of a campaign take a long time and need to be accounted for up front.
- Allowances for delay. This is vital in any project, from chasing people down for interviews for a PR piece to a broken down delivery vehicle. Of course you can’t predict every eventuality, but allowing a little flexibility where possible can help to ease the strain should anything go awry.
- Production, fulfilment, delivery.
Some projects have many more phases requiring simultaneous management, but the above will apply to most.
Do you have any project management tips to share? Get in touch and let us know!
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