In this article I want to talk about not just what projects need to succeed, but how any kind of ‘project’ needs this; whether it’s in our web/marketing world or not.
The 3 things every project needs to succeed is common logic but it’s often overlooked as we fancy ourselves a bit more brilliant than we really are, and we skip steps in the adrenaline and excitement of a creative venture – which can result in detrimental outcomes.
The 3 things that every project needs to succeed are all in the planning phase of your project initially, but you will work throughout the life of the project with the planning, so you should be able to connect the importance.
Here Are the 3 Things Every Project Needs to Succeed
Plan with the End in Mind
Don’t complicate this one, just live by it. In as much detail as you need, clearly define what ‘complete’ is. Put it down in writing, nod your heads on that zoom where you list off that writing, then sign docs with that writing you put down.
The fully finished product, whether that’s a regional tour, a 4 bedroom home, a product email campaign, or a mobile app, needs a blueprint or a roadmap, and it needs all the details written down.
This is where I see projects die. Both in the sales & kickoff phase and then toward completion.
Easier said than done, I realize this.
However, an 87% completed’ scope is better than throwing your hands up and saying, “..there’s too much to possibly list it all out..” or “.. it’s just too complex..” and not at least trying to define the goal.
It’s likely not too complex, it’s just being done by you and you alone; whoever you are reading this. Oh, and read on!
Plan with at Least One Partner
Not just any partner, but ‘the’ partner needed to build ‘the thing’ you’re building or launching. This part I cannot help you with directly, you just need to know.
- Are you the owner/salesperson? Plan with your foreman who you trust to estimate and scope accurately.
- Are you the VP of Marketing at your company or the salesperson at an agency? Plan on having one other key role that will be active on the project check your project proposal.
I’m oversimplifying this one, but just like the point I’m making, it’s at least being mentioned. The scenarios are endless, and pointless for me to list; only you know that one minimum extra set of eyes and brainpower that should be involved in the planning of your project.
Plan with a Schedule
Put milestones in place that break up the end in mind, down into smaller parts. We instinctively know how to do this, but just get lazy and skip it and it’s a fatal miss.
My background is in construction, and rock music so bear with my analogies.
In construction, you don’t just build a house or remodel a kitchen, you establish the ‘finished product’ with the client, run the plans by the foreman who triple checks material & labor cost, then after we get a signed agreement we give our clients a timeline.
Not just a timeline, but one that builds in weather delays, and more.
On web & marketing projects at Suited, I can’t help my team or our client if no one has tracked where we are (regardless of what some may be saying) or what it means if we are behind or ahead. It’s got to be broken down into sub-tasks and milestones to have any sense of where you are, when managing a project.
Put dependencies in place that don’t allow a train wreck. On tours, we wouldn’t agree to the show until we had a signed deal, because we knew we’d be finagling with the venue anyway, who tried to up the presale on us, or reduce the payout.
That’s another story and sounds more like contracts, but it was a dependency. “We book that show yet Johnny?” and I’d say, “nope, not until they agree to X”.
Same goes for building anything in the digital marketing world; not saying the clients are the venue in that last analogy, just saying you can’t proceed with Y until X is done. If you do and get into a stalemate, you lose time and money, and you’re not far from a train wreck if no one defined the clear break between steps.
Books are written on this, I’m just agreeing with the logic, and emphasizing how you must live by this concept of dependencies ..even if you can proceed with another task in the next phase, don’t.
Schedule in all the delays. Not as delays per-se, but as expected steps in that type of project. Testing, revisions, illness, more revisions, and holidays. Look closely at the fact that you have milestones ending on a Thursday.
If that is not seen by the other remote worker until Friday, who ..took that Friday off.. well, he’s not back in until Monday, and not in your project until 1 pm after his lunch. Maybe make that due Wednesday so you avoid the loss of 4 days of downtime?
That’s just one teeny-tiny example of really examining a schedule. Yeah, I know you first just drop your 90-day project on a calendar, but do NOT skip the drill-down on key milestones, where they land, what delays may happen due to simple work schedules, and so on. Make sure ALL members of the project say, “Yeah, I see that. Yes, I will plan to have my part done on those days..” – at least for those key moments where final QA pushes stage 2 to 3, ya know?
Our projects are not perfect at Suited; no agencies’ are. However, I’ve worked all over in my 50+ years and we have a better handle on these 3 things than any group I’ve been part of, and we still run into problems! That’s not to say we’re doing anything wrong, I’m saying even following these guidelines, and continually getting better at refining them, projects still face challenges.
That’s just the nature of a project- unforeseen items, roadblocks, and problems needing to be solved.
Eliminate extra loss in time and money by putting the 3 things every project needs to succeed in place in your process and tailoring them to the exact product or service you provide. Want us to plan and complete your next project? Contact us!
Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s killing sales, or it’s ‘boring to read’ – they’ve not had to run a project or pay for one that goes over in time and cost.
Just remember the 3 things every project needs to succeed.