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There is good news and bad news when it comes to tools and software in project management.
We’ll start with the good news. There are so many tools and frameworks in project management. Now for the bad news, there are so many tools and frameworks in project management. Because of its wide variety, there will surely be a project management framework that can work for you. But also because of its vast assortment, choosing one can be overwhelming. With so many advantages and limitations for every project management strategy, how do you pick which one to use?
The answer is through the use of strategic project management.
What is strategic project management?
Strategic project management is planning and tailoring your approach to your project’s specific features and needs to facilitate its successful completion. Having a well-planned project management strategy is crucial in delivering a successful project.
In order to create the best strategy for your project, here are eight things you need to evaluate and consider:
8 Project Management Strategies to Consider:
1. Project Objectives And Success Indicators
Many confuse project goals with project objectives. Your goals are the long-term success parameters for your client that your project will support. On the other hand, project objectives are the concrete results your project needs to achieve in order to support those goals. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate:
Goal: Increase brand awareness
Objective: Increase website traffic by 20% in the next quarter
Goal: Establish thought leadership
Objective: Publish at least two well-researched long-form articles a month
There are many different types of project objectives. This will affect the kind of deliverables you’ll have to submit. You might want to track monthly productivity to improve your processes (efficiency objective).
For performance objectives (similar to the examples above), you may opt to organize a different cadence on your submissions and format for your milestones.
Strategic project management is about creating systems that will allow your team to monitor, control, and fulfill your project objectives.
2. Milestones And Deliverables
Milestones are checkpoints in your project that represent significant progress. You can base your milestones on project phases, necessary approvals, core tasks or features, events, etc.
For example, suppose you’re organizing an event. In that case, your milestones can be core tasks such as having your budget approved, finalizing your sponsor list, finishing your landing page, booking your venue, etc. When you’re building a landing page, your milestones may be the approvals of your wireframe, design, copy, etc.
Deliverables are outputs you commit to submitting to your client. Building off the previous example, your deliverables to your client for your event may simply be reports because your progression is linear.
As for the landing page project, you may have to submit incrementally –first, submit your wireframe and get feedback. Iterate, and offer an improved version –so on, and so forth.
Soliciting feedback can be important for this type of project because user experience significantly affects the effectiveness of your output.
The project strategy you choose should accommodate the type of milestones and deliverables your project has.
3. Client Involvement
You’ll need to consider the level of involvement your client is willing to give when picking a project strategy. In the landing page example of the previous section, we talked about soliciting frequent feedback. Not all clients are willing to do this.
If a client hires you with no in-house marketing team, they likely trust you to do most of the decision-making and expect very little involvement from their end. In this case, you can either find a way to solicit feedback from a different set of stakeholders or veer away from a project or strategy that involves a high client involvement.
On the other hand, if your client has an in-house marketing team, they might expect you to check back often and update them on your decisions.
Be sure to align with your clients to understand what they expect from you.
4. Team Size And Dynamics
Your project team’s size, level of experience, dynamic, and variety of expertise are vital considerations in selecting a project strategy plan.
If your team is small, scope management and prioritization may be essential to ensure that your efforts are focused on work that will move the needle. You can also opt to promote high collaboration.
For bigger teams, alignment and task visibility may be your core concerns. The collaboration will also be a challenge. You’ll have to manage groupthink while ensuring that decisions are widely respected.
Gauging the level of experience of your team is also going to be necessary. Are your project team members fit to self-organize, or do they require guidance and supervision?
Cross-functional teams would benefit from strategies that allow each type of member to work according to their flow. For project management tools such as Agile, their multidisciplinary nature can also contribute to a holistic problem-solving approach when issues arise.
5. Resource Availability And Dependencies
Dependencies are resources that your team needs to make progress in their tasks. The number of dependencies you have (externally and internally), along with the level of control over them, are important considerations when doing strategic planning in project management.
A common dependency is a financial support. If your project budget has already been approved and made available from the beginning, you’re free to pick any project strategy plan you want.
However, if your budget is something you need to solicit incrementally, you might have to use a project management strategy that will allow you to create frequent functioning deliverables. In this way, you can convince your stakeholders of the value you continuously offer.
Strategic project planning will help you navigate resource management effectively if you evaluate them from the get-go.
6. Predictability Of Project Behaviors And Outcomes
Technology has allowed products, services, and communications to be immensely personal. And with the amount of information vying for customers’ attention, recency and responsiveness have become the norm. Because of this, the success of many endeavors has come to latch tightly around these factors.
The Agile methodology is vastly used in software development because it allows project teams to test and iterate their work. In marketing, this type of methodology may also be helpful for web development and social media. In these cases, the final output will not always match the initial plan –and that’s okay.
On the other hand, other channels, such as events, will tend to follow a linear progression because iterating mid-production can become expensive. Predictability is high, and event organizers do what they can to keep it that way.
When strategically planning in project management, think about the predictability of your project’s behavior, so you can prepare to accommodate (or minimize) change.
7. Iteration Cost
Building off the example above, it’s usually essential for projects with high ambiguity to have a low iteration cost.
For example, if you’re filming a commercial, you’ll need to ensure that your script, storyboards, and shot lists are ready to go before you start renting lights, paying actors, and booking venues. Otherwise, you might end up spending a lot on last-minute changes.
Iteration cost, in this case, is high. So, when you’re doing your project management strategic planning, you should ensure that details are ironed out at every stage of development before starting the next one.
Meanwhile, imagine that you’re building a landing page. You can start with rough layouts of how you want it to look. But once you begin creating wireframes and user testing, you may find that it isn’t as intuitive as you imagined. In this scenario, iteration is inexpensive. It’s also vital to your success.
Consider your iteration cost when you evaluate how you plan to approach change management.
8. Workflow Structure
Your project workflow is the steps that your team takes to complete tasks. For some teams, the workflow is steady and consistent. For example, all members of your content teams most likely follow the same process when they work on articles:
- Outline creation
- Editing and proofreading
However, this may not be the case if you’re working with a cross-functional team. Your account manager may have a different workflow from your marketing creative.
When you do your project management strategy planning, consider your workflow. Your chosen strategy needs to allow all your team members to be productive.
Optimizing Your Project Management Strategy With a Project Management Tool
With so many project management strategies in your arsenal, you can tailor your strategy according to your team, project, and client's needs. Project management strategy planning is about evaluating crucial factors to choose the best approach.
To customize your project management strategies according to your project needs, use a flexible project management tool like Workamajig –a marketing project management software designed for creative teams.
Workamajig supports all project management methodologies and workflows used by marketing agencies and teams. And with its many features and functionalities, you will be able to manage your projects seamlessly, all within one integrated tool. Workamajig offers project management, resource management, task management, as well as accounting, and finance features, to manage your project from start to finish. Ditch all your other tools and see your project from conception to completion with Workamajig.
Learn more today and find out how Workamajig can help your agency or team manage projects more effectively and efficiently.