I’m so not type A. Really, one look inside my purse or my car or most of my closets will assure you of that. Yes, I’m the people person creative type. I was a good science and math student too—but the obsessive parts of me are just not aligned with neatness, order and the like. It’s understandable, I think, that a creative type is one who starts a marketing company. After all, so much of good marketing comes from the capital of intellect and creativity: great new ideas, clever wordsmithing, negotiating and developing ideas with clients, etc.
It doesn’t take long to learn that organized virtual closets are a necessity in a marketing company. We run several projects at a time for any given client. In the beginning, it seemed easy to just go with the flow and finish each project as it came up. Within a short amount of time, it was evident that in order to do the best work for our clients we had to “manage” their projects.
So, what does it mean for us to manage projects? And how can a free wheeling free spirits force themselves to manage them?
Well, it’s not always easy, but the benefits are so clear that we’ve gotten it down to a few important “musts.”
· You must use a project management system. At its most simple, this is a calendar with every project connected to a date and every task and subtask calendared. We like Vertabase project management software, with the ability to organize things by client, to assign tasks to particular people, to sort, to enter even the most tiny subtask, etc.
· Every client project of any size must be entered into the project management system. Really every one. Otherwise life becomes a world of rushed finishes, crazy deadline days and mistakes.
· With religious-like zeal you must adhere to a schedule of meetings about client projects and the calendar. We have found that it is enough to just go through a list client by client of projects, read each one aloud and have a quick chat about due dates and process. What is in process? Who is taking care of it? Is the due date accurate? Do tasks needed to be edited in any way?
That’s it. No magic….just the same lesson my mom tried to teach me a hundred times. Make a list. Check things off. Write down the new stuff. Mom, I wish you could hear this; You were right. It actually works.