Roadblocks in terms of marketing project management (as opposed to, say, a police car chase) are anything that gets in the way of completing tasks and projects in the manner and by the time they are needed. As many of these obstacles and productivity killers can be subtle or completely ingrained in work processes, the first step for any marketing PM is to be able to identify what exactly is holding their project back.
Identifying Marketing Project Roadblocks
No one can predict the future, so no matter how carefully you plan your content calendars and creative campaigns, some roadblocks are inevitable. What matters is that you enable yourself to react – and that means knowing how to spot them in the first place.
To recognize roadblocks in your own projects, start by asking yourself questions such as:
- What issues today will prevent you from working how you want?
- What issues over the past quarter have prevented you from working how you want?
- Are there any obstacles to working how you want with team members?
- Are there any structural issues that you feel hold the team back?
You can have team members return lists with their answers, or hold a meeting to brainstorm together and create a visual list of issues. Here’s a look at some of the most common issues facing marketing project management, including but not limited to:
- Multiple versions of the same spreadsheet or document causing confusion
- Not knowing where and how all team resources are being deployed
- Uncertainty over who has responsibility for deliverables
- Timing and collaboration problems for remote teams
- Lack of clarity about approval, feedback and sign-off from management
- Difficulty of assessing project and task status
What to Do About Project Roadblocks
Though every marketing team will have its own unique set of circumstances and accompanying issues, there are some general solutions which can dramatically reduce the most common roadblocks.
Use the Right Project Management Tools
For today’s marketing teams to work effectively, tasks need to be clear, feedback loops need to flow constantly and collaboration needs to be more in sync than a nearly-forgotten 90s boy band. With the right project management tools, all of this and more can be achieved in one fell swoop.
Cloud-based platforms that support a range of project management methodologies can help break down work silos, especially for remote or distributed teams.
Create a Drive Towards Transparency
One of the biggest things holding back any team and its management is not knowing what’s going on. Confusion reigns as spreadsheets slip through the cracks and important tasks get completely forgotten.
For marketing project managers, it is essential to create a situation where complete visibility is the norm, which can involve either a culture change or technological change (such as through introducing simplified tracking through online project management tools).
From knowing where resources need to be deployed to get a task over the line to smoothing out the onboarding of new team members who don’t know who they should be working with, making projects transparent and easy-to-navigate is a must for today’s marketing teams.
Plan and Reiterate
Even if you’re not a strictly Agile team, you can prepare yourself for roadblocks by taking inspiration from Agile values. Agile’s emphasis on “experimental evolution,” in particular, allows teams to incorporate feedback loops, repetition and lesson-learning directly into their processes.
Let’s say your team is designing a series of webinars to promote a new product. During the first round of deliverables, there is a significant lag during the approval process for the webinar content. By using this roadblock as an opportunity to reflect on the causes of the lag, your team can anticipate or mitigate similar roadblocks in future rounds or projects.
One of the simplest ways of overcoming communication and visibility issues is to adopt project management tools that fit your organization’s needs. As an industry-leading provider of PM software, Clarizen offers the possibility to make your marketing project teams more nimble through technology. To see how, get in contact with us today to organize a live demo.