MARKETING PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR PROCESSES? – THE PROBLEM WITH MARKETING TASK MANAGEMENT
The term “marketing project management” is often used when an organized departmental effort includes tasks with a due date. But, what if marketing projects aren’t really projects? What if they are processes?
Project management is the process of starting, organizing, controlling, carrying out and closing the work of a team to accomplish specific goals and meet certain success requirements at the specific time. The main goal of project management is to accomplish all the project goals within the given time.
But is it a process or is it a project?
To answer the question, ask yourself: “what are the most important tasks for the upcoming project?”
If you answer with a response like “order hardware,” “do a site visit” or “get a sign-off,” then ask yourself another question. “Is what I am explaining, in fact, a project?” Are you sure that it is not, in reality, a process that just happens to have steps with due dates connected with them?
Just because a specific task demands accountability from a specific person and has a deadline, does not always mean that it is a project task. It could as easily be another step in a process.
This is essential because the resources used to manage processes and projects are rather different in their strategy:
- Processes show a basic sense of time (top to bottom or left to right), but there is no visible sign of duration – all steps are the exact same size.
- Project tools are excellent at addressing a project timeline but inadequate at aiding workflow.
Some projects are essentially processes disguised as projects. Project management and process management are in fact two sides of the exact same coin. Consequently, many businesses make the mistake of choosing a project management tool rather than a process management tool when what they really need is a combination of the two.
Failure to choose the most suitable tool can have a considerable impact. Projects often fail because too little time is invested understanding the process required to drive the demands of the project.
Identifying the type of platform needed can be tricky. Here are three scenarios:
- Social media escalation – When someone complains on social media about your company, there are several different ways to respond. The proper response is based on multiple decision points reviewed by multiple stakeholders including legal, support, marketing, and sales.
- Client onboarding – there are a number of steps required for every new client that you bring onboard. Each step must be completed in the proper sequence, each step is conducted by a different person, and each step has a beginning, middle, and end. Is this a project or a process?
- The marketing department requires well-defined, repeatable workflows for all page optimization and testing. While each page optimization experiment is different, there is still a predefined methodology that must be followed.
If you are responsible for these three situations, then what tool would you use, project management or process management? Regardless, you will find you need components of both, or would you disregard the processing element and concentrate on the project? Unless you decide to use two different tools – one to design the process and the other to manage the project while trying to keep them in sync.
A considerable portion of day-to-day activities in many industries involves a combination of process and project functionality. Think of this as process-driven project management, in which the process is designed, and then managed like a project.
Marketing Projects are Influenced by Process, but the Process is Hidden
A project calls for a set of relevant activities, executed in a defined sequence to accomplish a specific goal. All project plans are dependent on a suggested process, identified by predecessors and successors.
Project managers like Gantt Charts simply because they are an excellent representation of a project’s timeline and dependencies. The problem with project management tools is that the process remains to be hidden because their approach is centered on a list of tasks to be performed and the dates by which they need to be accomplished.
Marketing Processes have a Timeline, but the Timeline Can’t be Managed
A process is like a project because it is a sequence of steps with a starting point and an end in which it is designed to reach a goal. The exact same process may be replicated numerous times, but even duplicated processes have a starting point and an end, a distinctive timeline and an exclusive deliverable.
An example, an employee onboarding process is recurring, but there may be intricacies in the way it is processed every time, and the specific deliverable at the end (the individual employee who is on-boarded) is distinctive. Marketing process management tools are centered on transactional, automated processes. This means they are not able to efficiently address the projected 80% of business processes that are unstructured and collaborative. In a process, there is no idea of time.
The Solution: Process-Driven Marketing Project Management
When you visit the software tool store, there is an aisle for project management software and an aisle for process management software. You won’t find an aisle for process/project management software.
Obviously, many opportunities we think of as processes, like on-boarding an employee or processing a customer bill from start to end can also be handled as projects.
The solution to the problem is process-driven project management. With process‐driven project management, a process is first created using a suitable process design tool, and then managed using a project management tool. The goal would be the underlying data is found to be the same – just the views are different.
The Benefits of Process-Driven Project Management
Process-driven project management presents a single comprehensive and specific platform for determining, visualizing and driving the flow of production work through the organization.
- For both processes and projects, one tool for implementation and support.
- For users associated with processes and projects, same interface.
- Added dimension of process management for projects.
- Added dimension of time for processes.
- No importing and exporting among multiple tools or duplication of data.
- No duplication of effort designing in one tool and managing in another.
- A single repository for all the organizations processes and projects.
- Responsibilities for process design and project management can be deemed by resources with the ideal skill set.
If your organization runs process‐driven projects, and you are handling them as projects, you are seriously restricting your organization’s abilities. A tool that can provide both project and process management will produce substantial dividends.
Project Management vs. Process Management
If there were an imaginary software store, you would find an aisle for project management products and an aisle to process management products. There is no aisle for products that combine both.
The software depends on what exact type of functionality you are looking for in your project management tool, and what type of tasks you are interested in accomplishing by using the application.
The actual number of processes or project management tools can be tremendous. This is especially true if you are a business trying to understand if needing more of a project-management based approach or a process-management based approach.
Of course, knowing how to combine the two is where the real value exists.
The problem with using a project management system is that the process remains obscured because the project is focused on the tasks that need to be done and the dates in which they need to be done. Using that approach and without having a holistic way to look at a project, it’s impossible to determine how workflow moves through the project.
On the other hand, the problem with using a process management system is there no concept of time to determine when steps in that project are going to take place. Therefore, this eliminates the chance of effective resource planning.
Once you start deciphering between project and process management, it is easy to see where an organization misstep. Luckily, doing the right research on what project vs. process management is and how the two works in tandem of the other will help any enterprise understand the critical application types needed to address their individual business management needs.
If your business runs process-driven projects and are managing them as projects, you are severely limiting your organization’s capabilities. A tool that can provide both project and process management will yield enormous dividends. That tool exists today.
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Because it’s harder to go backwards than forward, it is important to identify the type of platform that best fits your organization’s specific needs before your major growth period begins. MaconRAINE can automate any kind of process or project in Salesforce.com. Click here for more information about using Salesforce.com to Manage Marketing Projects and Processes.