Project management (PM) – a skillset many marketers will openly admit they have very little patience for and very little experience in. Because of this, marketers (who tend to be on the more creative side of the scale) can often dismiss project management as time-consuming and unnecessary – a function best suited for web or software development projects, where the multitudes of stakeholders, deadlines, and milestones involved in one project can often become a giant jumbled mess without proper project management oversight.
Most marketers simply feel that project management is not their job – and they are right… to a degree. Marketers can learn a lot from project managers, particularly when it comes to planning, collaboration, and prioritization skills. With sharper project management skills, marketers could grow their metrics and shorten their timelines, saving time and money while enhancing their ROI. Doesn’t that sound like something worth adding to your skillset?
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The primary project management skills that have a direct correlation to marketing include:
- Project planning
- Document/task management
- Expense tracking and ROI analysis
- Effective collaboration with co-workers and clients
The underlying theme of all the above skills is the ability to alleviate disorganization and miscommunication, common problems with many marketing teams (where the majority of the team’s members tend to be more creative and less analytical).
Another project management mainstay that is worthwhile to marketers is project management software. The modern project manager has myriad tools and programs at their disposal to make their work more efficient and effective, two outcomes marketers also strive to achieve.
These tools allow project collaborators and team members to work on the same project remotely, while keeping track of conversations in one dedicated place, and hosting a library to keep project files in a central location accessible to all team members. This type of software removes the need for superfluous status meetings because clients can check in as milestones are being met.
It also eliminates the confusion and frustration of searching through email chains for information and documents and helps to hold team members accountable for their work in real time, which can increase productivity.
The best part?
Many of these programs offer free trials or different levels of the program at different price points, making PM software an affordable opportunity for most any size team.
Some PM tools popular with marketers today include:
Of course, there are plenty of other great PM programs available out there, and no software is one-size-fits-all. Be sure that before you invest in PM software that you consider whether the tool can grow as your project load grows, that it’s user friendly (for your team and your clients), flexible enough to meet your needs (and customizable to meet unique needs), and that it is worth the investment (i.e., does it create enough solutions to rationalize the cost?).
Now, you always have the option of simply hiring a project manager, but with so many options for training and software to help with PM, this isn’t necessarily the best or the only option for teams with limited budgets.
You can’t teach creativity, but with the right training and tools you can teach the creative-minded the skills they need to think and operate like project management professionals.
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