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9 skills marketers need to adopt now to become better project managers

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At an AAAA media conference in 2004, Jim Stengel, Global Marketing Manager for Proctor & Gamble said this noteworthy line:
“Today’s marketing is broken. I give us a ‘D’ because our mentalities have not changed enough. Our measurement has not evolved.”

Even though he said it 10 years ago, it’s even truer today. Marketing departments across the board are stuck in everything besides the most important work they need to complete. All of these extraneous tasks take marketing professionals away from their projects, increasing the amount their clients have to pay in the process.

The internet has made marketing anything easier than ever. For that reason, people who do not have experience in marketing are becoming involved in the industry. This influx of competitors has watered down everything, making it that much more difficult for a particular web property to rise to the top of the ranks. The career path for a marketer is rocky at best unless the individual in question develops project management skills.

Learning a completely new skillset might seem like quite the ordeal. If you’re lacking in these skills, you don’t need to think about switching professions just yet. All you have to do is follow the recommendations below by Andreas Tremel, CEO of application company InLoox and you will be a great project manager in no time. The path is a treacherous one, but when you make it to the other end, you will reap tremendous rewards.

1. Define project targets: Every project needs to have a plan. This plan needs to be flexible enough to account for issues that may arise. Figure out certain milestones that you have to reach during the course of a project. Schedule realistic timeframes for each milestone and devote all your resources to meeting those goals. Reaching benchmarks is one of the most important things if you want your project to be a success.

2. Understand your stakeholders: There are more people involved with any project besides project team members. You need to be aware of who’s watching your progress and has a stake in your success. People outside of the project team might not have any input on every step of a project; however, they need to be aware of whatever progress you are making.

3. Have an official kick-off meeting: Everyone who’s associated with a project should be invited to a meeting where all of the details of the project will be discussed. Hold additional meetings throughout the project to bring stakeholders up to speed. These meetings will allow for an open dialogue between stakeholders and members of the project team.

4. Track metrics: Any quantifiable project variable should be made available for both stakeholders and members of the project team. While these numbers might not tell the entire story of what’s going on within the project, they give a solid indication of the project team’s output. Effective project management software or protocols can make compiling this data much easier.

5. Calculate risk: You can’t do anything in the business world without a certain measure of risk. Figuring out how much risk is involved and finding the best ways to minimize that risk is key. You should never think about avoiding a project simply because there’s risk involved.

6. Strategies are ever changing: Sticking with the same strategy for the entire length of your project is a surefire recipe for disaster. You have to be willing to change your strategy as the circumstances of your project change. Your ability to adapt will prevent incidents from happening that could have the potential to throw everything out of whack.

7. Communicate Regularly: A project cannot be successful without consistent communication. Technology has made it easier than ever for project teams to communicate with one another. Location is no longer a factor limiting project teams from being aware of everything that’s going on.

8. Set it into writing: Do not create assumptions on the fly that you expect everyone to follow. You need to put everything in writing or else people are going to forget about it or not even find out that it exists. For this reason, your project documentation will change dramatically as time goes on.

9. Set realistic expectations: Promising too much for your project will only lead to project team members or stakeholders becoming disappointed. The best approach is to promise very little and then deliver more than what people anticipated. It’s better to surprise people than to leave them wanting more.

Modern day project managers are choosing to go with their gut instinct when a complication arises in their project. This approach could lead to solid results from time to time, but the results will be inconsistent at best. You have to go about each step of your project with a clear plan in mind. You also need to be flexible when the circumstances you’re facing are not part of your plan.

Great project managers are able to tell when things are going wrong. They can make adjustments before everything goes off kilter. It’s up to the project team to work together to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Without input from all project team members, the success of a project might be in doubt. If project team members feel like something could be done differently, they need to speak up. They should be rewarded for positive contributions, not penalized.

You might throw your hands up in disgust at the idea of investing so much time in the project planning process. When you reach the finish line, you will find that all the time you spent was more than worth it. Your efforts to prepare for the occasion will pay off in more ways than you could imagine.

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