Anyone with a business strives for success but not everyone systematically implements the project plan tools which are readily available to assist with marketing. This may be because many of the resources seem too academic or perhaps it’s the sheer volume of information which is daunting. In this article I highlight eight tools which can be used to create a solid project plan, helping create the strategic backbone to marketing success.
For project plans to produce the desired results they need to integrate, support and inform marketing strategy, development and direction. A project plan can be made up of one or more of the business tools below which include matrices and models to help identify almost every aspect of a business, from brand purpose, role players, actions, insights, competitors and company growth.
1) Project Charter
“If you don’t know where you are going. How can you expect to get there?” Basil S. Walsh
Creating a Project Charter is recommended for someone in project management who needs to identify, get buy in, track and measure a specific project. It outlines the:
- Breadth of project
- Who is involved and their responsibilities.
A Project Charter should:
- Encapsulate the project’s purpose
- Keep the people involved on the same page
- Be a contract between the project sponsor, key stakeholders and the project team.
SmartSheet has Project Charter useful templates available for free download in word or excel.
2) Project Plan
“Plans are worthless. Planning is essential.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
While a Project Charter is an overview of a project, often to get buy in and approval for the framework, a Project Plan works on the approved structure and framework of the charter.
Bright Hub Project Management outlines the following points on how a Project Plan assists with the specific detail on executing, managing and controlling:
- Project Value Proposition
- People involved and their responsibilities
- Business structure
- What needs to be done
- Phases, activities and tasks
- Identification the work breakdown structure (WBS)
- Allocation of resources
- Time lines and milestones or critical path schedule (CPS)
- Documentation of project inter-dependencies.
There are various ways to create a Project Plan but the traditional Microsoft Project Templates always work effectively, or explore the option of using a free Gantt Chart template.
3) Project Plan Scope Triangle
“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” Theophrastus
The Scope Triangle has been used in project training programmes for over 25 years and is a useful tool to use when looking at the three “primary forces” of a project as well as if, when and where a “trade off” between them is necessary:
As Nick Jenkins, from Project Smart says, “The best project managers will juggle all three like hot potatoes and will make decisions every day which effectively trade-off time versus quality versus resources.”
4) Ansoff’s Matrix
“Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet.” Henry Mintzberg
This strategic planning tool dates back to the 1960s and is named after its creator, Russian American mathematician and business manager, Harry Igor Ansoff, also known as the “father of strategic management”.
The Matrix is based on Ansoff’s definition of product-market strategy as being: “A joint statement of a product line and the corresponding set of missions which the products are designed to fulfil.” Within the axis of existing / new markets and existing /new products are:
- Market penetration
- Market development
- Product development and;
The benefit of using Ansoff’s Matrix (also known as the Product/Market Expansion Grid) is that it can be used to, as MindTools explains, “Identify alternative growth strategies by looking at present and potential products in current and future markets.”
5) The Boston Matrix
“The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.” Jim Rohn
The Boston Matrix uses the axis of Relevant Market Share in relation to Relevant Market Growth to chart portfolios within a business, defined as:
- Dogs – Products with low growth or market share
- Question Marks or Problem Child – Products in high growth markets with low market share
- Stars – Products in high growth markets with high market share
- Cash Cows – Products in low growth markets with high market share.
I’ve included this matrix as it is useful for companies with separate business units or diverse products, but as Strategic Management Insights points out, it needs to be used by following these steps –
- Choose the unit
- Define the market
- Calculate relative market share
- Find out market growth rate, and;
- Draw the circles on a matrix.
6) Gartner’s Hype Cycle
“Realistically, the world (and the technology) aren’t quite ready for autonomous flying taxis.” Kasey Panetta
Unlike most of the tools on this list, Gartner’s Hype Cycle positions us firmly in the 21st Century. It’s described as, “A graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities.” But, more simply put, it’s positioning your product or business within a technology curve of expectation and time to see where it is / isn’t potentially relevant to the marketplace.
Gatner’s project tool drills down into the five key phases of a technology’s life cycle:
- Innovation Trigger
- Peak of Inflated Expectations
- Trough of Disillusionment
- Slope of Enlightenment
- Plateau of Productivity.
Which – as they explain – helps to “separate the hype from the real”. For further insights on this, read 5 Trends Emerge in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies.
7) System Development Lifecycle (SDLC)
“Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organisation forward.” Joy Gumz
Over the last 15 years I have consciously or unconsciously used the SDLC model in many projects including helping start ups with business plans, building marketing strategies, supporting change management and of course developing IT solutions. This simple model is an method in defining the steps in the project plan through there are various other tools.
The SDLC, also known as the Application Development Life-Cycle, describes the process (often used in IT and Systems) is for planning, creating, testing, and deploying an process or information system.
There are six key stages in the SDLC cycle:
- Development and Testing
- Documentation, and;
An additional note on the importance of this from Innovative Architects: ”The life cycle approach of any project is a time-consuming process. Even though some steps are more difficult than others, none are to be overlooked. An oversight could prevent the entire system from functioning as planned.”
For additional project planning tools Smart Insights have an article with more suggestions, including SWOT Analysis, the BCG Matrix, more on the Product Lifecycle Model, the Pestle Analysis Model and the BCG Matrix.
8) Bespoke Project Planning Tools
“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker
At Prana Business Consulting we also create bespoke project planning tools based on our experience as well as specific client needs.
- Prana Business Flow Pyramid
- B2B marketing model
- Digital marketing Flowchart, and our
- Marketing to Moms Model.
Jainita Khatri, Managing Director, Prana Business Consulting
About Prana Business Consulting
Prana Business Consulting is a marketing partner to your business. Using omni-channel principles, Prana builds a connection between your brand and your client. Prana drives high performance and tangible results in Marketing, Branding, CRM and Social Media. Prana leverages industry specialists to deliver customized solutions for baby, beauty, health and wellness brands, locally and internationally. Prana is a level 1 BBBEE certified company.
Phone: +27 (0) 11 794 1409 / + 27 (0) 83 414 9796
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Creativity and innovation are essential to success in business and marketing today. But creativity can never be an endless flow of ideas and outputs. We get tired. We need time to recharge. We need to switch off. And in doing that, counter-intuitively, the creative process actually works during this ‘hibernation’ period. Continually stimulated with meetings, traffic, news and social media, December is a good time to wind down and allow relaxation to engulf our beings.
As the year bids farewell, we have to push through to the holidays, and if you are anything like me you find this merry season stressful too!
It’s all too easy to have a runaway a mind or have it so full of thoughts that you feel like you’re herding goats! There are definitely days when it’s going a million miles per minute in all different directions. Those days make it nearly impossible to shut down the mental chatter or focus on anything. Stress and worry clog up your mental processes.
Many of us are working longer hours for less money and facing all kinds of stress, so it’s no wonder that we find it hard to unwind and relax when this time of the year comes around. Use your holidays to distress As well as getting enough sleep, working out and eating well , spending quality time with the family and yourself .
What the Science Says: why is distressing important to us and our daily living?
One of the most powerful tools a psychologist can use is actually nothing new, said Herbert Benson, MD, at APA’s Annual Convention. In fact, it’s an approach that’s been around for millennia, yet its full potential remains untapped.
Benson was referring to the relaxation response, a physical state of deep rest that changes a person’s physical and emotional responses to stress.
Benson, of Harvard Medical School and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, discovered the relaxation response’s power to reduce stress in the 1960s. But his subsequent research found that the approach is really no different from what people have done for centuries through prayer, chanting and repetitive motion.
Today, scientists have shown that such practices lower heart rates, blood pressure and oxygen consumption, and they alleviate the symptoms associated with a vast array of conditions, including hypertension, arthritis, insomnia, depression, infertility, cancer, anxiety, even aging.
His latest research, published in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE (July 2), suggests that practicing the relaxation response can actually lead to genomic activity changes. In the study, his team of researchers looked at how the relaxation response affected each of the body’s 40,000 genes and found that, compared with a control group; those who regularly used the relaxation response induced anti-oxidation and anti-inflammatory changes that counteracted the effects of stress on the body.
In general, studies show that with consistent practice, relaxation techniques can potentially reduce symptoms or improve outcomes in the following conditions:
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Panic disorders
- Chronic tension headaches
- Labor and child birth
It is extremely important that usual medical care and advice be followed for these conditions as well. Relaxation techniques are meant to complement usual medical
So let me share with you how to distress and relax so that you can start 2018 refreshed and rejuvenated. Here’s 10 tips that are essential to have a relaxed and fulfilling holiday and 2018.
1. BE GRATEFUL
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is. No matter how many pleasant things you do, if you don’t learn to be grateful you will always see things negatively.
2. SLOW DOWN
Life has a lot of simple things you can enjoy. But if you move too fast you will overlook most of them. So don’t be in a hurry. Don’t move too quick. Slow down and pay attention to the world around you. Most of the ways I’m about to share will work well only if you slow down.
3. WORK IT OFF PHYSICALLY
When you’re feeling sad, angry, hurt or upset, physical activity can help relax both your mind and your body. Use physical activities like walking, hiking, stretching, jogging, running, meditation or riding a bicycle to release the pressure. Even a five- or ten-minute movement break can go a long way toward helping your body manage the symptoms of stress.
4. LEARN TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES
Like many people, you may get stressed out when you feel like you don’t have enough time to accomplish what you need to accomplish in a given day. But you can “make” more time for yourself by managing your time better. Time management means different things to different people. For some, it may be as simple as jotting down a “to do” list. For others, it involves using daily planners and organizers to schedule their day. Sometimes you just need to learn how to handle interruptions that tend to devour your time.
5. DELEGATE RESPONSIBILITIES
Are you a perfectionist like me, who doesn’t believe that anyone else could possibly complete a task as well as you do? People with perfectionist tendencies have trouble delegating work, usually because they subscribe to the old adage “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” Perhaps you’re afraid that you’ll lose control of the situation if you let someone else help you. To be able to delegate responsibility, you need to accept that “my way” of doing things is not the only effective one. Besides being a great way to reduce stress, delegating responsibility will help you build more trusting relationships.
6. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
When you’re tense, your body lets you know. Your heart beats faster, your muscles tighten, your breathing becomes shallow, and you experience any of a number of other familiar symptoms, such as a headache or queasy stomach. Start noticing your body’s signs of stress and slow down or take a break when your body is signaling you. You can also take steps to build your physical reserves, such as getting plenty of sleep and eating nutritious, balanced meals.
7. GET MORE SLEEP
Sleep improves your ability to handle stressful situations. Provide an environment that allows you to get enough peaceful sleep each night. If there is a problem that interferes with your sleep, find a way to eliminate it.
For example, if your partners snoring disturb you, either sleep in another room, wear ear plugs or find ways to eliminate or reduce the problem.
8. TAKE A BATH
Baths have been scientifically proven to relieve stress, aid in sleep as well as having numerous health benefits including reducing blood pressure, clearing toxins and relieving muscle and joint pain. Couple a warm bath with a handful Epsom salts, a few drops of essential oils, candles and a relaxation playlist for ultimate relaxation.
9. PRACTICE YOGA
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and is known for the numerous benefits it has on the mind and body. If you practice yoga regularly you will find it not only relieves stress but also prevents it as well as reducing depression and anxiety resulting in an overall better mood.
Evening yoga reduces mental and physical tension allowing you to unwind and drift off to sleep that much sooner.
10. LAUGH IT OFF
Laughter is one of the healthiest antidotes to stress. Researchers have discovered that exposure to humor causes a measurable decrease in stress hormones, including epinephrine and dopamine, and an increase in immune system activity. When we laugh, even smile, blood flow to the brain increases and endorphins (painkilling hormones that give us a sense of well-being) are released.
Switch Off For The Holidays
Emerge from your holiday fresh-faced and ready to rumble, by switching off from your online life. Even though you’re on holiday and sunning yourself somewhere beautiful, it can feel impossible to switch off from your work life completely. That’s where a ‘digital detox’ could be a good idea. While it can seem a little daunting at first, it can be done!
Living in the digital age we’re constantly connected whether that be to work or the media. We’re just one quick swipe, one email, one notification or one phone call away, never allowing us to switch off and unwind which is heavily impacting on our mental health. Since the digital age began there has been a dramatic rise in stress, anxiety and depression especially in the younger generations and the corporate world.
So from all of us at Prana have a wonderful and relaxing holiday season!
Brands help customers make choices, to differentiate products from one another. The purpose of branding is to ensure that your product or service is the preferred choice. Success in business hinges on customers’ choices and those choices are largely based on the perception customers have of a brand.
Successful branding distinguishes your brand from others like it. Successful branding has a clear and consistent positioning wherever it is encountered, which results in a predictability that builds trust and loyalty for your brand.
A brand is comprised of certain tangible attributes, which form the bedrock of your identity but also, and more significantly, a brand is formed by the perception of your brand in the marketplace. David Ogilvy described brands as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.”
A brand is shaped by the perceptions of its audience.
Outlined below are some important elements to consider when developing a brand:
A great LOGO. The foundation of your brand is your logo. A logo’s meaning is derived from the quality of what it symbolizes. A logo is a face for your brand, in that when someone sees it, all the associations they’ve made with it quickly come to mind. It’s a little like running into a friend and immediately your feelings toward them, trust in them, memories of them come to mind at the sight of them. A logo should accompany all experiences with your brand to reinforce those associations.
BRAND IDENTITY: brand identity includes all visual elements that contribute to your brand: uniforms; packaging; store design; letterheads, business cards and other stationery; website design; signage to name a few. The continuity of these elements is essential in reinforcing your brand. Develop design template and create brand standards for your marketing materials that consider guidelines for colour, logo placement, fonts, layout to name a few.
Create a VOICE for your brand, which will be applied across all channels and incorporated, in visual imagery representing your brand. Consider the kind of personality you would like your brand to have – is it friendly, irreverent, sincere, conversational? Maintain this tone across all platforms so that your brand becomes dependably consistent.
DELIVER on your brand promise, the hope for every brand is to foster brand loyal customers who ultimately become brand advocates. This journey begins with your brand living up to its promises.
Be CONSISTENT – across all platforms and encounters. With the rise of social media and the endless ways in which customers can encounter your brand, consistency is an artful and valuable pursuit because if you get it right, it is a solid investment in the future success of your brand. Consistency improves recall and it ensures that customers enjoy the same experience with your brand wherever they find you.