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.
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 definitionof 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 MindToolsexplains, “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
- 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.