In the book The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber, Gerber writes about the importance of building your business like a franchise, structuring everything.
Does your marketing team have structured, documented business processes and workflows? If not, you’re not alone – but now’s the time to start. It doesn’t matter if you work in a large team for a multi-million-dollar company or you’re the one-man-team of a local agency, understanding and managing a project workflow can make or break an organization.
A project workflow is like a roadmap. It involves setting goals, establishing an effective communication strategy, and using automated processes where possible to get your team from point A to point B. Effective workflows make marketing teams work better; by breaking large projects into actionable and repeatable steps and appointing a person for each task, it’s easier to complete the work on time and with few problems.
Defining the Workflow Process
Marketing teams are held accountable for an increasing number of projects and tasks stemming from many aspects of a business.
A well-optimized workflow should answer the questions:
- What tasks are required (and in what order) to reach our goal?
- Who should this task be assigned to?
- What happens if we miss a deadline or action?
- What happens if a team member is unavailable to complete their assigned task?
- Who should be notified when a task is late?
- Who should be notified when a task is complete?
- What’s the standard method of communication between team members?
- What’s the standard communication strategy with the client?
It’s vital to have written documentation for every type of project, starting with the areas of highest impact. This ensures every team member knows their role and can remain accountable; it also allows a smooth onboarding process as your team grows. Remember to document the procedure if something goes wrong during a project.
Are you and your team more visual? Try mapping out your business processes using a diagram tool like Lucid Chart, or even something as simple as a PowerPoint presentation. As long as you have a document to refer to as the project progresses, choose whatever works for your organization.
Keep the Workflows Flowing
After understanding why you need project workflows and how to define your workflow process, it’s time to implement tactics and strategies that allow you to keep the workflow flowing and successful.
Here are four strategies I recommend implementing in your team.
- Establish a clear communication strategy. Deciding if your team needs a reoccurring meeting for each project (and, if so, when) and how you’ll communicate between stages is critical for a successful process.
- Set objectives and goals. Each project needs their own to track progress against.
- Automate wherever possible to eliminate time-consuming tasks and possible errors. (Even a one-man team can benefit from automation.)
- Use the cloud. Your team needs access to resources no matter where they are. Find cloud-based apps and tools that give you safe, easy access to what you need when you need it.
If you can get your marketing team thinking and behaving like traditional project managers, you’ll save time and produce consistently positive results for your clients. It might take practice and patience to get it right, but properly working project workflows is critical to a relevant and agile team. If you have questions or want to learn more about best practices when it comes to getting your workflows flowing, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.