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Like two sides to a coin, public relations agencies and business-to-business companies (B2B) are both focused on managing projects but each has an important role and distinct vantage point in helping to achieve business goals.
Both sides of project management provide great counterbalance for one another. Agency and corporate team members at times can get so closely focused in on a project element, that they sometimes lose sight of the forest for the trees.
The B2B company shares the company’s vision, goals, marketing plan, and sets and approves project budgets. The public relations agency evaluates the company goals, develops public relations plans, including recommended tactics, messages and timelines, and provides ongoing counsel each step of the way. They both offer valuable insight and feedback.
Though each organization may have its own project management tools and leaders with project management expertise, ongoing collaboration and communication are essential in keeping projects on track. Like a well-choreographed production, the longer the teams work together; they develop a synchronized rhythm for workflow that increases production and performance.
They get to know the other team’s perspective so well, they begin to anticipate next steps and seek ways to continue to increase quality.
The P in PM is as much about People Management as it is about Project’ Management.
– Cornelius Fichtner, a noted PMP expert, public speaker, and host of The PM Podcast.
6 Creative Project Management Tools
Here is a sampling of some key communications and marketing creative project management tools:
The granddaddy of project management applications. It is considered the leading project management tool around. It boasts a simple and easy to use interface to collaborate with your team and client.
It allows you to create multiple projects and setup discussions, write to-do lists, manage files, create and share documents, and organize dates for scheduling. It is fully responsive so you can manage projects on your mobile device.
Trello provides a visual way for teams to collaborate on any project. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun and flexible way.
Asana provides an easy way for teams to track their work—and get results. With tasks, projects, conversations and dashboards, Asana enables teams to move work from start to finish.
A project management tool which helps you spend less time tracking and more time doing.It provides:
- Fast invoicing and payments.
- Connect your favorite tools.
- Expense tracking.
- Customer support.
Wrike is a highly flexible collaboration and project management solution for teams of all sizes. Wrike’s end-to-end solution takes your projects from initial request to tracking work progress and reporting results.
Creative project management software for managing your agency’s projects, customers and billing – all in one place. They tout that your team can keep their favorite tools. Scoro pushes and pulls your information to and from different applications, so you’re in charge of the whole workflow.
Before selecting a marketing communications project management tool, it is important to determine if it will meet your needs. Will your clients also be using the tool? Is it user-friendly, flexible, and can be customized. Is it accessible 24/7? Is it scalable as your agency expands?
Blocking & Tackling
The agency manages day-to-day work, communicates responsibilities, completes project status sheets to share updates, seeks input and approvals and manages work to meet deadlines.
Both discuss changes in direction, potential opportunities, and projects being extended or postponed. Both are committed to success. The public relations agency monitors and reports results tied to defined metrics.
To expedite work, public relations agencies have systematic processes and templates in place for managing key tactical elements, such as:
- Product, service, development, partnership announcements
- Media tours
- Corporate messaging, talking points
- Competitive research
- Case studies
- Media relations materials and management
- Digital and print marketing communications
- Social media
- Client communications and reporting
In addition to all of these technical project management skills, interpersonal skills are also necessary, i.e., collaboration, transparency, accountability, and a team approach.
While projects begin and end, project management continues as long as there is work to do. If you have a tool that is not working, re-evaluate it. No matter your level of experience in project management, you don’t need a black belt to put better project management structure in place. Seek out the best project management tool that works for both sides.
For those times when things get off track, solid project management practices and two-way communication will enable you to manage issues quicker, saving valuable time and resources. Lastly, assemble a multi-talented, diverse team, which helps make even the toughest projects progress easier.
Project managers are the most creative pros in the world: we have to figure out everything that could go wrong, before it does.
– Fredrick Haren