Blog : Process

Projects with Purpose

Projects with Purpose

When do you feel most engaged, fulfilled, and inspired by your work? Do you feel like your work has purpose? These are the questions I am pondering for myself. I’m playing with a new slogan of Projects with Purpose and wanted to talk with you about what that means and the process I took to get here.

I had a friend date with a fellow business owner today and it is always interesting to see how we describe our work and how it’s perceived by others. While both of us have been working in the same areas, I feel like for myself I am talking about it in different ways and am looking to see how it is perceived by others. My focus has been marketing strategy, planning, and project management and recently I’ve decided to put my project management foot forward. (I still do my other work yet I have found that there is more of a demand for marketing project management.) With this decision being made, this is where we get to the fun part of any client discovery work, where we have an idea of who we are, what we are doing, and why and then we connect the dots with the customer. (This process can just as easily be done in the reverse and start with the customer.)

With this clarity in direction, how am I talking about my work now? How am I better engaging with my customers? Well this is where I could use your help. I have a few ideas and want to test them with you. I’m all about sharing the work that goes into the work and this is where I’m at now.

I’ve determined that there is an umbrella and 2 buckets that I feel like explain what I’m doing for project management.

Umbrella: Projects with Purpose (this is my why and what motivates me)

Bucket 1: The type of projects – video, website, exhibition, program, events

Bucket 2: The industries I’m passionate about – art, travel, fashion, food, sustainability, innovative companies (working in a field of exponential growth)

Where I’m at right now is turning this to a cohesive story that resonates with my target audience. (Which honestly needs to be refined as well as it is a mix of business owners, collaborative partners like agencies, and ideally C suite contacts for the larger scale projects I want to work on.)

What was the process I took to get here?

  • Client discovery work for myself – who are you, what are you doing, why are you doing it
  • Talking to others – having conversations with fellow marketers and business friends about my ideas
  • Storybranding – I’m a big fan of this process of following what makes a great story and translating it to what makes a great brand (in particular having a character, who has a problem, that gives them a plan, that calls them to action, that leads them to success etc.)
  • Notecards – writing out my goals (more like feeling statements of what I want) on notecards to have at home and the office for me to see on a daily basis (I’m a visual person and the act of writing it down and seeing it is very helpful for me)

What is next? 

  • Turning these ideas into a story (will be working with a writer on this:)
  • Refining target audience

What is my ask? 

  • Does projects with purpose resonate with you?
  • Where do you see a need for contract/freelance project management in your circle of business?

I welcome your thoughts on this direction and what is resonating with you! I’d also love to hear what you are pondering. Looking forward to starting a conversation.

All the best,

Dani

 

P.S. I have it on my mind to also do a post or Facebook Live on the future of work, how I can be an agent for change in my community, my grand plans for Dani Inc, The Healing Tree Circle (a healing center I’m collaborating on with others) and my other business idea Moonwater. I’m thinking big right now and have lots of ideas I want to chat about!

 

Resources for Using Scrum + Kanban for Marketing

Resources for Using Scrum + Kanban for Marketing

I’ve been going down a project management and leadership rabbit hole lately. I started with Hacking Marketing last year, then starting reading the PMP exam book and Learning Agile recently. I love the scrum and kanban models and have started testing them on some of my projects. What I’ve learned though is that it is more about the principales and values behind the methodologies and tools than the tools themselves.

While I can implement backlogs, sprints and task boards, what is more important is that the team understands the scrum values of commitment, respect, focus, openness, and courage to become effective scrum teams. Since this is something I’m learning and applying, I’ll report back next month with an update on how it’s going! 

Here are a few articles, books, and notes to get you started if you are interested in applying this to your own marketing.

Think in Layers

I feel like this quote gives you a better idea of how to think of scrum. While the articles break down the backlogs, sprints, meetings, and other widgets that make up the methodology, this gives you the big picture of how it applies to your organization as a whole.

“Picture several layers at which the organization decides what it is going to do. The tasks on an agile team’s kanban board are the bottom layer, describing very specific activities that individuals execute in the scope of a sprint. Those tasks are derived from the prioritized backlog of stories, which is the layer immediately above the sprint. Clusters of related stories could be grouped into epics, which constitute the next layer up. And we can even envision a layer above that, a collection of themes that represent the highest level of strategic initiatives that the company wants to pursue. At the very top is the company’s overarching vision, a layer that encompasses everything.

These layers are distinguished from one another by their granularity and their timescale. Tasks are the most atomic units, things such as “graphic design of infographic.” Themes are big, high-level thrusts, such as “establish presence in the Asia/Pacific region.” An epic under that theme might be “launch Asia/Pacific content marketing program.” And a story under that epic might be “produce infographic of important regional trends”—of which our task example is one slice. The different timescales on which these layers operate are approximately tasks in a sprint, stories in a quarter, epics on a half-year horizon, and themes for the year.”

Full Hacking Marketing book notes. (More so my highlights and some notes.)

Say That Again

One of the differences between the books I was reading on scrum was the distinction that kanban is not a task board and is for work items instead. Below is a quote that better describes this description yet it still feels squishy to me. I’ll come back to this one later;) It was one of the sticking points for me and thought I’d mention it.

“These are not task boards. They’re called kanban boards. The way that you know they’re not task boards is that they don’t have tasks on them. They have work items. A work item is a single, self-contained unit of work that can be tracked through the entire system. It’s typically larger than an MMF, requirement, user story, or other individual scope item. One difference between a task board and a kanban board is that while tasks flow across a task board, work items are not tasks. The tasks are what the people do to move the work items through the system. In other words, the tasks are the “cogs” of the machine that push the work item through.”

Articles + Books

The articles and Hacking Marketing book are great places to start. I would recommend renting the Learning Agile book (instead of buying), it is more technical and for software teams yet is more detailed. A book for skimming and reference.

Agile Marketing Using Scrum

Break Down and Track your Marketing Campaign with Kanban

Agile Marketing: How to Implement Scrum for Digital Marketing

Full Hacking Marketing book notes. (More so my highlights and some notes.)

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Optimizing Your Website

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Optimizing Your Website

Update: As promised, here is the full presentation and 15 questions. 

Actually, the 5 questions are a teaser. I’m presenting at Venture Cafe on the 15 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Optimizing Your Website and I thought it would be content you would be interested as well. I’ll give you the first 5 and then after my presentation on Thursday, I’ll post the full 15. I know you are so excited to optimize your website and want the full 15 now! It will give you time answer the first 5 and read a few articles before jumping into the process;)

  1. What are your top goals for the website?
    1. You need to know if the goal is to increase traffic, conversion rate, or brand awareness. Each has different metrics to measure and there needs to be one primary goal to give you focus.
  2. If visitors could only do 3 things on your website, what would they be?
    1. Once again a question to help you refine the purpose of the website or landing page.
  3. Who are your ideal customers?
  4. What differentiators do your customers say you have over competitors?
    1. The key word here is ‘customers’, now what you think your differentiators are but what your customers actually say. Have you asked them? How did you ask them? I recommend the Running Lean problem interview process or using a tool like UserTest.com.
  5. Has your current content been written with your goals in mind?
    1. If not, how would you rewrite the content to better speak to your customers and goals?

To help with the process, here are a few articles on optimizing landing pages in particular. While you may be redesigning or updating your website, it’s helpful to test one page at a time. The principles here still apply to a whole website.

A 9-step guide to increase your landing page conversion rate

How to Make a Landing Page That C.O.N.V.E.R.T.S.

 

Organizing Your Content for a Website Redesign

Organizing Your Content for a Website Redesign

A website redesign is a big project. There are many moving pieces and each one is so important. It’s the intersection of all those pieces that make it a success. The user experience, design, development, content and story are all a part of that.

To give you an example, I worked on a website redesign project for a state wide credit union and my role was managing the content for the new site. It was fulfilling work to collaborate with the agency that hired me and the internal client team. I was essentially filling a marketing lead role on the client side to help them complete the content. My primary team was the chief marketing officer, senior communications specialist, and agency project manager. So what was involved in the content process?

My goal is to give you a few tips for your website redesign and managing the content portion.

  1. Having conversations about the vision, mission, core values, and voice of the organization was key. This laid the foundation for the rest of the project. We had to know what the voice, story, and key messages were in order to write or rewrite pages.
  2. Doing a content inventory. Knowing what we had to work with was crucial to building our step by step plan for the launch.
  3. Revisiting the brand experience brief as we moved forward. This document covered the crux, context, insight, experience, approach, credibility, momentum, commitments, and how we’ll know we’ve succeeded for the individual campaigns that were being developed during this project. The brief asked questions like What is the central problem we’re solving? What in our audience’s world can we challenge or capitalize on? etc.
  4. As the content lead, I lived by the content master spreadsheet. It was a Google Sheet that was shared with the entire team and tracked page URL, page details, action needed, page job, subject matter expert, Google Doc link for final page, doc status and notes. This was the hub we worked from along with Basecamp for day to day project management.
  5. Know your process for content creation and editing. I worked closely with the writers, marketing team, and agency to assure the pages met our criteria (the page job and filling in the outline we created for each).

Best of luck with your own project! If you need help, feel free to send a note. I’d be happy to help and would love to hear from you either way:)