What Is Your Plan? Time Always Runs Out

evil plans


FACT: We run out of time every single day.

Often the consultant has the unenviable task of getting everyone to agree to a plan of attack. If the PR firm does not have a launch plan and editorial calendar for its upcoming efforts, it is my job to ask for one. If the site developer, who was hired long before I was brought to the project, is not going to allow access to their home-grown CMS, it is my job to ask, “Why?”

We are running out of time. Every project I’ve ever been a part of is pressed for time. Time is the project manager’s bane. It is the leverage for working nights and weekends to get a project finished. Again, there is never enough time, so… “What’s your plan to deal with it?”

If I am brought in on a project, and I have not been working with a client or an existing team, it is easy for me to ask dumb questions. [And, perhaps this is exactly the reason I have been brought in.]

Let me give you a recent example.

I’ve been awarded a new social media marketing project. As part of the project, I notice there is no project manager. [Unfortunately, there might not be a project plan at all.] I offer to be the UBER-Project Manager, to oversee the timely execution of the project.

My project manager instinct kicks in. We’ve got 5 weeks to the big PR launch. We’ve got several moving parts.

  1. Site Designer/Dev Company
  2. PR with industry experience
  3. SME (subject matter expert) writer on our industry
  4. Me – social media programs and additional creative content;
  5. Client/Owner, a busy professional with a day job.

There is no way we have enough time.

I can physically feel the stress when I ask the client, “So who owns the plan?” There is no plan.

First, we need a plan. Then we can deal with our time problems. I whip out my PM hat and build a calendar for the 5 weeks to launch and the 8 weeks of PR blitz that follows. I slot in the SME and the client and I share a phone call and get him on board with the schedule and plan. I can hear the client relax just a bit. Before we hang up the phone I tell him, “That was great. And, I’m going to have a script for you to look at tomorrow before you go on vacation.” Yeah, that’s one more problem, I’ve got two days before the client is off-grid for 5 days. WOOT. What’s a good PM worth anyway? Let’s do this.

I put some questions and assumptions into the schedule about the PR timing and the Design/Dev work. I know we are going to hear some objections, but it’s my job to get the project done, not to be nice. We don’t have time for “nice.”

Sure enough, the first speed bump comes in the initial response from the Design/Developer.  They have built the system on a home-grown asp.net CMS and state, “So you won’t be able to have access to post any content yourself.”

Um, I’m glad the client is on vacation by the time I get this response. I’m scheduled to start making daily content contributions starting Monday. This could be a problem.

This is what I live for. Digging in, getting a plan, and adjusting everything as we move through the process of launching a site, program, or campaign. Just remember, there is never enough time. So… GET A PLAN for that as well.

John McElhenney — let’s connect online
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See also:

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Especially this one, about living a creative life of intention and joy. 



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