Project Management – The Art of the Launch

I started my career as a project manager 40 years ago. In the beginning I swung a hammer, now I click with a mouse. The essentials elements of project management haven’t changed a bit, except time-frames are shorter. That and your success or failure is visible to everyone on the planet.

Yesterday my client and team basked in the glory of a successful launch. I knew it was going to be successful when we started, not because I’m smart or work hard. I knew because I’m a project manager.

If you’ve ever attended a project launch party, you’ve experienced the initial euphoria that comes from being clueless. It’s easy to pick out the PM. They are the one who is not whooping and hollering. They already know what lies ahead.

It’s near the end of a project when everyone on the team begins to sense what the PM knew all along. That’s why all the work gets done near the end. It’s when everybody gets their head in the game.

Project Management Essentials

As the congratulatory emails went back and forth, I thought about the principles I learned after 4 decades as a PM. Food for thought as you get ready for your next project.

Define the Project – Do this upfront, because somebody is going to mess with this down the road. You’ll want to return to the original expectation.  It eliminates scope-creep and informs you that it’s time to submit a change order for more time and more money.

Throw a Launch Party – Think of it as a starter pistol for the project. There are so many details to deal with at the start that many teams simply wander off the starting line and never get to full speed.

Allocate Resources – It’s a fancy term used to answer the question, “Who is going to do the work?”

Progress Meeting – Hold them even if you don’t have any progress, especially if you don’t have any progress. Since all the effort on a task comes near the end of it’s duration, build in short little deadlines to keep the project moving forward.

Schedule the Celebration – Jacksonville Singer/Songwriter Jennifer Chase got her first CD out the door, not because she wrote the songs, or formed a band, or went into the studio. Her success was guaranteed when she scheduled the CD release party. All the essential tasks simply aligned once the party got on her calendar.

On a personal note…

After a quarter-century of Making Technology Work. I’m planning a launch party for something new and different. Call me if you want to learn more…

Rise to The Challenge

Yesterdays speed networking world record event was AWA. It was an awesome, wonderful and amazing event. Even though we didn’t set a new world record.

It would be easy to identify any number of reasons why. Too, easy. It always is. Attempt any sort of challenge, fail to meet the mark and you’ve got plenty of folks who didn’t participate willing to tell you all the reasons why. As with most endeavors, it’s all about how you measure.

Setting a world record would have been nice, but event organizer Barquilla had an additional goal in mind, “To show that Jacksonville is a really business-friendly city,” said Barquilla. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.”

Thank you Brian, and your team for achieving that goal. I met a bunch of world-class friendly business people in a world-class city. I predicted in my pre-event video it would be a hoot. It was all that and more.

What I Learned

There are a bunch of friendly people here in town who are doing amazing things. New launches, new careers, great second acts. Unfailing courage to leap of a tall cliff, to take an afternoon off to try something new, reaching to achieve a really big goal.

Go out and meet a bunch of people - Although we broke a few rules along the way, the attendees had a laser focus on what’s important.

Speed networking really isn’t networking -It’s simply discovery. The real conversation starts today, without all the paperwork and other distractions.

Business card strategy -There’s almost as many approaches to business card design as there are business cards. Fun to watch the exchange, Normally we use two hands, give from one, accept with the other. Yesterday we struggled with the single hand exchange.

TMI – How much info can you cram on a card? Apparently a bunch. More than too small text, some cards felt crowded.

World-Class Best

Killer LogosMark Lebel with perdue had the best.Thought-bubble (go back and look at it closely).

Memorable nameRocky Nightingale with StormWood Technologies

Memorable line – Former banker Mike Newton with Flippin’ Good Cookies. “I make the other kind of dough.”

Best LookTukz Taaca with SafetyFirstJax.com. Dude, it was the hat.

Best Pitch/StoryMathew Hull with Pride [Computer Systems]. Almost closed a deal in less than 3 minutes. When you connect with him,  ask how he started his business.

Most Friendly NetworkerRené Zook with KellerWilliams. Great smile and personality. Perfect example of business-friendly city.

Resources

Official Announcement

My very secret, “The Art of Live Networking” resource page.

Speed Networking World Record Attempt

On Wed, April 1st, The Jacksonville, FL business community is going to set a new world record for speed networking. What’s the best kept secret for effective speed networking? It’s as close as the back of your business card.

Hope to see you at this very special event. When was the last time you got the opportunity to set a world record?

To learn more and register, visit:
http://JaxWorldRecord.com

Podcast – Are You Mobile-Friendly?

You have a smartphone right? So do your customers and prospects. According to Pew Research Center 80% of Americans can access the Internet from their phones. Great news right?

Here’s the bad new.  On April 21st, Google will start favoring mobile-friendly sites when your prospects search for your products and services from their mobile device.

If your site is NOT friendly your company is about to become invisible.  Listen as Jerry shares what you need to do now to become Mobile-Friendly.

Resources

Mastering the Mobile Friendly Challenge

Is your company mobile friendly? If you’re not sure, don’t worry, Google has already decided. Of course, if you’re not mobile friendly, maybe you should worry, because your site may be at risk of disappearing from mobile search altogether.

Google has announced a change in their mobile search algorithm that will go into effect on April 21st. If you are not mobile friendly, it will significantly effect your mobile SEO.

It’s not surprising that Google has decided to kick mobile unfriendly sites to the curb. It’s the timing that will make you crazy. Many companies placed a “nice to have” priority on becoming mobile friendly. This announcement upgrades this to a 4 alarm priority.

Take the Test

Before you jump off virtual cliff, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tool to test your site.

If you pass, great! You’re safe for now. Unfortunately, there are 50 shades of mobile-friendly, so it’s not black or white, but a very murky shade of gray.

How to Respond to the Challenge

If you fail, I’ve created a rapid response service to help you meet this challenge. To learn more, visit: Mobile-centric Makeover.

You will hear more from me in the coming days about this topic and how to respond. This will be the featured topic in the next edition of my weekly newsletter, Making Your Technology Work. If you are not a subscriber, give me a call and I will send you the link, I promise.

Direct: 858-220-0499

Podcast – Is Podcasting For You?

Podcasting? In a million years I never thought podcasting would make a comeback. Mobile is responsible for this resurrection. Listen to the podcast below to learn more.

Getting Started

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • A way to record your voice AND get it smoothly into distribution, like Voice Record Pro for iPhone.
  • A location in the cloud to store or host your episodes like Blubrry. It’s a media hosting platform that offers a WordPress plugin to connect all the digital dots.
  • A subscription and distribution platform like iTunes. Your community can receive new episodes automatically on their mobile devices.

Last tip, Successful podcasting requires consistency. Regular schedule, duration and structure help your listeners know what to expect. It helps grow an audience of loyal fans.

Letting Go on Facebook

John died almost a decade ago. His ghost haunted us for years, on Facebook. His birthday was the worst. Each year we would receive an automated announcement, followed by happy updates on his timeline from all the clueless well-wishers. Eventually Facebook changed their account termination policy to ease the pain of those tasked with laying their loved ones to rest online.

Which is why I was startled last week when I stumbled across the profile of a deceased client on LinkedIn’s People You May Know page. Not startled because he died, but because his profile had not yet been laid to rest.

Those who have lost a loved one experience many seasons of grief. At first, we want to hold on to everything that was a part of their life, even their social profile. As we move on we learn to let go. If you or someone you know is facing this modern end of life dilemma, here are some ideas that may help.

Celebrate Their Life

The rites and rituals surrounding end of life are mostly for the living. Not everyone can participate in person. Consider memorializing their Facebook account. Invite their online community of friends to post remembrances including images,home movies and what they learned from or gained by knowing this special person.

Ask What You Can Do To Help

Baking a casserole is often our first instinct. Once the daily influx of visitors subsides, a random bag of groceries demonstrates your continued concern. If like me, you become startled when you stumble across a ghost in the machine, offer to tie-up those online loose ends. Use the links below to learn the process for letting a loved on go.

Keep Their Memory Alive

For many years my main password was HelloJen. One day I changed it to something cryptic, more secure. Not to feel more protected, but because I was ready to let go. Even with all the vast knowledge available on the net the answer still isn’t clear. If you’re not sure if it’s time to close an online profile, consider this. The best way to honor the loss of a loved one is to keep their memory in your heart, not on Facebook.

Resources

 

5 Tips for Right-sizing your Digital Footprint

New Year resolutions have been abandoned. It’s too early for Spring cleaning. We are stuck in an unsettling place and time where we know we need to do something about our web presence, but are not sure what to do, or even where to start.

It’s easy to acquire cloud-based software that promises to bring us more leads, expand our reach, or become a social networking star. Once you add up all the monthly fees and compare it to your results, it’s hard to define your ROI.

It’s not too late to start a fitness program. For your technology I mean. No need for an extreme makeover. Just a sensible, measured strategy for right-sizing your digital footprint.

Does it feels like you are carrying around more technology this year? Here are some tips to help you return to that lean and mean web presence you were so proud of years ago.

Measure – Review your bank statement, your account logins and your business development metrics. Are you paying for systems you no longer use? Are the ones you use performing their intended function at the level you expected?

Shed – It’s not easy to let go. Especially when vendors bury their account closing process, or make it so difficult it’s easier to keep paying the monthly fee. If you’re no longer using the platform, kick it to the curb. If you still need to perform the function, go to the next step.

Go Shopping – Digital tools are faster, easier to use and getting cheaper everyday. Review your digital portfolio and go shopping. Research what’s new. You may be surprised to find a better offer at a better price.

Have a Plan – In the beginning, being on all the social platforms made sense. No more. Develop a plan for focusing your energy. You will end up with more time and more money in your pocket.

Isn’t it time you became the Master of Your Digital Domain?

858-220-0499

 

 

Pick Up the Phone and Call (?)

For the longest time, TV ads would invite consumers to “Pick up the phone and call now!” How quaint.

Your new reality is simple, your prospects have already picked up the phone. The first time your prospects view your valuable online  it’s on a mobile device.

The impact of this change requires more than a shift in semantics. It requires a shift in mindset on your part. The number one trend for 2015 is mobile content delivery. Your success will depend on your awareness of this shift and your ability to execute on mobile delivery. As you develop your marketing strategy for 2015, use these ideas to view the challenge differently.

If You Can’t See it, Delete it – As your competitors adopt mobile-centric design, users are becoming less tolerant of tiny text. It’s no longer enough to get your email opened. It must be readable.

Open Rate is a False Metric – Getting a prospect to open a message was once a great indicator of future success. Now the hurdle is do they decide to read it now, later or simply delete it forever? When it comes to content delivery in 2015, consistency is king. Delivery schedule, length/duration, content organization help your community become familiar with your content and helps them decide to hold onto your newsletter to read later.

Read, Listen, Watch – Not only do you have to produce killer content, you have to deliver it in your prospects favorite format. Podcasts are back because mobile devices come with earbuds. Text is hard to read, video is easy to share. Poll your prospects to be sure.

Take a Page from the Newspaper – The weekend edition is a different animal. In 2015 look for longer content and casual formats on days when prospects have more time to interact with your content.

 

It’s January, Do You Know Where Your Customers Are?

Part 1 of a 5 part series published last year on how to get started at the start of a new year. Today, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Next- Social Listening –  Part 1 – CRM

Welcome to the first Monday of 2015. That feeling in the pit of your stomach is directly linked to the sound you are not hearing this morning. I’m referring to the sound of your phone ringing with new customers. No matter how hard you stare at it, you simply can’t will it to ring. You will have to place the call yourself if you expect to start the ball rolling in 2015.

Before you jump in and make a bunch of cold calls to just anyone in your contact list there is something you should know. Business professionals rang out the old year by ditching cold calling. This year the most important tool in your business development toolbox is a cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution.

Outlook? How Lame!

I’m not talking about Outlook or some other address book. I’m talking about a system you can access from each of your devices. One where your team members can check your calendar without tracking you down. One that contains not only where you’ve been, but where you are heading with that valuable business relationship. One that doesn’t make you look stupid when you place that all important re-connect call this morning.

5 Levels of CRM

You’ve got to climb 5 levels to reach CRM Nirvana. They are:

  • Address Book – Contains nothing but contact demographic info.
  • History – Where you’ve captured your discussions and decisions.
  • Social Listening – Real time information about where they hang out and what they and their peers are talking about .
  • Connections – Who do they know? Who do you know that they know?
  • Schedule – The result of asking the question, “What’s Next?”

Where are you in the food chain?

Making Sense of CRM

Custom is the the word for getting the best fit for your CRM solutions. My clients work with any of a half dozen solutions. Before you grab a credit card and signup for any old system, define your needs:

  • How many contacts?
  • Where do I need to access their information? ( Just in the office, or also from a mobile device?)
  • Who needs to access their information? (just me, or also staff members?)

The answers will get you started toward a custom fit. But no matter what, you are going to get dressed up for 2014, and a CRM solution is a great suit of armor.

Need advice? I can help, give me a call 727-278-9382

Special Gift – CRM Checklist

I’ve created a quick and easy checklist to help you make sense of CRM. Request your personal copy right now,
Making Sense of CRM

 

Helping Organizations Become the Master of Their Digital Domain