9th July 2008

Another way to slice up your phases for driving your Social Media project…

I’m a big fan of the old “crawl, walk, run” approach on most projects that have medium to high complexity and impact (note:  most of the work I do is with $500M+ companies).  Ideally, these phases are defined against business goals and user experience milestones while building what I’d call the operational muscle to drive to the next point in the project.  For example, an operational muscle might consist of a metrics, business scorecard and review process to evaluate status.  Or it might refer to staffing and training the team.  Projects that try to “run” out the gate often end up “running” the wrong direction or take so long to reach fruition that the teams involved lose steam, commitment or even a clear understanding of what they were trying to do in the first place.  Other projects have never looked past “crawl” and get out the door and leave the team thinking “huh, now what?” Or, “wow, this isn’t going the way we expected, what do we do now?”  Or, perhaps the worst crime of them all, the sad “ahhhh… check, that was on my MBOs - mission accomplished.  Next task.”

Quite often the projects I work on cut across multiple organizations and/or businesses within large organizations.  Inherently this brings a new set of challenges to project planning and defining realistic and meaningful schedules.  In a recent session, I described another way to approach crawl, walk, run - especially the crawl and walk phases.  For context, the company in this session was $1B+ in scale and the room include representation from marketing, partner, web/UX and support organizations.  I recommended getting really clear and explicit on the following against the overall business objectives.

  • What can this virtual team do with no additional funding or approval from other stakeholders/execs?
  • What can this virtual team do with no additional funding, but requires stakeholder/exec buy in?
  • What can this virtual team ONLY do with additional funding/resources (stakeholder/exec buy in implied in incremental ask)?

While this CANNOT replace a sequenced approach focused on business goals and user experience milestones, getting clear on each of the above buckets can get projects moving more quickly and help gain valuable experience and momentum that support the longer term project.

Just a thought.


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