Project Planning for the New Year

January 27, 2016
Project Planning

The holiday push has finally subsided and New Year’s Eve has come and gone. As we turn our sights towards the new year, it’s important to take some time to establish a framework for what projects you want to accomplish in 2016. While a lot of this process is dependent upon what type of company you are and how old your company is, there are a few steadfast rules to keep in mind.

Top Down Vs. Bottom Up Budget Planning

One of the first steps in making a budget and planning projects for a new year is determining if you want to follow a top down or bottom up approach. For many larger companies, the top down approach of developing an overall budget and breaking it down into specific components is preferable because it provides a clear roadmap of your goals and how you’re going to achieve them.

But many smaller companies don’t have that luxury. Instead, they lean on their ability to be nimble and employ the bottom up approach. Consequently, they must constantly answer questions like “how are we going to use this budget today/this week?”

Vanessa Krumb, ROI·DNA’s CMO and Head of Product for our internal project management tool MonkeyWorks, has had to employ both methodologies over the years depending on the situation.

“Ultimately, it all breaks down to one concept – what can we do to make our customers happy? We often use a combination of both top down and bottom up to prioritize projects within our budget.”

Achieving and Exceeding Client Milestones

ROI·DNA’s Associate Director of Digital Marketing Adam Cheung has a slightly different view on budgeting and project planning because most of his team’s work is dictated by clients.

“Often how it works is that a client presents us with certain project goals, like ‘we want to increase traffic by x percent by a certain date’ or ‘we want to increase email subscribers by x percent by a certain date’. In order to hit these milestones, we often allocate a small percentage of our budget on a few different ideas that we think might work, and then see how those are performing after a short yet relevant amount of time.”

Cheung continues to say that part of what guides the process is drawing upon his years in the industry and analyzing emerging trends to get a sense of what will be successful and what won’t. After trying a few different strategies, he then adjusts his efforts to what is performing best so that he can ensure he hits his client goals and makes the best use of his budget.

Let the Numbers Speak for Themselves

But sometimes, clients set lofty goals for things they want accomplished in a given year without instituting the proper steps to achieve those goals. In order to articulate what can and can’t be accomplished in a given time, Mike Hay, ROI·DNA’s Senior Director of Marketing Intelligence, lets the numbers do the talking.

“After establishing a relationship with a client, analytics can be a strong way of showing what can and can’t be accomplished in a given time period to ensure that you hit their project goals. With analytics engagements, it’s more of a balance to determine those milestones. It’s our job to understand the traffic clients are getting, and we respond to them with projections based off the numbers.”

As you set out on another year, be sure to take some time to establish a project roadmap with particular attention paid to the relationship of time and resources. Even though you may have a lot to accomplish this year, by outlining your project objectives you can develop a clear methodology of what you can and can’t accomplish in 2016.

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