Make Your Projects Shine, Not Fizzle, in 2014

Another year has flown by and what do you have to show for it? If you’re like most communications professionals you’re cranking through one project/initiative/campaign after another… some of which, let’s be honest, maybe didn’t turn out as well as you’d hoped. It’s hard to pinpoint where things go wrong, but usually it has more to do with how a project is run than with the work itself.

So, let’s cheers and celebrate five ways to make your projects shine in 2014!

1. Identify the decision maker

Who’s providing input? Who gets the final say? Knowing your decision maker will give everyone confidence in the process by establishing at the outset the person everyone is relying on to call the shots. It avoids confusion, and prevents endless rounds of revisions and frustration.

2. Establish your lighthouse

Every piece of work worth doing has a mighty goal. Figure out what yours is. Then make sure everyone on the team knows what it is. You can figure out together how you’ll get there. Sometimes it’s a straight path and sometimes it’s a meandering one. But with your lighthouse in the distance, you’ll always know where you’re headed, together.

3. Match your resources to the work

Understand the resources you have available (time, money and people) and set clear, realistic expectations about what can be accomplished with them. Champagne taste on a beer budget just makes everyone disappointed in the end. But, if everyone’s expecting beer, they will drink and be merry. 

4. Give the work the time it deserves

I know, I know, the deadline was yesterday. But try not to let the timeline drive everything. Good, creative work that has real impact takes time. And even the most creative mind doesn’t always strike gold on the first try.

5. Regularly communicate and recalibrate

You have a plan, so now it’s just a matter of putting it into action, right? Rookie mistake. Unexpected obstacles and new information can often change your plan. Stay up to date by having regular, rapid-fire check-ins with your team to learn and adapt along the way. This prevents game-changing shifts that may lead to wasted time and money.

In the end, planning a good communications project is like planning a good New Year’s celebration—you want to know where you're going, who your host is and what you can spend so you can make the march to midnight, together. What happens along the way is all part of the adventure. But the most important thing is that the New Year—and your projects—land with a BANG—not a fizzle.