Monthly Archives: October 2017

Keep Calm and Carry On!

Keep-calm-and-carry-on-scan.jpgKeeping your clients calm is a key skill that every project manager needs to learn.  This simple tool will help you do just that.

Most people, and especially Type A people,  need to know that things are in control at all times.  The old adage “no news is good news” couldn’t be further from the truth as far as project stakeholders are concerned.

If the apparent lack of action causes your clients to start writing emails you have just added a whole host of problems.  Instead of getting on with your work you will, instead, be spending time “on the back foot” providing multiple status updates and generally playing defense. That is not where you want to be.

A simple tool to avoid this is putting time on the stakeholder’s calendar.   Marking out a clear time when things will be discussed lets them know that you are on top of things, provides a clear timeline, and creates space for you to actually complete the work without interruption.

Let’s take a simple example.

deadline.jpgYour team needs to create a high-level design for review. They have told you it will take a week to complete.
Book a review meeting 6 or 7 working days from today, including the client and relevant team members.  Boom!  

In one quick step you have achieved the following:

  • Let the client know you have things under control
  • Avoided emails and requests for information that would burn time and energy
  • Provided the design team the time they need to get the work done unmolested
  • Created urgency with the team to complete things on the schedule they provided to you, practically guaranteeing that they will have that on time
  • Let people know that if they give you a date, you will hold them to it

It’s simple. It’s effective. And it takes almost no time at all.  What could be better than that?

 

 

 

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Above the Fold

Honolulu_Star-Bulletin_December_7th_1941.jpg

“Above the fold” is an old concept that can still be used give your emails more punch!

For newspapers, the most important space in the entire paper is the upper half of the front page. Papers are often displayed folded so that only the top half of the front page is visible. Thus, an item that is “above the fold” is one that the publisher believes will entice people to buy the paper.

But why is this important in a world controlled by electronic media?  

Because the concept of being “above the fold” still holds true today, and may even be more important in a world saturated with excessive email traffic.  

When sending an email you need your “call to action” to be at the top.   This goes double if your audience will be reading on a mobile device.

Need someone to approve your budget?  Include that message in the first few lines of your email, and then follow with all of the pertinent information on why the money is necessary.  If you lead with supporting information, it’s likely they will never get to the bit where you need them to take action.

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The same applies to your web pages.  Want action?  Then make sure the call to action appears before the user has to scroll down.

Like it or not today’s world is all about convenience.  So if you want action, don’t make people have to work for it.

 

 

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