FusionPoint: 11 signs your marketing analytic project may be in trouble


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This presentation is intended for people managing sales and marketing analytic and reporting projects. It discusses situations that may disrupt your project and lists a few risk mitigation strategies. Whether you are initiating a BI, Pricing, Promotion, Assortment, Dashboard, Sorecard or Demand Planning project, identifying and managing these situations can increase your chance of success.

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FusionPoint: 11 signs your marketing analytic project may be in trouble

  1. 1. 11 Signs Your Marketing Analytic Project May be in Trouble NOTICE Proprietary and Confidential This material is proprietary to FusionPoint, LLC. It contains confidential information, which is solely the property of FusionPoint, LLC. This material shall not be used, reproduced, copied, disclosed, or transmitted, in whole or in part, without the express consent of FusionPoint. Copyright © 2012 to FusionPoint, LLC All rights reserved. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 1 www.thefusionpoint.com
  2. 2. Agenda • Background & Context • 11 Signs Your Project is in Trouble • Conclusions Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 2 www.thefusionpoint.com
  3. 3. About Us • FusionPoint is a company that helps clients build customized marketing analytic and reporting solutions. Over the past six years we have been involved with hundreds of sales and marketing data integration, analytic and reporting projects. • This presentation is designed for Marketing and Project Managers that are initiating or in the middle of a project. The content helps identify situations that will make delivering your project on time and on budget more challenging. For each situation we detail a few risk mitigation strategies that you can employ should you experience that issue. • We hope that this information helps you design, build and maintain marketing analytic capabilities that drive a sustainable competitive advantage for your organization. For more information about FusionPoint or this topic, please visit us at www.thefusionpoint.com Or call us at (203) 702-2100 Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 3 www.thefusionpoint.com
  4. 4. Background • No one likes to talk about it, but we have all seen or participated in projects that were less than successful. • Are there “signs” that you can use to anticipate barriers and glitches? Can you proactively address these situations before they impact your project? • In this presnetation we have started compiling a list of characteristics that we have seen delay, disrupt or introduce budget challenges into marketing analytic projects. With each “sign” we have described one or more risk mitigation strategies that you can employ if you are facing this scenario. • Any list like this is a perpetual work in progress. Please feel free to add to this list in the comments section below. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 4 www.thefusionpoint.com
  5. 5. Sign #1: You Have No Business Case • No Business Case : Every project should have a clear, documented business case before it is initiated. Without this, funding will be at risk, project changes cannot be objectively evaluated and staff turnover can derail efforts. Business cases typically take the form of operating efficiencies (doing more with less) or bottom line (revenue, profit) focused. If you are fortunate your project will have both. • Mitigation strategy: Interview key stakeholders and end users to gather a list of the “benefits” that they expect to realize from your project. Work with them to capture objectives that are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time scaled). “Improve print advertising efficiency 12% by the 4th quarter” is better than “make more effective decisions”. What is a business case? Wikipedia Definition: A business case captures the reasoning for initiating a project or task. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 5 www.thefusionpoint.com
  6. 6. Sign #2: No involvement from stakeholders • • • No/limited involvement from senior level sponsorship/stakeholders The degree of involvement needed from key stakeholder(s) will vary with the size and scope of your project. Regardless of project size, if their participation is limited to approving the project, and then they disappear, your project may be at risk. At a minimum, you need to have their participation at the outset of the project and then at each milestone meeting. Between those meetings their involvement is needed to help address barriers that cannot be resolved from within the project team (funding, personnel turnover, change management, etc.). Mitigation Strategy: If participation is lacking, you need to go back to the stakeholders and “resell” the engagement. This means reviewing the benefits that they were seeking as well as the roles and responsibilities they committed to. What is a stakeholder? Wikipedia Definition: Stakeholder (corporate), an accountant, group, organization, member or system who affects or can be affected by an organization's actions. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 6 www.thefusionpoint.com
  7. 7. Sign #3: Team Turnover • Team Turnover Have you ever worked on a project where the project lead is moved off the project or leaves the company? Not a leading indicator of success! Worse, have you ever taken responsibility for a project where the champion recently left without supplying a scrap of documentation (business case, project plan, roles and responsibilities)? Consistent staffing is a critical success factor for any project. • Mitigation Strategy: Documentation is critical to managing project team turnover. This includes business case, requirements, backlogs, project plans, roles & responsibilities (RACI), status meeting notes, etc. Transitioning any project role is a fraction of the effort if solid project documentation is in place. If you are managing a team that has multiple active projects, ensure that these documents are stored centrally so that the entire team can access them. A corporate intranet is ideal. If that does not exist, look at services like Dropbox, Box, Skydrive, Google Drive, etc. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 7 www.thefusionpoint.com
  8. 8. Sign #4: Attendance at Meetings is Dropping • Attendance at cross functional status meeting is sparse. Your weekly Tuesday meetings are down from 8 attendees to 2. • Mitigation Strategy: See tip #2 above. If attendance is falling and you do not have direct managerial authority over those missing the meetings, you need to leverage your project stakeholders. A quick note letting them understand the importance of attendance and the possible negative outcomes to expect if absences continue should be your next step. You can also review the roles and responsibilities that each team member agreed to at the outset of the project. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 8 www.thefusionpoint.com
  9. 9. Sign #5: Alignment Issues • The group realizing the benefit is not the same as the group funding or managing: A properly formed business case will detail the benefits that you expect to realize as well as the groups realizing those benefits. If the people, or teams, realizing the benefits are not included in the project team (as stakeholders, user acceptance testing or direct participants) then you have an alignment issue. When the team that is funding the project are resource or budget challenged, they will look to reduce commitment to the project(s) that do not benefit them directly. • Mitigation Strategy: To reduce this risk, the project lead needs to ensure participation (budgetary and resource) from the teams realizing the benefits of the project. This is a risk that should be eliminated at the outset of a project…not something that should be addressed midstream. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 9 www.thefusionpoint.com
  10. 10. Sign #6: Corporate Chaos • Corporate Chaos : In the last six months your company has been acquired, reorg’d twice and experienced a layoff. Reduced resources, changing responsibilities, increased workload, unclear directives…all are characteristic of the environment that come with corporate chaos. • Mitigation Strategy: Managing a project though massive change is never easy. You will likely have to resell or recommunicate the benefits of the project. You may find yourself fighting for resources (bodies and budget). Go back to item #3. If you have solid project documentation you will be ready to resell, communicated benefits, communicate roles and responsibilities and help adjust timelines and expectations associated with resource shifts. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 10 www.thefusionpoint.com
  11. 11. Sign #7: Your Project is Not on IT’s Priority List • You didn't make IT's top 5: A: Implementing a new CRM system B: Updating Finance systems C: Fixing logistics glitches …. ZZ: Your Project • Make sure you understand where you rank on IT’s list of annual priorities. Even if you have a receptive IT team that will “try” to help you, go into your project with your eyes open. Do not commit to timelines without firm resource commits from all parties. If IT support is not available, outsource it until you make it onto their hit list. Mitigation Strategy: If you do not make the priority cut, it does not mean your project can not move forward. If the business benefits warrant, then continuing with other resources (internal or external) makes the most sense. You may want to gather work with IT to understand what requirements or design documentation can be gathered during the first phases of the project to help them when they are ready to transition your project to their team. Moving forward with the project can not only contribute short-term business value, but it can help your team gather requirements, prove the business case, identify barriers that can be addressed when IT is ready to officially take on your project. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 11 www.thefusionpoint.com
  12. 12. Sign #8: Timeline is Needed Before Budget Set • Your boss needs a delivery timeline but has not approved the project’s budget 15% of you annual review is based on successful delivery of your project. The CEO is pushing for delivery dates to update the management team. Yet, funds have not be approved. • Mitigation Strategy: Your timeline should be quoted in terms of days from kickoff or budget approval. Your timeline should be delivered in the context of a specific budget and resourcing commitments. Do not quote a specific date(s) until you have finalized both budget and resourcing plans. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 12 www.thefusionpoint.com
  13. 13. Sign #9: Unrealistic Time, Resource, Budget • Unrealistic time, resource, budget assumptions. You are being tasked with developing a new price/promotion evaluation and simulation tool. You recognize that the analytics will need to be sourced from an external vendor and that your goal is to have IT take on the tool development. Your manager is pushing for a 3 month timeline. The last project you initiated was stuck in procurement for 1 month and then legal for two weeks before starting. You have not yet drafted an RFP for the analytic portion of the engagement. Let’s face it, you don’t need a lot of other pieces of information to realize that this project is not being delivered in 3 months. The real question is…”Do you want to have the awkward conversation with your manager now or after the project is on your annual objectives?” • Mitigation Strategy: If management is hell-bent on getting deliverables in 3 months, then you need to change the scope of deliverables. In an Agile project development methodology you can focus on subsets of the overall requirements and deliver them in shorter periods. While the entire project will not be delivered in 3 months, maybe some of the critical elements can be proven out in that time frame. All projects need to have a risk mitigation plan. In the example above, either define the start date of the project to commence after procurement and legal have approved the specs or build in an assumption that the procurement process needs to take a fraction of the time you historically have witnessed and have them sign off on that responsibility. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 13 www.thefusionpoint.com
  14. 14. Sign #10: No End User Feedback • No end user participation in requirements: Have you ever worked on a project where the requirements and specifications came from senior management without any involvement from the line managers and business analysts? Unfortunately, it happens. These projects are typically heavy on business case and light on detailed requirements and specifications. If left unresolved, these projects typically suffer from low adoption rates when they are put into production. • Mitigation Strategy: When building the business case and gathering business/technical requirements, you need to make sure you talk to all stakeholders, managers and end users. Each group will have a different, and valuable, perspective. Only by balancing the feedback from each group can you develop a solution that delivers against the business case while providing a streamlined user experience. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 14 www.thefusionpoint.com
  15. 15. Sign #11: Huge Change Mgmt Dependency • The success of your project is dependent on a heavy change management effort You are going to roll out a new BI platform. The tool is the easiest for end users to work with and is the hottest platform in the industry. You have not integrated and harmonized all of the data, but you will let your end users do that work supported by the tool and a focused training (change management) effort. Your likely outcome… The 10% of your user community that you consider “advanced” users will embrace the change and while they will struggle with the data harmonization pieces, will be eager to use a new tool. The 90% of the users that you would not consider “advanced”, will try once and bail. Adoption rates with this group will be very low. • Mitigation Strategy: Project Phasing and flexible delivery methodologies will help reduce the risk. For the advanced 10% mentioned above, the roll-out strategy is fine. Use them to learn from to streamline training and identify barriers for the less experienced users. Instead of requiring the less advanced users to go in and “pull” data from the system, show them the functionality via a “push” strategy. Have reports and insights they need delivered to their inbox in the most consumable format (Excel or PowerPoint typically). Have them use and understand the data with limited effort. This should build an organizational curiosity to have access to deeper insights. Once this curiosity is created, it is time to train them on advanced topics leveraging the learning from the 10%. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 15 www.thefusionpoint.com
  16. 16. Conclusions • • • Sales and Marketing analytic tools have the ability to drive huge gains in terms of operating efficiencies, revenues and profits. They can only do this the project is successfully delivered. There are a number of situations that can arise that will make delivering your project more challenging. The more that you can plan for and manage these situations as they arise, the better your chance of success. Consider the list above a starting point. Please feel free to add your own “signs” in the comments section below this presentation. Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 16 www.thefusionpoint.com
  17. 17. Thank You for Your Time! For more information about FusionPoint or this topic, please visit us at www.thefusionpoint.com Or call us at (203) 702-2100 Copyright © 2013 FusionPoint, LLC – Page 17 www.thefusionpoint.com