Since elementary school, we have been taught to work on projects from start to finish, beginning to end. What if we told you the secret behind our campaign success was to work the complete opposite way we were taught – backwards? Reverse Planning is a tried and true project management tool that can help relieve stress and frustration while achieving your goals in a timely manner.
Backwards Is Better
Reverse Planning is just as it sounds: managing a project from the due date backwards. This way of planning is like giving a presentation. In a good presentation, the presenter informs everyone of the main goal at the beginning, making it easier to think critically about the material presented rather than trying to figure out what the goal will be at the end.1 When it comes to Reverse Planning, you must determine the goal first, and the rest will follow.
At Infocore, we have found Reverse Planning to be a key ingredient to a successful email marketing campaign. Here is a sample outline that we routinely use:
Start with a goal completion date. For those of us in the email marketing industry, our goal completion date is typically the email deployment date.
Notate everything that needs to be completed in order to meet the goal. High level items that go into any email project include (but not limited to):
Research data lists/Request counts from partners
Send counts to the client
Receive client order/Order data from partners
Send data to client for suppressions/flags/other items to be included
Send updated data to partner to prepare for email deployment
Receive creative and process
Send creative to partner along with deployment dates and any special instructions
Edit creatives and HTML tracking
Finalize creatives and lock in deployment
Determine tracking and match back dates
Receive analytics from partner
Send analytics report to client
Create timelines for each task. Timelines will vary depending on the client’s needs. Infocore will find specific partners that can work with any given timeline.
Determine who will be overseeing each task. Email deployments require teamwork, with each member responsible for their own piece of the pie.
Once steps 1-4 are finished, move forward with the project until the campaign is complete.Notate everything that needs to be completed in order to meet the goal. High level items that go into any email project include (but not limited to):
Reverse Planning takes much of the challenge out of project management, as you’ve done most of the critical thinking while going through the process. If you haven’t tried it out, give it a whirl! We think you’ll find it’s a recipe for success.