Lifecycle Project Management Approach
Successful projects and campaigns result from quality stakeholder engagement, research, insight, careful planning, implementation, and constant adjustments based on feedback. We approach all projects from a project lifecycle perspective, with most projects following a series of interdependent stages. Typically, these stages include understanding, planning, designing, implementing, and concluding.
There is a time and place for each product and service. Within each stage, projects may require any combination of management, research, creativity, training, and technical services. When we approach each project, we assess which project lifecycle stages will be required, and then we combine the best combination of services, products, and people for that stage.
Recognizing there are no “one size fits all” solutions, we tailor each project to suit our clients’ individual needs and unique operating environments. Since all our products and services are aligned with the lifecycle stages, we offer the right support, at the right time, focused on the right goals.
Project lifecycle stages
Solid projects and campaigns begin with quality research and insight. This can include audience, product, competitor, and stakeholder research. The insights gleaned at this stage are used for the strategic planning, design, and implementation stages. Moreover, any baseline data may be used for pre/post comparisons within the final evaluation.
The best strategic plans take place after conducting preliminary research, and before designing projects. Innovative strategic plans are best informed by an organization’s products/services, operating environment, capacities, competition, and stakeholders. The strategic vision set during the planning stage will guide successive work during the design and implementation stages.
The design stage is when strategic plans, research, and stakeholder preferences are artfully combined into a blueprint that describes how a program, campaign, intervention, or study will operate. This is when concepts, promotional materials, and visual designs are conceived, pilot tested, evaluated, revised, and finally refined. This is also where project teams, workflows, and key people are engaged. At the end of this stage, organizations will possess blueprints describing how the project will look and function.
The blueprints designed at the prior stage are now implemented at this stage. When this stage starts, the project enters the building phase, where product specifications are converted into tangible products. This stage draws on a range of talent, such as managers and marketers, as well as creative, technical, and substantive experts. Roll-out may occur through a gradual or a rapid implementation. Soon after, daily management and operations set in. During this stage, monitoring and periodic evaluations help staff understand how their various activities are working out, and use this feedback to better optimize their efforts.
When a project or campaign ends, there are numerous opportunities to extend its impact and to learn from the experience. Final evaluations are a key part of this stage. Any baseline research, monitoring, or interim studies can make a significant contribution to the final evaluation.
Products and services
Project management & strategic consulting
Our lifecycle project management approach is a hybrid of several leading project management methodologies, drawing on PRINCE2 and social marketing approaches. Depending on the scope of a project, we scale our project management services to the needs of the project and organizational context. In addition, we have developed numerous project templates which we use to help our clients move easily from early project thinking to realization of the project’s goals. After conducting research on your target audiences and operating environment, we will help you develop project plans and strategic decisions.
Research, monitoring & evaluation
Our consulting services revolve around research that supports evidence-based decision making. Depending on a project’s stage, research serves different purposes. During the understanding stage, it’s about formative research, where we seek to understand target audiences and a project’s operating environment. During planning, research is used to assess promotional materials, messaging, and graphics. During the implementation stage, it’s about monitoring progress and providing rapid feedback to aid decision making. Then, when a project has concluded, research is about evaluating the impact of a project and learning from the experience.
Good creative design solutions can make a world of difference to the success of a project or campaign. We are unique in our ability to blend popular behaviour change theory with excellent graphic design skills. To help you achieve your creative vision, we may first conduct a creative audit before we guide you through our proprietary creative needs assessment process. Then, we will produce a creative brief and provide concept mock-ups to help you realize the best design for your purpose. Finally, once these are complete, we will deliver your final materials in a variety of standard formats.
Support and training
During the project lifecycle, there are often aspects in which we help our clients develop new skills and build confidence in using new systems. Depending on the project and context, there may, when required, be a need for formal, in-class training, one-on-one coaching, or ad hoc advisory consulting.
Online projects often require technical expertise to implement the strategic vision devised at earlier stages. Depending on the complexity of a project, this can include simply implementing basic websites, blogs, or other systems. It may also require substantial research and assessment of technology solutions.
Based on the intervention planning processes in: Cugelman, B. (2010). Online Social Marketing: Website Factors in Behavioural Change. PhD thesis, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton.