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What is a Project Charter? The Complete Guide

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What is a Project Charter? The Complete Guide

Project charters provide a guiding light for any new initiative. So, whether you work as a project manager or operations professional, you’ll need to become a pro at writing these documents.

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Besides providing you with the authorization to begin projects, project charters help you sell your project’s viability to stakeholders. This document will also help get your entire team on board with your plans and deadlines.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about project charters. We’ll cover:

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The Benefits of Creating Project Charters

“The project charter is such an important document that a project cannot be started without one,” says Rita Mulcahy, a renowned project manager, trainer, and author. This document can keep your team on track to achieve your project objectives on deadline.

Here are other benefits of creating a well-written project charter:

  • You’ll decide on a project budget.
  • You can define the project outcome.
  • You’ll avoid scope creep and meet your deadlines.
  • You can get stakeholders’ buy-in for your project.
  • You can set the expected start and end dates of the project.
  • You can clearly explain how your project goals align with organizational objectives.

Next, we’ll explore best practices for writing a project charter.

How to Write a Project Charter

When writing your project management charter, it’s important to get it right from the onset. “You shouldn’t change a project charter after its approval,” says Mary Beth Imbarrato, author of The Project Roadmap. Last-minute changes can make stakeholders question the project’s feasibility.

This step-by-step guide will help you write a great project charter from the get-go.

1. Gather insights from your project team.

Talking to your team members is essential when creating project charters. Your colleagues can help you set realistic project timelines. They can also help you uncover the goals, scope, and risk mitigation plans for the project.

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“You should set aside time for your team members to discuss the project, how they want to approach it, and what’s their current bandwidth,” says Will Yang, Head of Growth at Instrumentl. “Doing this ensures your project team is on the same page.”

2. Store the charter in a central location.

To foster collaboration, store your project charter in a central hub so team members can comment on and edit it.

This gives everyone a sense of ownership of the project. Programs like Google Drive and Dropbox offer co-editing capabilities.

3. Keep the project charter brief.

You may be tempted to capture every detail in your project charter. But remember: You should go in-depth in your project planning document, not in the project charter.

“Stakeholders won’t have the time to read a verbose 15 pages charter because they have other priorities,” advises Konstandinos Christofakis, head of marketing at ULTATEL. “That’s why charters should be a high-level overview of projects, remain short enough to be useful, and long enough to be valuable.”

If information is digestible, the chances of project approval rise, according to Christofakis.

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4. Add visuals to your charter.

Using images or design elements can help improve the readability of your project charter and keep your document brief.

For instance, if you want to outline a lengthy communication plan or milestone in your charter, a Gantt chart can help. These charts also stand out in the project charter, allowing team members to reference them easily.

Project charter timeline example

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5. Create a project charter template.

Have you written a project charter in the past? Or perhaps the document you just completed is a masterpiece. Turn these documents into templates that you can use in the future.

Having a template for your project management charter helps you save time and maintain consistency in the future. This approach to project charters also ensures you don’t skip important elements in your document.

Pro tip: If you don’t already have a template, you can browse options online. HubSpot offers a free project charter template that you can download at any time.

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1672262403 37 What is a Project Charter The Complete Guide

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Now that you know the basics of creating project management charters, let’s go over the anatomy of a project charter.

The Anatomy of a Project Management Charter

After developing a project charter, project managers send them to the project sponsor to get approval. A sponsor may include the government, individual financier, or top management of the organization executing the project.

Here are the elements your project charter needs to get approval from sponsors.

1. Project Objective

The project objective is the high-level reason for undertaking the project. Tying objectives to your company goals is a brilliant way to pique stakeholders’ interest in your project.

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Pro tip: Use the SMART framework to make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

2. Project Overview

Your project overview goes into greater detail about the timeline and ownership of a project. This section outlines details like the project name, project sponsor, project Manager, expected start and completion dates, and estimated budget.

Pro tip: Add a table to your project overview. This makes information skimmable and easy to find.

Project charter overview template, HubSpot

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3. Project Deliverables

This is a list of the services or products the project team will provide to stakeholders. Be clear on what your team is delivering to avoid any disagreements that’ll make you extend your deadline.

4. Project Scope

The project scope explains the boundaries of the project. While PMs typically write detailed project scopes, keeping it brief in the project charter is a best practice. Why? You can create a detailed scope statement in the project planning phase.

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5. Project Stakeholders

This is a list of the names and responsibilities of the parties involved with a project. Stating who’s responsible for different tasks holds your team members accountable.

6. Project Risks

Outlining the risks to a project will help you identify blockers to the success of your project and their potential impact. Doing this enables you to devise risk mitigation strategies.

Pro tip: Create a table of potential risks. Be sure to explain why the risk poses a threat to your project and the mitigation strategies you plan to enact.

Project charter risk template, HubSpot

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7. Project Resources

Always create a list of resources your project will need. And that’s not just money. Your resources should include team members, facilities, equipment, and other essential items which are critical to the success of your project. This helps you account for everything you need to take the project to the finish line.

Project charter resources template, HubSpot

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Project Charter Examples

1. Project Management Charter for Lean Six Sigma

project charter example, lean six sigma

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This sample project charter follows the Lean Six Sigma format, one methodology for project management. Teams that already use this framework may opt to structure their project charter in this way.

What we like: The Lean Six Sigma project charter offers a clear scope of work. Project goals also follow the SMART framework, making how the project will benefit the company extremely clear.

Project charter limitations: While this charter outlines key information, including the project goal and problem statement, some key information is missing. The process owner didn’t state the project costs or risks. If you emulate this format, be sure to include this information.

2. Project Management Charter for Website Redesign

1672262404 189 What is a Project Charter The Complete Guide

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In this project charter, the University of Guelph explores exactly what its web team must do to redesign the school’s library website. That includes all of the necessary stakeholders and who’s owning the project.

What we like: This project has a well-defined scope and timeline. Sponsors know exactly who is working on what and when.

Project charter limitations: While this project explores the risks associated with the project, mitigation plans would improve this section of the document.

Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Project Management Charters

1. Missing a Clear Purpose Statement

Every project should have a clear goal and purpose. But sometimes, the primary objective becomes unclear. To combat this, apply the illusory truth effect, which states the use of repeated information increases understanding.

Lauren Carter, principal consultant at Lauren Ashley Consulting, says she uses this strategy to help her team remember the purpose of projects. In Lauren’s words:

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“Project members often lose the ‘North Star’ in the thick of the work. One effective way I prevent this is by having a clear purpose statement in the charter, which I repeat in several ways throughout the project’s lifecycle.”

“This can be as a header on project documents, putting it at the top of timelines or charts, or using it as a metric against which you evaluate planned and unplanned activities that arise.”

2. Creating a Charter Mid-project

Project charters should kick off your initiative. Writing this document halfway through can lead to scope creep, ill-defined responsibilities, and confusion.

“Changing the project charter after initiation and planning means you’ll have to review any work you’ve completed and even rework some completed tasks,” says Mary Beth Imbarrato, a 25-year veteran in the project management industry.

She adds, “This can lead to delays, elevated costs, and create more project risks.”

Mary Beth also says changes to the charter may impact how team members view a project. The result? Reduced commitment and engagement.

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The bottom line: Creating the charter before starting the project will help you avoid scope creep, prevent wasted time by redoing work, and keep extra risks to your project at bay.

3. Ignoring Your Company’s Project Charter Template

Using existing project charters as templates can save you time and ensure consistency.

Instead of creating new charters from scratch, request a sample of a completed charter document the company liked and use it as your template. This template will help you understand how your organization prefers to present ideas, allowing you to follow suit and begin projects on the right foot.

Start New Project Without Missteps

A well-thought-out charter is a roadmap for achieving your project objectives in record time.

Get started by gathering input from your team and creating a project charter that will get the green light from stakeholders.

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

As we march closer to the 2024 U.S. presidential election, CMOs and marketing leaders need to prepare for a significant shift in the digital advertising landscape. Election years have always posed unique challenges for advertisers, but the growing dominance of digital media has made the impact more profound than ever before.

In this article, we’ll explore the key factors that will shape the advertising environment in the coming months and provide actionable insights to help you navigate these turbulent waters.

The Digital Battleground

The rise of cord-cutting and the shift towards digital media consumption have fundamentally altered the advertising landscape in recent years. As traditional TV viewership declines, political campaigns have had to adapt their strategies to reach voters where they are spending their time: on digital platforms.

1713626763 903 Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy1713626763 903 Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

According to a recent report by eMarketer, the number of cord-cutters in the U.S. is expected to reach 65.1 million by the end of 2023, representing a 6.9% increase from 2022. This trend is projected to continue, with the number of cord-cutters reaching 72.2 million by 2025.

Moreover, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2023 found that 62% of U.S. adults do not have a cable or satellite TV subscription, up from 61% in 2022 and 50% in 2019. This data further underscores the accelerating shift away from traditional TV and towards streaming and digital media platforms.

As these trends continue, political advertisers will have no choice but to follow their audiences to digital channels. In the 2022 midterm elections, digital ad spending by political campaigns reached $1.2 billion, a 50% increase from the 2018 midterms. With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, this figure is expected to grow exponentially, as campaigns compete for the attention of an increasingly digital-first electorate.

For brands and advertisers, this means that the competition for digital ad space will be fiercer than ever before. As political ad spending continues to migrate to platforms like Meta, YouTube, and connected TV, the cost of advertising will likely surge, making it more challenging for non-political advertisers to reach their target audiences.

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To navigate this complex and constantly evolving landscape, CMOs and their teams will need to be proactive, data-driven, and willing to experiment with new strategies and channels. By staying ahead of the curve and adapting to the changing media consumption habits of their audiences, brands can position themselves for success in the face of the electoral advertising onslaught.

Rising Costs and Limited Inventory

As political advertisers flood the digital market, the cost of advertising is expected to skyrocket. CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) will likely experience a steady climb throughout the year, with significant spikes anticipated in May, as college students come home from school and become more engaged in political conversations, and around major campaign events like presidential debates.

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For media buyers and their teams, this means that the tried-and-true strategies of years past may no longer be sufficient. Brands will need to be nimble, adaptable, and willing to explore new tactics to stay ahead of the game.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: A Perfect Storm

The challenges of election year advertising will be particularly acute during the critical holiday shopping season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have historically been goldmines for advertisers, will be more expensive and competitive than ever in 2024, as they coincide with the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

To avoid being drowned out by the political noise, brands will need to start planning their holiday campaigns earlier than usual. Building up audiences and crafting compelling creative assets well in advance will be essential to success, as will a willingness to explore alternative channels and tactics. Relying on cold audiences come Q4 will lead to exceptionally high costs that may be detrimental to many businesses.

Navigating the Chaos

While the challenges of election year advertising can seem daunting, there are steps that media buyers and their teams can take to mitigate the impact and even thrive in this environment. Here are a few key strategies to keep in mind:

Start early and plan for contingencies: Begin planning your Q3 and Q4 campaigns as early as possible, with a focus on building up your target audiences and developing a robust library of creative assets.

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Be sure to build in contingency budgets to account for potential cost increases, and be prepared to pivot your strategy as the landscape evolves.

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Embrace alternative channels: Consider diversifying your media mix to include channels that may be less impacted by political ad spending, such as influencer marketing, podcast advertising, or sponsored content. Investing in owned media channels, like email marketing and mobile apps, can also provide a direct line to your customers without the need to compete for ad space.

Owned channels will be more important than ever. Use cheaper months leading up to the election to build your email lists and existing customer base so that your BF/CM can leverage your owned channels and warm audiences.

Craft compelling, shareable content: In a crowded and noisy advertising environment, creating content that resonates with your target audience will be more important than ever. Focus on developing authentic, engaging content that aligns with your brand values and speaks directly to your customers’ needs and desires.

By tapping into the power of emotional triggers and social proof, you can create content that not only cuts through the clutter but also inspires organic sharing and amplification.

Reflections

The 2024 election year will undoubtedly bring new challenges and complexities to the world of digital advertising. But by staying informed, adaptable, and strategic in your approach, you can navigate this landscape successfully and even find new opportunities for growth and engagement.

As a media buyer or agnecy, your role in steering your brand through these uncharted waters will be critical. By starting your planning early, embracing alternative channels and tactics, and focusing on creating authentic, resonant content, you can not only survive but thrive in the face of election year disruptions.

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So while the road ahead may be uncertain, one thing is clear: the brands that approach this challenge with creativity, agility, and a steadfast commitment to their customers will be the ones that emerge stronger on the other side.


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Tinuiti Marketing Analytics Recognized by Forrester

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Tinuiti Marketing Analytics Recognized by Forrester

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By Tinuiti Team

Rapid Media Mix Modeling and Proprietary Tech Transform Brand Performance

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Tinuiti, the largest independent full-funnel performance marketing agency, has been included in a recent Forrester Research report titled, “The Marketing Analytics Landscape, Q2 2024.” This report comprehensively overviews marketing analytics markets, use cases, and capabilities. B2C marketing leaders can use this research by Principal Analyst Tina Moffett to understand the intersection of marketing analytics capabilities and use cases to determine the vendor or service provider best positioned for their analytics and insights needs. Moffett describes the top marketing analytics markets as advertising agencies, marketing dashboards and business intelligence tools, marketing measurement and optimization platforms and service providers, and media analytics tools.

As an advertising agency, we believe Tinuiti is uniquely positioned to manage advertising campaigns for brands including buying, targeting, and measurement. Our proprietary measurement technology, Bliss Point by Tinuiti, allows us to measure the optimal level of investment to maximize impact and efficiency. According to the Forrester report, “only 30% of B2C marketing decision-makers say their organization uses marketing or media mix modeling (MMM),” so having a partner that knows, embraces, and utilizes MMM is important. As Tina astutely explains, data-driven agencies have amplified their marketing analytics competencies with data science expertise; and proprietary tools; and tailored their marketing analytics techniques based on industry, business, and data challenges. 

Our Rapid Media Mix Modeling sets a new standard in the market with its exceptional speed, precision, and transparency. Our patented tech includes Rapid Media Mix Modeling, Always-on Incrementality, Brand Equity, Creative Insights, and Forecasting – it will get you to your Marketing Bliss Point in each channel, across your entire media mix, and your overall brand performance. 

As a marketing leader you may ask yourself: 

  • How much of our marketing budget should we allocate to driving store traffic versus e-commerce traffic?
  • How should we allocate our budget by channel to generate the most traffic and revenue possible?
  • How many customers did we acquire in a specific region with our media spend?
  • What is the impact of seasonality on our media mix?
  • How should we adjust our budget accordingly?
  • What is the optimal marketing channel mix to maximize brand awareness? 

These are just a few of the questions that Bliss Point by Tinuiti can help you answer.

Learn more about our customer-obsessed, product-enabled, and fully integrated approach and how we’ve helped fuel full-funnel outcomes for the world’s most digital-forward brands like Poppi & Toms.

The Landscape report is available online to Forrester customers or for purchase here

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Ecommerce evolution: Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C

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Ecommerce evolution: Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C

Understanding convergence 

B2B and B2C ecommerce are two distinct models of online selling. B2B ecommerce is between businesses, such as wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers. B2C ecommerce refers to transactions between businesses like retailers and consumer brands, directly to individual shoppers. 

However, in recent years, the boundaries between these two models have started to fade. This is known as the convergence between B2B and B2C ecommerce and how they are becoming more similar and integrated. 

Source: White Paper: The evolution of the B2B Consumer Buyer (ClientPoint, Jan 2024)

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What’s driving this change? 

Ever increasing customer expectations  

Customers today expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization in their B2B transactions as they do in their B2C interactions. B2B buyers are increasingly influenced by their B2C experiences. They want research, compare, and purchase products online, seamlessly transitioning between devices and channels.  They also prefer to research and purchase online, using multiple devices and channels.

Forrester, 68% of buyers prefer to research on their own, online . Customers today expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization in their B2B transactions as they do in their B2C interactions. B2B buyers are increasingly influenced by their B2C experiences. They want research, compare, and purchase products online, seamlessly transitioning between devices and channels.  They also prefer to research and purchase online, using multiple devices and channels

Technology and omnichannel strategies

Technology enables B2B and B2C ecommerce platforms to offer more features and functionalities, such as mobile optimization, chatbots, AI, and augmented reality. Omnichannel strategies allow B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to provide a seamless and consistent customer experience across different touchpoints, such as websites, social media, email, and physical stores. 

However, with every great leap forward comes its own set of challenges. The convergence of B2B and B2C markets means increased competition.  Businesses now not only have to compete with their traditional rivals, but also with new entrants and disruptors from different sectors. For example, Amazon Business, a B2B ecommerce platform, has become a major threat to many B2B ecommerce businesses, as it offers a wide range of products, low prices, and fast delivery

“Amazon Business has proven that B2B ecommerce can leverage popular B2C-like functionality” argues Joe Albrecht, CEO / Managing Partner, Xngage. . With features like Subscribe-and-Save (auto-replenishment), one-click buying, and curated assortments by job role or work location, they make it easy for B2B buyers to go to their website and never leave. Plus, with exceptional customer service and promotional incentives like Amazon Business Prime Days, they have created a reinforcing loyalty loop.

And yet, according to Barron’s, Amazon Business is only expected to capture 1.5% of the $5.7 Trillion addressable business market by 2025. If other B2B companies can truly become digital-first organizations, they can compete and win in this fragmented space, too.” 

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If other B2B companies can truly become digital-first organizations, they can also compete and win in this fragmented space

Joe Albrecht
CEO/Managing Partner, XNGAGE

Increasing complexity 

Another challenge is the increased complexity and cost of managing a converging ecommerce business. Businesses have to deal with different customer segments, requirements, and expectations, which may require different strategies, processes, and systems. For instance, B2B ecommerce businesses may have to handle more complex transactions, such as bulk orders, contract negotiations, and invoicing, while B2C ecommerce businesses may have to handle more customer service, returns, and loyalty programs. Moreover, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses must invest in technology and infrastructure to support their convergence efforts, which may increase their operational and maintenance costs. 

How to win

Here are a few ways companies can get ahead of the game:

Adopt B2C-like features in B2B platforms

User-friendly design, easy navigation, product reviews, personalization, recommendations, and ratings can help B2B ecommerce businesses to attract and retain more customers, as well as to increase their conversion and retention rates.  

According to McKinsey, ecommerce businesses that offer B2C-like features like personalization can increase their revenues by 15% and reduce their costs by 20%. You can do this through personalization of your website with tools like Product Recommendations that help suggest related products to increase sales. 

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Focus on personalization and customer experience

B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to understand their customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors, and tailor their offerings and interactions accordingly. Personalization and customer experience can help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, as well as to improve their brand reputation and competitive advantage. According to a Salesforce report, 88% of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services.

Related: Redefining personalization for B2B commerce

Market based on customer insights

Data and analytics can help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to gain insights into their customers, markets, competitors, and performance, and to optimize their strategies and operations accordingly. Data and analytics can also help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to identify new opportunities, trends, and innovations, and to anticipate and respond to customer needs and expectations. According to McKinsey, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain customers, and 19 times more likely to be profitable. 

What’s next? 

The convergence of B2B and B2C ecommerce is not a temporary phenomenon, but a long-term trend that will continue to shape the future of ecommerce. According to Statista, the global B2B ecommerce market is expected to reach $20.9 trillion by 2027, surpassing the B2C ecommerce market, which is expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2027. Moreover, the report predicts that the convergence of B2B and B2C ecommerce will create new business models, such as B2B2C, B2A (business to anyone), and C2B (consumer to business). 

Therefore, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to prepare for the converging ecommerce landscape and take advantage of the opportunities and challenges it presents. Here are some recommendations for B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to navigate the converging landscape: 

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of your customers, competitors, and market, and identify the gaps and opportunities for convergence. 
  • Develop a clear vision and strategy for convergence, and align your goals, objectives, and metrics with it. 
  • Invest in technology and infrastructure that can support your convergence efforts, such as cloud, mobile, AI, and omnichannel platforms. 
  • Implement B2C-like features in your B2B platforms, and vice versa, to enhance your customer experience and satisfaction.
  • Personalize your offerings and interactions with your customers, and provide them with relevant and valuable content and solutions.
  • Leverage data and analytics to optimize your performance and decision making, and to innovate and differentiate your business.
  • Collaborate and partner with other B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses, as well as with other stakeholders, such as suppliers, distributors, and customers, to create value and synergy.
  • Monitor and evaluate your convergence efforts, and adapt and improve them as needed. 

By following these recommendations, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses can bridge the gap between their models and create a more integrated and seamless ecommerce experience for their customers and themselves. 

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