I have successfully transitioned my entire management structure from another platform to Wrike. While I expected a long and painful period of adjustment, I was actually surprised by the speed with which my teams adopted Wrike. That’s not to say that there weren’t mistakes, but the lessons were learned. I will tell you all about them so that you can have a painless transition to Wrike as well. Click here to get a FREE Wrike account and test it yourself >>
When we first introduced Wrike to my marketing teams, I noticed some trends that clearly depicted where I made mistakes during this period. Let me outline these mistakes into three segments.
When we first started using Wrike, I made it a point that all communication needs to be conducted on it as well. And believe me, it wasn’t easy making people stop relying on e-mail as a primary form of communication and it took a lot of effort. But I was adamant about it and even made a rule regarding this segment: What isn’t on Wrike, it might as well not exist. I can safely say that this was the hardest part of the transition, but it didn’t take long. In fact, it took a lot less than 60 days I predicted it would.
By this, I mean the process of using Wrike with all the other tools required to complete tasks. Here is where I started leading by example. Whenever I found a new resource or formulated a new idea, I used Wrike to capture it and share it with my team. I also made sure that each member stores or references the resources used for the task completion. That way, whenever a backtrack of a task was required, we used Wrike to perform the search and dig up the project history along with the resource list. I can now access every task and know precisely what was used to complete it.
This is perhaps an obvious tip but I feel like it played a key role in shortening the adoption time. From the get go, my teams created a highly organized structure within Wrike and that made transition a lot easier on the staff. They got used to the precisely organized structure and once we started nesting everything under proper labels, there was no going back. I believe that if weren’t for this segment, it would take us (me in particular) a lot longer to adopt Wrike as our project management platform.
Hopefully, these tips will help you out during your transition period, and if you have already completed this journey, I would like to hear your comments. Share your opinion and point out the things I might have missed.
One of the biggest advantages of Wrike lies within its flexible folder structure. I realized that mirroring the structure of my marketing teams offers a simplified and highly efficient way to manage and control their workload. This realization came as a result of dozens of interviews I conducted with various marketing teams. The information gathered from these interviews helped me better understand the key factors that inhibit the efficiency. This is key when you are doing JV’s or working in a team on new aff marketing campaigns. WRIKE can break down a task to sub-tasks, and even sub-tasks to deeper level tasks, and you can assign parts, or all of the ‘tree’ to different people to track. Best of all, this ensures that nothing will be missed. Click here to get a FREE Wrike account and test it yourself >>
The core of the problem
Marketing teams, no matter how big or small, almost as a rule suffer from being understaffed and/or burdened with excessive workload. This creates all sorts of problems on its own. Add to that the inherited cross-functional nature of the workflow and the problems keep piling on. With so many moving parts, having an inefficient resource and project management tool should not be one of them. I started using Wrike for high-performance marketing teams and that practice trickled all the way down through the ranks. Let me guide you through the basic setup I use and explain how each step makes everyone’s job easier.
Marketing teams, especially ones handling bigger campaigns, are segmented into various departments: Email marketing, Product and Content marketing, Research and Lead generation, etc. This creates sort of a tree structure within a marketing team. The best way to manage a set team is to mimic its structure using folders and recreate the tree from top to bottom. Creating parent folders and subsequent sub-folders will make it easier for you to issue tasks, control their progress, and communicate with other “branches”. And if there is ever a need to create additional branches, you can easily add a layer of subfolders regardless of the management level.
Take content marketing as an example. If you have a team working on case studies and blog posts, you can simply add infographics folder that can house projects under these labels. That way, you can introduce an entirely new department without messing with the existing team structure.
Progress report organization
Marketing teams produce a large number of data points. This is basically a constant stream of sortable data which carries multiple tags with it. One of these should be a weekly tag under which you can easily track the progress of each task. Here is why.
With a constant flow of deliverables, you can track whether the set milestones get completed and what causes the delays. Having the tasks on multiple locations can often cause a confusion and inefficient management. Housing all tasks into weekly folders offers a perfect solution and gives you the overview of missed and achieved goals.
Teams using this system proved to be more efficient than the ones who don’t. I would highly recommend implementing this into your Wrike setup, especially for high-performance marketing teams.
Running the meetings out of Wrike
This part is only the extension of the previous segment. Once you set up weekly folders, it is easy to run weekly meetings out of Wrike. Instead of having the teams submit their reports and slides, consider having them go into the weekly folder and show the completed tasks and lists. This will considerably shorten the time needed for teams to prepare for weekly meetings. You can also reschedule tasks by simply moving them to another week’s folder without losing the original timeline. This simplifies the process of tracking the history of the task.
Within the weekly folder, each team can add a meeting agenda note and collaborate with others on the issues needed to be addressed during the weekly meeting. That way, no overlapping or repeating issues will occur.
Establishing the leading roles
Every marketing team should have a person in charge. This is called a leading role. Create a management folder and organize teams into subfolders under the respective team leaders. Creating this distinction makes each team leader responsible for the sub-folders and for tagging the high priority tasks. Also, setting a tree like structure makes sure that teams under a certain team leader see his top priority tags and deliver the relevant information.
Setting the quarterly or annual goals for the teams is nothing new, but what I propose is creating a folder for set goals. That way, if team members deem a certain task to be relevant towards achieving the goal, they can add a tag to it and make it visible to collaborators. This makes it easier for everyone to keep track of the goal progression and it also keeps them motivated to contribute towards achieving it.
These are the key points I believe will help you create a more efficient project management environment. Besides all of the advantages I pointed out for every segment, there is also the an important one I didn’t mention so far.
Implementing this structure to an already existing management system won’t take up a lot of time. And from my experience, all the members of my staff were able to adopt these changes without an effort. Some of them were even using this system on their own and even suggested additional improvements that contributed towards better efficiency. If you feel like you reached the peak in your management efficiency, I believe implementing a similar folder structure will prove beneficial and open up new doors for streamlining ideas.
For every project without exception, I put a great deal of attention towards streamlining the workload. This includes project management and team communication as well. Wrike’s Google Chrome extension had a massive impact in the way I communicate with my collaborators. For those of you unfamiliar with it, let me try to explain it in the simplest possible way: It can bridge your Wrike project management center with any in-browser tool you use. You can create a task directly from the resource page and the hyperlink is copied to set task alongside other important information related to it. This is the fastest way to bookmark and discuss resource pages with your team. Let me outline a few advantages of using Wrike’s Chrome extension.
Sharing the knowledge
Like many of you, I am constantly learning new things and formulating new ideas. Whenever I stumble upon something interesting or something worth sharing, I simply start a discussion directly from that page. Wrike’s extension also allows me to individually pick the people to discuss a certain page with. This makes it great for pointing out specific pages to specific people. Nesting these bookmarks under a label also provides an excellent way of backtracking resource pages.
Keeping track of purchasing and items on watch lists has always been a multi-tool task. Now, I simply organize and direct items from the browser to purchasing list. There is even a snapshot option that allows me to keep track of items and its details which makes controlling the watch lists a lot easier. Adding information to the snapshots and highlighting the part of an image can also be very useful and simplify the item tracking of any sort.
Manage my management
Wrike is a project management tool, but I also use the extension to manage custom timelines and reports within Wrike itself. A unique URL is assigned to every item within Wrike, and since that address is copied when I create new items from the extension, I can use it to point out time delays and progress reports to specific people. This makes inner team communication a lot easier and significantly speeds up problem-solving and team collaboration. You can basically do management within your management and simplify the transfer of information.
Wrike’s Google Chrome extension is free for all existing users. It is very simple and straightforward to use, even for those unfamiliar with any type of experience using similar extensions. It is one of my favorite tools and certainly one that I use quite often. In addition to business, I use it to organize a lot of personal resource pages and my “to read” lists.
I’ve known Mike for YEARS and when I was looking for interesting people to interview, I knew he was the right man to ask! WARNING: You won’t be dissapointed! Guaranteed! Just like my previous interview, I give you ALL the goods, from A to Z on a man that to me is a legend in our industry. PLEASE Share this interview with friends, co-workers, relatives, help spread the word and the story that is…
Mike Schwalbach’s nontraditional “rags to riches” story will inspire you to go beyond the numbers and look at what really matters if you want to be successful.
Where does the story of Mike begin?
On one hand, I’m a self-made man who has found success through hard work. I was born in Amsterdam and raised by my mother, a German-speaking Portuguese immigrant. She left my father who was an alcoholic when I was very young. We had practically no money, living in the Bijlmer area of Amsterdam – a place which is not considered to be very nice. Everything I’ve learned about entrepreneurship comes, in a way, from her. She was a real survivor.
It was tough, honestly, but it made me who I am. I learned to work hard from a young age and found my entrepreneurial spirit early. I was independent and always made my own money because I had no other choice. My parents didn’t have to give me anything, which was good. I used that energy to build a number of successful businesses over the years.
On the other hand, I’m an entrepreneur who has been active in our industry for quite some time. I was one of the first heavy users of the internet, and I’ve always looked for opportunities, which means I’ve been a part of many projects that people know… I was involved with the company that built most of the major Dutch search engines, such as Funda (which is still the biggest real estate site in the Netherlands), Autotrack.nl (which targets audiences that need to buy a car) and AskJolene. I went to some of the first shows in our industry, InterNEXT and Phoenix Forum back in the late nineties, where I started to build relationships which have lasted to this day.
Ever wonder, how you can get more done in the same amount of time? It has to do with organization – now there are a ton of project management, and efficiency tools out there; however in our industry we have specific needs… so I went on a mission to seek out a solution…
I’ve just spent a good week evaluating various project management platforms from Basecamp, Trello all the way to Yalla (yea there’s a project management tool named like that – and no it’s not the song from INNA; although that’s a pretty cool song and sexy music video – check it out here )
I was very, very disappointed 99% of these project management tools don’t have native budget and expense tracking built in; many say you can add in apps to track expenses but even then, the expenses tracked are based on the time logged doing the work. I’ve been busy and looked at these: Breeze, Zapier, LeanKit, Smartsheets as well as the aforementioned ones above.
ONE BIG PROBLEM TO SOLVE
We are not freelancers, we do not get paid hourly.
We are running various projects (campaigns) as affiliate marketers, and they all have different costs like:
Of course, the above are just “some” of the potential expenses a project might need; it all depends on what you do. Nutra, Cloaked or Uncloaked, Whitehat or Blackhat, Pin Submits, App Installs, Lead Gen, SOI/DOI, Dating, whatever. It was really disappointing to see that most of these so called project management tools lack the ability to enter expenses at a task level and then have a summary of it all on a project level, which you can assign per client (if you are working in JVs or something).
But then I came across the tool I need, the tool that is going to make it a breeze to take all our ops we’ve been doing via email chains, and trello and back and forth via skype and put them all into one place.
This tool lets you create a project, then add tasks, delegate these tasks to different people in your team, and then when they do it, have them add the actual cost vs the budget that was allocated and monitor everything on one screen. You can also generate quick reports, both visual and table style to share with JV partners if needed.
This tool is WRIKE, and it’s one of a kind. Get a free trial here; it’s a game changer if you want to scale your operations.
We are at the ending point of this year. Just thought I should thank all of you that read my blog. You are of one them so here goes…
Thank you very much for staying up to date with my content; I hope it provides value.
Even though affiliate marketing presents various obstacles and hurdles, be proud that you manage to overcome them and cross the bridge to continue building on the knowledge you’ve acquired. May you continue to be this firm and win many new successes in the upcoming year of 2017!
Remember, your journey is a diary filled with empty pages waiting for You. Fill them up with your trials as you continue towards successes; because many years from now you will look back at it as memories that helped you become the success you are.
Wishing you and your family a very happy new year!