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What is the right campaign management methodology for inbound marketing?

 There is more than one way to run an inbound marketing campaign? What makes one methodology better than another?

Campaign management for inbound marketing projects takes existing project management methodologies and positions them to function for inbound marketing.

Yup, there's more than one. I am curious to see how many different approaches people and teams take to manage inbound marketing campaigns. I wrote a brief description of some of the most popular project methodologies to provide some further information. 

I have a lot of different thoughts about project management across inbound marketing teams. A lot of inbound marketing teams seem to use project management methodologies that don't enhance their productivity or output of content. In fact, it seems that they use the wrong methodology more often than not.

5 Popular Project Management Methodologies

1. Waterfall

Of course waterfall is one of the most common ways to plan out a project. Partly because it's fairly logical. You lay out all the tasks that need to be done, put them in the correct sequence, think order of operations, and get started. It is an easy to understand and utilize methodology. But it can also be one of the most frustrating to manage. Because a waterfall requires you to think through the order of operations and pre-plan every task, the smallest of roadblocks or uncertainty can lead to complete chaos. Like dominos, when one task is disrupted, they're all disrupted. 


2. Critical Path Method (CPM)

This methodology has been around for over 60 years and is an iteration of the waterfall methodology. When you string together your task sequence in a waterfall project there is bound to be multiple tasks dependent on one earlier task being completed and these task don't all hold the same priority. Basically the critical path is the concept of only focusing in on the most important tasks and their dependencies. This helps project managers allocate the right resources and make changes with more flexibility than a waterfall. 


3. Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)

Critical chain project management is another version of the critical path method. Just like the critical path, critical chain identifies the most crucial task that need to be done, but differs in that instead of drilling into the dependencies of those task you drill into the resources needed for those tasks. This helps project managers allocate the right resources and extra time.


4. PMI/PMBOK Method 

A little more straightforward, this method simply breaks down your project into process groups: initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing. Many say that this method is more of a rulebook for project management vs. a methodology yet many organizations still use it today. 


5. Agile

The Agile methodology is centered around delivering value and collaborating/learning from customers. The agile manifesto outlines 4 benefits. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation, and responding to change over following a plan. Project objectives are clear but the deliverable can change to better meet customer needs and wants.


6. Scrum

Scrum is version of agile and probably the most popular agile framework. It's easy to use and understand. It defines and shortens development cycles, makes plans flexible and adaptable, and speeds up overall production. A scrum master leads the team. Their job is to make it easier to get work done faster. Team typically work is short cycles called sprints. At the beginning of a sprint each team member commits to a deliverable. Then everyday the team meets to discuss progress and blockers. Team members are held accountable to their progress and scrum masters are held accountable to removing blockers. 


7. Kanban

Kanban is another agile methodology but Kanban is focused on the capacity to do work. It fits well for projects that require a steady, ongoing output. A staple of the Kanban methodology would be sticky notes and a whiteboard (or Trello). These help team create visual boards and move task along. 


8. Six Sigma

A statistics based methodology developed to improve quality by measuring defects/bugs. The idea is to get it as close to zero as possible, the perfect project. 


Final Thoughts

Not all campaign management is created equal. Make sure you are using the right one that makes sense for the way your team works, how many project managers you have other resources available. Typically inbound marketing is going perform better under some form of agile/lean leadership. Mostly because of the quick learning and development aspects of them. What methodology are you using? Have you tried more than one?