The 7 Pillars of Program Management Success

Kinesis, like any marketing organization is a service business. We have clients who pay us (sometimes handsomely) to perform specific marketing duties and, more importantly to get results. Their expectations are high, as are our own. And while every day all over the world teams of people sit down to start marketing initiatives, few of them will be as successful as anticipated at the outset.


Simply because they did not take seven critical fundamentals into account.

1. Program Identification. Seems overly simple, but this first program element is critical as it establishes the foundation for a successful project. It includes activities such as clearly defining the scope of work and identifying the proper resources. It also may involve strategy development and research elements that help define specific and measurable goals and objectives.
2. Program Kick-Off. Bring the team together in one place and get everyone on the same page. This single element is most commonly overlooked and doing so can have serious consequences. A kick-off meeting involving the entire team helps set expectations for the program and provides an opportunity to communicate project goals and objectives, identify anticipated challenges, set timeframes and agree upon project plans. Most importantly, it is the only opportunity to define team members individual roles and responsibilities, often an area that will come into contention when a project goes south.
3. Program Documentation. Every Kinesis project, regardless of scope and size, adheres to a strict document code ensuring that critical data is kept up-to-date and easily accessible to all team members. Documentation is the vehicle for the majority of communication during a program. And it is essential that all communication (or at least as much as possible) be written. Scope of Work, strategy, goals and objectives, creative briefs, timelines and status reports all document the project to keep everyone on the same page, and also make a record of it for posterity. Of course, keeping this documentation in a single repository accessible by all team members is essential. If you can’t see it, it may as well not even exist.
4. Program Communication. 99% of projects that fail do so due to a lack of communication. Communication between team members, with vendors, and with clients is key to making an engagement successful and on target with expectations. Problems and issues are especially important to communicate early, openly and honestly, which is why each Kinesis engagement includes regular account and status updates through meetings, written status reports, email alerts and other project documentation as necessary.
5. Program QA. Ultimately, any project will be judged by the quality and accuracy of final deliverables. One way to derail even the best project is by failing to check the work before it is released. Kinesis ensures success by checking and re-checking work to ensure that a deliverable is not only free from errors but strategically accurate after what is often months of work.
6. Program Metrics. If you are successful, how will you know? Because you would have decided back at pillar #1 what would constitute success. Every Kinesis engagement, both large and small, has a measurable objective by which the relative success or failure of a program can be judged. Then that learning is reinvested into the next program or phase to ensure that success has a steady upward trend over time.

There is a 7th pillar that is just as critical but harder to teach. Kinesis calls them the “intangibles”, those elements that are brought by the individual team members. These intangibles include the real core of Kinesis, and really, of any team. They are accountability, responsibility, ownership and creative thinking. These four elements are a part of human nature, and it’s essential that your team has them. Greatness requires them and certainly will elude you if you don’t bring them to bear on every project.

Kinesis has built its culture on and around these seven “pillars” of successful programs. And while every program is unique, every client organization different, each of these pillars remain true on any engagement, no matter the size. And while we use them to support our delivery of marketing service, they are not marketing specific. They are useful to any organization that needs to get something done and ensure that results meet expectations. Try them yourself and reap the rewards of success.


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