Maybe you are one of the few that has not yet come across the global phenomenon that is the '50 Shades' trilogy of books. If so, then somehow I still got your attention to read this article. But if you have heard of the books then perhaps this is the reason you stopped to read my few words.
The title was small piece of marketing, a hook to draw you in, something to catch your eye and get you interested in investing a small amount of your time to read a little more. The linking of the 'lazy' brand to a global success story (in the publishing world) was intentional and, as you must be reading now, it worked.
I mean, this article could have been entitled "The potential benefits of a significant focus on extending the presence and understanding to the wider stakeholder community on the anticipated project deliverables and associated business advantages…" but I'd guess that this would have appealed to slightly fewer people.
I learned something very important a long time ago when I first started out in project management. No matter how a good a job you do, if you don't let people know then most people will never find out!
Then it seemed to come naturally to me to share what was going on within a project to all of the team members and to also share outside the project team to others. I quickly built up an affinity to and a relationship with the marketing departments within the organisations that I worked for.
Mostly, in the early days, to make sure that I gained access to all of the 'goodies' that marketing departments always seem to have to hand – the golf umbrellas, pens, polo shirts etc. But that rapidly evolved in to realising how the marketing department, or at least the people with the marketing skills, could help me out on projects.
Projects are all about control and discipline and delivering to a plan; a plan, it should be noted, that the business has already signed off on. So why, with that authority behind each and every project (and if you don't have such authority how did the project even get approved?) do we all struggle to get our project all of the focus and resources needed?
The trouble is that no matter what is signed off by the business, unless you exist in the perfectly balanced portfolio world or have unlimited resources, then you will meet such difficulties in delivering your project.
The trouble is also that you will meet some levels of resistance from your stakeholders. Projects are about change and change tends to worry most people. Spreading calm and assurance and information and care is critical for all project managers.
And the benefit is that no matter how well the project plan is adhered to and your directions are carried out there is absolutely no harm, and very often a lot of value, in letting the business and outside or more remote stakeholders know all of the good work you and your team are doing and how this work (the project deliverables) may well help them in the near future. It can certainly lead to advice, guidance and often support as you deliver your project to the business.
One of my early mentors in project management gave me one great piece of advice 'no surprises'. And by 'no surprises' they meant for everyone, all the stakeholders, anyone and everyone you and your project could or would impact in some way.
After five years in project management I eventually got to go on a proper course and gained my first certification. After 15 years I eventually gained the necessary support and time to study marketing at a UK school of management to learn more about this subject and how I could aid my projects more in the future.
Both of these learning experiences have helped me a great deal over the years.
And now, more than ever, project managers need to de-risk their projects and raise their chances of success by working effectively that includes effective marketing of their projects.
Back to the infamous '50 Shades' books, then, it was through the power of the social network and word of mouth that has made these books as hugely successful as they are, and it seems that everyone is talking about them.
Even by writing this article I am clearly aiding the marketing and therefore the selling of these books (I give the author and publishers of the '50 Shades' books my full and unreserved permission to do the same for my 'Lazy' books) and that is also how you would wish your projects to be represented.
You want people hearing good things about what you are doing and then freely telling others all about it. So be successful and market!