Re: Developing marketing CD - best way to manage project

Subject: Re: Developing marketing CD - best way to manage project
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2006 09:51:19 -0500

My first thought is, are you sure a CD is the best way to present this material to your target audience? I realize that it's probably someone else's decision, but there's nothing worse than spending months on a project only to find that customers don't use it. If it is a demo, that shows a potential user how easy it would be to put integrate your product into their operation, then it makes sense. If it is just a showy presentation of features and benefits, the production values required to make it impressive might stretch your budget.

Assuming that a CD is the right way to go, there are some very good project management tools and resources available. MS Project is a good standby, but there are also Open Source project management trackers such as the GanttProject. <>. Here's a fast and fun project management tutorial, and there are others you can find on the web: <>.

The most important thing to remember about project management is to closely manage and control the scope of the work. Projects can go to h3ll fast if there are unaccounted for changes to the amount of work (number of tasks, complexity of tasks, add-ons), and everyone suffers. Every time the scope changes, the project manager needs to re-evaluate the entire project to see where time, money or resources must be added (or subtracted). You'll hear talk of the WBS, work breakdown structure. Again, plenty of resource on the web about this, but here's one: <>. That should help you decompose the tasks into what work has to go into the CD.

Finally, once you're working to plan, resist the urge to add little improvements (Hey, wouldn't it be great if we put in some Flash?!?) because that changes scope. An early test of the CD with one or two customers to get their feedback wouldn't be amiss, either.

Good luck with it!

Nelson, Julie wrote:

Our writing team is in the beginning stage of developing a marketing CD,
promoting our retail computer system to stores that aren't computerized
or aren't using our software applications. We've met twice regarding
the project, but haven't established a true project management plan.
I'm starting to come up with a list of different tasks involved in
developing the CD (not in order - writing the content, creating images,
editing, coding, QA, working with the company that will produce the
CDs, develop CD cover, etc.) None of us have official training in
project management, so I was hoping to get some assistance here. What
resources do you use for project management (especially from the
standpoint of working with a technical writing/training team - 8
people). Are there web sites, books, e-mail lists that would be
helpful? What steps do you take when managing a project. Our goal is
to have a final version of the CD done before yearend.
Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416.491.5050 x3133


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Developing marketing CD - best way to manage project: From: Nelson, Julie

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