Direct marketing has proven to be the most effective method for founders and marketers to build their customer bases. But what is direct marketing? In this article, we cover direct marketing examples and strategies that can be used to multiply your customer base.
There is a big difference between boss vs leader. Good leaders not only motivate and inspire their teams to perform their best, but they are also part of the team themselves. They find a healthy balance between managing, leading, and jumping in to help when needed. They are also constantly researching new methods and ways to be a better leader. People seek out good leaders to work for and turn to them for advice and encouragement. In this article, we’ll help you identify the subtle ways to align your behavior with that of a true leader. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between the two and which responsibilities every great manager and business owner should have on their list if they want to skyrocket to company-wide success. What is the difference between boss and leader? A boss manages their employees, while a leader motivates and helps them reach their goals. How do you differentiate the two? It’s all about mindset and action. Here are some of the biggest boss vs leader differences: A leader has an open mind; a boss already knows it all Leaders will adopt a growth mindset. That means they are open to learning new ideas, hearing interesting takes from others, and are willing to try new things as they come up. This helps foster a more creative work environment for everyone. It also helps the entire team feel supported in the work they do, which leads to more productivity and better results. A leader collaborates; a boss dictates Leaders like to work with other people to get the best positive results they can as a group. They don't simply rely on one or two managers to oversee progress. Although a good manager is a serious asset, leaders are hands-on, brainstorming side by side with partners and employees on the team to come up with innovative solutions. A leader empowers; a boss keeps a watchful eye Leaders also set up systems and processes that make it easy for employees to make decisions on their own with minimal supervision. This can relate to finances, task management, and even customer relations. With proper communication, leaders make it easy for their team to have a certain level of autonomy no matter what they're working on. A leader takes the blame; a boss puts the blame on others When a team fails, a leader believes that it's their responsibility to figure out what they did wrong before moving on to evaluating other people. They know that if a project didn’t meet expectations, it may relate to the workplace culture, the systems they put in place already, or an oversight of theirs that can and should be corrected for the next project. Understanding the functions of management certainly helps too. A leader sets an example; a boss makes an example out of people Leaders make sure that the rules apply to them too. They follow them, work them out, and make revisions as needed. They model the behavior they wish to see in the workplace. This often involves thinking positively, showing up early, and showing up often. Are you a boss or a leader: which one works for you? Today's competitive marketplace demands that you produce extraordinary results. How you choose to do that is up to you. But you may already have a leadership style in place that isn’t the best for you or your team. Even if it has worked up until this point, it’s important to seriously consider where you are now and where you’d like to be. Ask yourself these questions to discover whether you are a boss vs a leader: Do I do my best to make sure everyone’s voice is heard? Do I prioritize self-improvement and continuous growth in my field through books or higher education? Do I help employees learn from their mistakes? Do I actively look for untapped talent within my team? Do I help others fulfill their potential? Do I listen more than I talk? Do I hold myself to the same standards I’ve set for my team? If you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to some or all of these questions, then you are indeed a leader. If not, examine the areas in which you answered ‘No’ and consider what you can improve on. Boss vs leader: can I be a better boss than a leader? At this point, you may be wondering: are there any circumstances in which it’s better to be a boss than a leader? In some work environments, especially those that are fast-paced and high-stress, being a boss feels more intuitive. When you're short on time, you have to move quickly and make sure others do the same. For example, let's say you work for a catering company. You're serving a multi-course dinner to a high-profile client and your servers need to be at the top of their game. Let’s take a look at the actions of boss vs leader in this scenario. A boss would dictate orders as they come up, berating employees for being too slow, or even simply expecting new hires to know everything even on their first day. A leader would instead make communication clear and respectful. They would also offer a level of understanding for mistakes. A great leader will even proactively empower collaboration among this subset of the team so that they can troubleshoot together as you manage the rest of the event. In essence, a boss and a leader do the same things but in different ways with a vastly different skill set. Difference between boss and leader responsibilities The responsibilities of boss vs leader seem pretty similar at first. But once you compare them side by side, it’s easy to see how very different they are. Boss responsibilities include: Creating goals Organizing Making plans Delegating Developing strategies Leader responsibilities include: Creating visions Innovating Inspiring action Empowering others Developing culture Both techniques arrive at the same outcome eventually. But the journey getting there might look quite different. While bosses rely on themselves and their own innate ability to think for their team, leaders actually do less while making their employees happier by letting them think for themselves. Take a look at our leadership infographic Leadership matters today no matter what situation you are in. And it can be the single biggest factor that makes a difference in achieving extraordinary results. More resources to level up your leadership skills Blog: How to Show Leadership in Project Management During Times of Crisis eBook: It’s Not Me, It’s You: Why Managers Need to Break Up With Email and Spreadsheets Blog: How to Develop the Essential Skills to Be a Project Manager Blog: 15 Books Every Manager Should Read Blog: 9 Ways to Develop Your Leadership Skills Blog: Which of These Leadership Styles Is Right for You? (Decision Tree) Blog: Ask the Industry Expert: "What Soft Skills Do I Need as a Project Manager?" Blog: What Makes a Good Manager?
All of us have felt the fear of admitting when we’ve made a mistake at work. We may be terrified to tell our manager, or nervous about the impact our mistake could have on the business. But mistakes are completely normal and should be viewed as an opportunity to grow. This article aims to provide a deeper insight into why this fear of making mistakes at work exists and how to overcome it. We’ll also provide advice to managers on how to react and problem solve collaboratively as a team. Why is there a fear of making mistakes at work? Making mistakes at work can be scary. This is especially true if you’re the sole breadwinner of your household or rely on your position for everyday expenses like rent. When the stakes are high, it’s normal to worry about what-if scenarios when something goes wrong. In rare cases, extreme perfectionism is diagnosed as atelophobia which is the extreme fear of making mistakes. While these are all valid reactions, making mistakes at work can actually improve your relationship with management and provide opportunities for self-improvement. But first things first, you have to adjust your mindset and overcome those fear-based feelings that are keeping you paralyzed. Overcoming the anxiety of making mistakes at work If you’re like most people, you probably feel a knot in your stomach when something goes wrong at work. It could have been a minor mishap that no one noticed or a major mistake that cost your company a huge sum of money. Regardless of what happened, overcoming the anxiety of making mistakes at work is the first step to finding a solution. If you skip this part of the process, you may find yourself covering up issues that could have been fixed, making things worse long-term, or even getting found out by your boss. Follow these steps to overcoming work-related stress and bounce back stronger than before after you’ve messed up: Step 1: Process your emotions It’s natural to feel frustrated and embarrassed when something goes wrong at work. But, after a few seconds, the feeling should pass and you can begin to think logically. If it doesn’t happen quickly, take some time to process these emotions. Talk it out with a trusted friend, voice journal about it in your car, or take a walk outside to get some fresh air before starting fresh. It can be hard to maintain a sense of balance when you’re upset. Try to make sure that your emotional response is proportional to the mistake you made. Step 2: Keep perspective If you make an error at work, it’s likely not a life-or-death situation. Most of the time, it can be corrected or resolved quickly. If you don’t find the right perspective, your mind may get too focused on the negative consequences of your mistake, which can trigger more errors in the future. Step 3: Acknowledge the mistake If you need to apologize for an error, do it quickly and politely. If it’s a small issue, a sentence or two via email or chat messenger is enough to make amends. If it’s a larger issue, consider holding a meeting or giving your manager a quick phone call. Also, make sure to tell your boss about how you intend to prevent this mistake in the future. Step 4: Review your response It’s so easy to get distracted by all your other goals and projects that you can forget about anything else that went wrong before you got to this point. Taking the time to review your response to the mistake helps you improve in case it ever happens again. Ask yourself questions. Do you make the same mistake over and over again? If so, what changes can you make to prevent this from happening? Step 5: Practice self-care Getting back into a healthy routine can help you release pent-up energy and prevent making mistakes at work in the future. To some, the concept of self-care may seem like a trend or luxury. But making sure you’re feeling your best is critical for improving your confidence and your performance at work. Issues such as sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, and dehydration can lead to mistakes you otherwise wouldn’t have made if you had been taking better care of yourself. Step 6: Evaluate your own performance The easiest way to earn people's trust is to consistently deliver stellar work. Even though you may have failed in the past, there's still time to move on and create a successful and rich working life. Remember, a mistake or two over the course of an otherwise successful period will not make or break your career. How should managers react to mistakes at work? Managers are responsible for reacting to and assisting employees with mistakes at work. Even in the most high-pressure situations, doing so with care is not only good for morale but will prevent similar mistakes in the future. How a manager reacts to mistakes at work can make all the difference between transformational leadership and losing otherwise great employees. Great managers understand that we can all learn from our mistakes. Mistakes help us develop as individuals and as a team. Great managers can also recognize when they themselves have made mistakes. Before you approach a team member, take a close look at yourself to see if you're really worried about their work. If so, what do you think about their performance? Who is responsible for their work so far? You may find that you’ve contributed to the environment, the process, or the miscommunication that made the mistake possible. Reflecting on this ahead of time will relieve everyone of playing the blame game and instead solve the problem from a fair and level-headed place. Additionally, managers should make sure that each mistake is a teaching moment. It may be hard but don't try to fix the problem. Instead, frame it as an opportunity to improve and develop. When approaching an employee who has made a mistake, start by being curious about it. Ask questions about what happened and what their perspective is on the situation. Use active listening skills when speaking to team members, as it will let them know that you are paying attention. They may fess up immediately. If they take the blame for something that wasn’t their fault, which is pretty common, address that. If they don’t admit to making a mistake, approach the situation with care and focus on the issue, not placing blame. Give the team members the autonomy to figure it out on their own. Then, provide your feedback in a fair and balanced manner. Afterward, encourage them to learn from it and avoid repeating the same mistake. When communicating with an employee who has made a mistake, in-person meetings are often best. However, many teams are now made up of contractors, gig workers, and freelancers who work remotely so a physical location is not always accessible. If that’s the case, lean on digital tools to illustrate the issue. For example, reports and individual task assignment lists from project management tools. These can also be used to prevent future mistakes, as managers can easily use them to communicate the actions and behaviors expected of team members and improve the overall work management process. There may be times when mistakes happen over and over again. If that’s the case, the employee may be engaging in a pattern of behavior that keeps them from performing at their best. Managers can step in and provide ideas for healthy habits that will prevent the same type of mistake from cropping up again. For example, you can ask a marketing team member to overcome a common marketing mistake of missing a content publishing deadline by writing a to-do list every day. This will help them stay on top of their tasks while also motivating them to finish their work at the same time. In a nutshell, it’s important to understand that punishment for infrequent mistakes is unfair and ineffective. These mistakes offer opportunities to improve, which both managers and employees can embrace. How to admit a mistake in a professional environment You may end up in a situation in a professional environment where an apology is needed. And when it comes to making mistakes at work, honesty is the best policy. Certain actions can break trust, but an apology can help rebuild it. In your explanation, it's important to detail why you acted the way you did. It shows that you care about how those around you are affected by your actions. It's important to address the person you're apologizing to by name, regardless of their status. Having an open conversation can help both of you understand the other person better, and it can prevent an insincere apology from happening. If the mistake you made affected someone personally, it's important to validate the feelings of the other person. Having the courage to admit that you're sorry can make a huge difference in how people treat you. Take responsibility for your actions and have a plan in place for how to make amends before you approach the appropriate person or people. Having a plan in place shows that you're thinking about how to make things right. You may even want to read about examples of taking responsibility at work and model your behavior on whichever feels appropriate for the situation. However, don’t get carried away and make promises you can’t keep. It's important to set goals that are realistic so that you can avoid repeating the mistake. If your apology is accepted, you can then try negotiating a solution by asking the other person to reflect on the situation and consider their feelings. After you apologize, make a greater effort to keep your promises and not repeat the same mistake. Doing so can help improve the situation and make the other person feel more comfortable. How to learn from mistakes at work It's important to come clean and admit your mistake, but it's also important to move forward with a positive mindset. You'll most likely feel a bit down about your mistake right after it happens. But by learning from it, you can improve and become more resilient in the long run. Start by creating a plan for improvement. If you made a minor mistake, then creating personal goals and action plans will help you put those lessons into action. You can learn a universal lesson from nearly any situation, no matter how unique it is. For example, if you learned that a mistake was made because of your forgetfulness, implementing organizational strategies to improve your memory could help. Next, keep track of progress over time in a notebook or virtual document. Be sure to note the highlights along with the lowlights. Look for patterns. As they come up, add them to your action plan or personal goals list. Monitor whether or not these changes have led to better, more consistent outcomes. If not, adjust and keep going. Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for help if you're unsure which strategy or tool will work best for you. Managers are there to support your performance. If you approach them with honesty and vulnerability, they’ll likely be flattered you thought to ask. They may even offer advice or make changes that will improve productivity for you and the rest of the team. In conclusion The pressure to perform at a high level can often result in mistakes and inefficient habits. Learn from your mistakes and take ownership of them. Communicate in an open and honest manner. Ask for or provide help when needed and remember that every new mistake is also an opportunity for better performance. How Wrike can help you avoid unnecessary mistakes at work With so many files, folders, updates, and chat threads to keep track of, mistakes are easily made when you try to get through your day without a work management platform. Wrike offers a variety of features to help you stay on top of your workload easily, and avoid unnecessary confusion that can lead to mistakes at work. Full project visibility, including real-time updates and approvals, means that you can ensure every stakeholder is informed of what you're working on, with your tasks going to the correct approver every time. One shared space with over 400 app integrations means communication has never been easier, no matter where you or your team are based. And Wrike's Automation Engine allows you to streamline your processes and automate the time-consuming admin tasks that, when tackled manually, can easily be done incorrectly. Try it out for yourself with a free two-week trial.
It’s Monday morning. You’ve got leftover tasks on your calendar from last week, an inbox full of new requests, and team members who need marching orders for the day. How do you get on top of it all and manage daily tasks in an efficient way? Enter daily task management. You’ll be cleaning up your overdue assignments and starting fresh with an actionable plan to delegate, manage, and execute your aligned to-do list for work before lunchtime. The process of managing your daily tasks can be tricky, especially when you’re leading an entire team through more than one complex project. The good news is you don’t need to be a productivity expert — or develop superhuman habits — to come up with a successful plan for tackling your day-to-day tasks. You just need to learn these top tips to manage your daily tasks. What are the benefits of daily task tracking? There are many benefits to daily task tracking, ranging from achieving benchmarks to saving valuable resources. Here’s a closer look at some of the top advantages. Stay aligned with goals It’s easy to get distracted by shiny object syndrome. Identify how and why your team members or fellow managers deprioritize current projects for new ones. You can also use daily task tracking to evaluate your day-to-day functions versus the outcome they’re supposed to achieve. Identify non-essential tasks At the start of each new workday, take a few minutes to review your project and task lists and see how they can be simplified. Then, challenge yourself to cut down half (yes, half!) of those tasks to only the ones that directly impact your goal. Then, try to cut it even further a couple of days later by delegating, outsourcing, or rescheduling them from your project management tool. Become more accountable Document expectations of yourself and others by assigning tasks where everyone can see them. Automate reminders to save time on following up if things fall behind. And make sure your team knows that communication is important, and there’s no shame in asking for help, reassigning obligations to those with lighter loads, or simply finding a way to reprioritize tasks if goals change. Improve task estimates Use software that tracks time for specific tasks. Look at your results over time and adjust to meet the average amount next time you assign a similar project. Remember that additions such as breaks, waiting for third-party feedback, and other related actions will impact the work itself. Say goodbye to multitasking According to the Harvard Business Review, a work environment that fosters flow will generate five times more productivity than multitasking. Assigning tasks with a singular focus will not only get them done quicker, but it will also make daily task organization that much easier. Add self-care into your schedule It’s important to keep in mind that even if we are very motivated and eager to accomplish goals, the fastest way to achieve them is by taking great care of ourselves, so we can perform at our best. This means creating tasks entirely dedicated to self-care. Even if it doesn’t feel productive to take a break from work, acknowledging that our work lives are a marathon and not a sprint will go a long way toward accomplishing even more than you could without it. Start by incorporating 10-minute breaks every hour, taking a full lunch every day, and setting aside at least a few minutes at the beginning and end of every day to reflect on where you are and where you’re going. What is the best way to manage daily tasks? There is more than one way to manage daily tasks. However, productivity experts, researchers, and students of self-help bestsellers all agree on the following practices for managing your daily to-do list. Prioritize your tasks There are lots of ways to think about prioritization. Some people use the urgent and important model. Others rely on the idea of effort versus benefit. However you choose to do it, finding a methodology for decision-making that you like and sticking to it will go a long way towards prioritizing your tasks. Focus on one task at a time Getting the most out of your time is a basic concept of productivity. However, multitasking and other factors can slow you down. Single-tasking can help you focus on the things that really matter. It can also help you get into a state of flow. While it might seem boring to work on one thing for a long time, limiting your focus can actually help boost creativity. When you’re single-tasking, it allows you to explore new ideas and paths. It also helps you find the results that you may not have even thought of. Also, people who spend their days working on various tasks need long periods of time to recharge. Single-tasking allows them to feel free and end their work sessions feeling refreshed and more successful. Set time limits Having a set of time limits on projects and tasks helps you keep track of your availability. For example, if you want to work on a project for 10 hours this week, then you need to find a way to schedule 10 hours to finish that project. But if you limit yourself to five hours, you’ll likely find productive shortcuts that allow you to stay within those parameters. Having a limit on how many hours you can work each day also helps prevent you from overextending yourself. Communicate Chances are, the tasks you manage on a daily basis either directly involve or impact at least one other person. One of the best ways to keep everyone in the loop is by scheduling regular face-to-face meetings. These are usually a group or one-on-one session, and they can help you identify areas of concern or improve the way you support your team. However, it's also important to make sure that the meetings are productive and that the quality of communication is maintained. One of the best ways to improve team communication is to keep track of all of your conversations in real time. Doing so will help minimize the chances of losing valuable ideas and resources. If meetings aren’t needed or possible, given everyone’s busy schedules, it’s important to keep communication organized and easy to reference. You can accomplish all of this by simply using a project management tool that enables you to create notes, loop in other collaborators using @mentions, and tie directly back into task details. This can be done through a shared digital document. But for more complex projects, you’ll want to use daily task management software to scale your efforts and unlock other productivity hacks. Take breaks between tasks Focus on the frequency and quality of your breaks while managing daily tasks. The number of breaks you need and when will vary from person to person and can be affected by a variety of factors, including your health, sleep quality, and work environment. Make sure you learn how to observe your own energy levels and develop realistic expectations for yourself. When you’re on a break, consider what activities you will or won’t allow yourself to do. For example, checking a work email while on a break doesn’t really give you the chance to pause and step away from your computer. Actions such as taking a walk, brewing a cup of tea, or simply turning off electronics for ten minutes can greatly reduce fatigue and help you be productive the entire workday. Look to delegate when needed Being a leader means that you can’t do everything yourself, so delegating is very important. Delegating isn’t just about lightening your load. If done correctly, delegating your daily tasks when needed can help build trust and develop your team's skills. It can also help you better identify, hire, and train the ideal individuals to tackle projects. This also helps prepare employees for future responsibility and further develop their skill set for their career long-term. If the tasks you want to delegate are unskilled or can be done by anyone who has the time and basic information, consider hiring a virtual assistant or freelancer. If you’re hesitant to propose this given your current department budget, consider the opportunity costs of continuing to do this particular task. Is it keeping you from the tasks you were specifically hired to do? Are there more effective uses of your time? Reflect on these questions to determine whether outsourcing is right for you. Features to look for in daily task management software Daily task management software can help you manage the complexities of leading a team and organizing more than one project at a time. Here are the must-have features to look for in your next purchase or trial. Subtasks Subtasks are all the actions needed to complete a given task. One of the first steps in adding subtasks to your daily project to-do list is adding or highlighting all the tasks that represent a single step. This umbrella of smaller tasks represents the true time and resource budget you’ll need to complete the larger task. For example, you may be working on a blog article. If your to-do list simply says write a new blog article, you’re missing out on other key steps, such as performing keyword research, outlining the blog article, assigning the blog article to team members, setting a due date, linking the outline to the blog article task, reviewing the blog article draft, and preparing to publish the blog article. If you’re not sure whether you need subtasks for a particular action item, your team can decide what is or isn't a single-step task based on what they have done or don't have time to prepare. Once you’ve gathered input from your team members who have specific knowledge of the task, you can then do additional research to determine the exact time it will take to finish. After going through the list of single-step tasks and sub-tasks, make sure that the list doesn't include any tasks unrelated to the main project goals. Doing so will help keep the list organized and prevent the overuse of subtasks. Collaboration Today, more people are working from home and using collaboration tools that allow them to work seamlessly from anywhere. With a daily task management software, you can create a secure environment for your team to work together. Cloud storage allows you to organize and store all your documents. It also allows you to keep track of all your conversations. Top daily task management software will even allow you to create custom-form requests that help you to complete tasks faster. From there, you can also keep track of all the details of your process, such as milestones and reports, while seamlessly collaborating with the rest of your team and stakeholders. Sharing facilities Collaborating on documents, sharing files to those who need them, and getting approval on work completed can be challenging if there isn’t already a system in place for sharing facilities. That is why having the ability to share ownership of tasks is so important. Sharing facilities makes it easier to communicate with relevant team members, save time on manual data entry, and keep everyone in the loop in real time. This is especially important for work that requires at least one other person’s input, assistance, or approval in a timely manner. Instead of wasting time asking for file access, updating permission settiings, and guessing file names, your team can easily communicate with one another through a central shared platform. Time tracking Time tracking makes it possible to properly estimate and record the time it takes to complete a given action. This is great for planning out your work for the day, providing accurate cost estimates for clients, and prioritizing projects. Some daily task management platforms allow you to track all of your work within the platform. Count your hours and minutes more accurately as you go about your day. Add a time log entry or start a task timer while you’re at it. Automate when your timers stop or start to keep you on task. Typically when you start using the timer, it will continue running until you stop orstart tracking another task. In daily task management software tools such as Wrike, it will also continue running if you close your browser window. And when you start tracking the time spent on a task, leading solutions such as Wrike will display an Activity Streams entry that indicates that you've started working on it. A clock will appear at the top of the screen that shows how much time you've spent on the task. Limit yourself to one timer for one focused task. If you need to keep your place but switch tasks, Wrike offers multiple time tracker options to save your spot and return to it later. Free templates We’ve saved the biggest and best productivity benefit of daily task management software for last: free in-app templates. Wrike and other leading solutions offer free templates for everything from complex project management in phases to Kanban-style management to marketing calendars. Using a template developed by experts will save you time trying to reinvent the wheel whenever you get a new project. It will also make coming up with and delegating related tasks easier since they’ll already be preloaded on the template. Why use Wrike as your daily task organizer? Wrike is a daily task management tool used by team leaders and project managers. With its ability to create, assign, and manage ongoing tasks, Wrike is an obvious choice for a daily task organizer. Unlike other daily task organizers, Wrike offers the ability to improve communication and collaboration through a number of highly detailed yet simple-to-use features. Here are just some ways successful brands have used Wrike to streamline even their most complex to-do lists. 1. Automate data entry Once a task is added to Wrike, users can create and attach custom tags. These tags automatically sort tasks into related folders and project categories. Instead of manually searching for related tasks within one long to-do list, team members can see tasks related to them in their own workspaces, individual projects, or anywhere else they’d intuitively expect to see them. 2. Make requests seamless Requests coming in from other sources such as the sales department or even clients can overwhelm your team if there isn’t a system in place to prioritize and assign them. In Wrike, users can master the art of balancing ongoing work with new tasks without skipping a beat. There are many ways to do so, which means you can pick the one that works best for you and your unique team. From custom workflows to request forms, it’s never been easier to stay on top of new or conflicting initiatives. 3. Stay on top Wrike makes it possible to monitor and manage everything task-related. That means viewing individual team members’ progress, task roadblocks sorted by project or department, potential missed deadlines you can problem-solve ahead of time, and even billable hour usage. Whatever you need to see, Wrike will make it visible to you. 4. Get useful reminders Swap the sticky notes for reminders sent when and where you need them. Wrike gives users the option to add a Chrome Extension, which will automatically notify you about upcoming deadlines or tasks due that day. You can also have Wrike send you an email with a breakdown of the day’s work every morning so you can get stuck in right away. 5. Kick-start action Wrike also offers team leaders and managers the power of project templates. Whether it’s one of our many effective pre-made templates ready for you to use right away or one you’ve customized yourself, Wrike helps turn project plans into actions that much faster. Manage your daily tasks with Wrike Plan out goals, tasks, and subtasks every day with Wrike's project management software. Begin with our library of customizable templates, which come pre-populated with everything you need to get started. Custom project dashboards, automated reminders, and detailed task description options will help you start every day off on the right foot. And when you’re ready to check off the boxes? Wrike will be there to support you when you create your next series of to-dos. Want to supercharge your productivity? Get a free two-week Wrike trial to see how easy collaborative project management can be.
One of the most effective ways to attract new leads and build brand awareness is through content marketing. Developing and publishing content on a regular basis is very important to ensure that you get the most out of your efforts. Depending on the size and nature of your team, the best way to manage your content creation process is through a consistent and organized calendar. In this article, we’ll discuss how a content brief can help reduce the amount of time spent on various tasks and projects, as well as what else you can do to scale your team. Keep reading to discover what a content brief is, why it’s important, and how to write one. Then, explore a real content brief example, along with tips on how Wrike can help. What is a content brief? A content brief is an important document that marketing departments and agencies use to tell writers and collaborators what they should do when creating a specific piece of content. It can be used to communicate the direction a piece of content should take, as well as optimize website messaging, pinpoint sales funnel targets, and support keyword strategies. What is an SEO content brief? A good SEO brief is a document that helps writers understand the purpose of their content and what should be included in it in order to rank higher in search results. These details should include primary keywords, secondary keywords, internal links, headers, alt tags, metadata, and anything else writers and editors should know when creating the final piece. Why are content briefs important? A content brief is a must-have for writers before they start working on their first draft. It helps them identify what they should focus on and what they should avoid in order to create better content. Here are some of the key benefits of using a content brief: They solidify your strategy Content briefs outline what you’re writing, but, more importantly, they also explain why you’re writing it in the first place. This affects the tone, intended audience, call to action, and many other important aspects of the piece. They save time and money Detailed content briefs make it easier for teams to assign and track requests, as it eliminates the need for back-and-forth emails. It also allows them to stay in sync with their projects and work seamlessly across different time zones. They keep allocations organized Including details such as project scope within the brief for each new piece keeps freelancers on track time- and budget-wise without going overboard and charging extra down the line. They help writers be creative A great content brief will give the writer both direction and inspiration. Examples are helpful in sparking creativity. They ensure deliveries and deadlines are met Content briefs clearly outline when first drafts, notes, edits, approvals, and publications are all due. This keeps the entire team on the same page. How to write a content brief: What to include No matter what type of content you’re creating or what strategy you’re going for, you’ll want to include each of the following: Article title: This is the name of the blog post or other piece of content. It should include your primary keyword. Subtitles or headers: This will point the writer in the correct direction and incorporate some more keywords. Target audience: Who will read this piece of content? Add their job title and what they are likely most interested in learning about within this topic. Article funnel stage: This refers to the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel, aka, the buyer’s journey. The funnel stage should directly impact the perspective of the piece. Synopsis: A two- to three-sentence description or summary of the piece will go a long way towards making sure your writers understand what you need. CTA guidance: If you have specific links or ideas for what you’d like readers to do after they finish the article, that information goes here. Even a general idea will help your writers. For example, even if you don’t have a specific case study in mind, you can ask your writers to find a relevant one to include. Word count: This is the range or total number of words the writer should hit within the piece. Blog strategy experts recommend a minimum of but longer-form posts in the 1,000-2,500+ word range perform best. Helpful research links: Articles you want the piece to be modeled after or ones the piece is competing with should go here. Website or client guidelines: There may be specific requests or requirements depending on where the piece will be published, so make sure to include those too. Deadlines: Make a note of each of the following due dates: Keyword research Outline First draft Notes (if any) Revisions Approval Publication SEO content brief template: extras to include If you want to win Google’s featured snippet placement or simply rank higher than your competitors, you’ll need to include each of these: Meta title and description Meta descriptions and title tags are parts of HTML code that help search engines understand a web page's content. These are usually shown whenever a page appears in search results. Link suggestions (internal and commercial) Linking to pages on your own company’s website as well as third parties strengthens SEO by building further connections to other relevant articles and pages. This is very helpful for search engine algorithms that will want to better understand how to place your article when ranking for certain phrases. Relevant keywords and volumes Keywords also help build out the full picture of what your article is about. Their volumes represent the number of times a specific keyword has been searched for within a given timeframe and may indicate its value to your audience. Competitor research What are competitors saying about this topic? How does your brand agree or disagree? And, most importantly, how can your article be better than theirs? Redirect information (if relevant) A web page can be made available under multiple addresses by using a technique known as URL forwarding. When a browser tries to open a page that has been redirected, it displays a different page with a different address. Content brief example This content brief example is what we’ve used to create the post you’re reading now. Here is an outline along with an explanation of each item: Article title How to Create The Perfect Content Brief Article URL This is the web address the post will go to when live. Title tag This tag will appear at the top of our webpage. Meta description When searching for our chosen keywords, this information will pop up underneath the title in search engines. Article synopsis/purpose Here, we discuss which keywords we’re supporting, what we’re trying to do with the article, and what readers should gain from it. We also discuss which products or services to highlight, if any. Article goal This clear and measurable goal gives the piece more direction. Audience Here we use a bulleted list to outline the job titles of our intended readers Funnel Stage This is where we pinpoint which stage of the funnel we’re targeting Useful research links These links make it easier to quickly find relevant information on the topic(s) Prospective word count We use a single number or range. Draft date due Add your date here. Publication date Add your date here. Primary keyword This is where we put the word or phrase along with its volume. Primary keyword current ranking If our brand is already ranking for this keyword we’ll put that number here. Ranking URL If we already have a post ranking highly for this target keyword we’ll note the URL. Secondary keywords This list includes supplementary keywords and their matching volumes Inflexible H2s & H3s Here we organize our chosen headers in list form. H2s go in the first bullet point. H3s, if any, go in the indented bullet point. Internal link options to commercial pages List any relevant landing pages for the article. Internal link options to supporting pages These links are relevant to the topic and may provide additional information readers would like to know. How to create your own content brief template Step 1: Create a document draft Start by creating a document your writers and editors will have access to. Copy and paste a content brief example like the one above or create your own. Your marketing project management solution may also offer in-platform templates for content briefs. Step 2: List requirements Next, double-check all included content. Is there anything else the writer may need to know before they begin? Are there any additional sections you need to add so that the brief aligns with your greater content strategy? Step 3: Add in strategy components Then, begin to fill in the gaps. Collaborate with your SEO and editorial teams to get it done by the assigned deadline. Make sure they have completed their work before you get started with the brief, that way, it’s good to go soon after creating it. Get sign-off before handing it over to the writer. Step 4: Get notes and revise Finally, be sure to test out your template and make a point to review its performance over time. Ask all collaborators for their feedback, then apply their notes to the next version of the content brief template. You may find that there are sections you can trim, saving time in the process, or, you may discover more information is needed. Adding these sections to your content brief template now will save time on back and forth questions, additional revisions, and missed deadlines in the future. Why use Wrike for content strategy and content brief creation? Wrike is a project management tool that makes it easy for marketers to plan and execute their content strategies as well as create winning content briefs. Besides offering a holistic planning tool, Wrike has many highly effective templates, including the editorial calendar template. If you're a content agency or writer interested in project management, this template can help. The goal of this template is to create a pipeline that will allow you to regularly produce and publish new content. It will also help you create a consistent and comprehensive content plan. Not only does this aid in managing all of your requests, but it also keeps track of your schedule. It can even help you accelerate approvals and manage capacity. For example, if you’ve got incoming requests from internal stakeholders, you can capture and manage them all in one place. You can invite feedback from external collaborators right within the platform itself, making this solution fully scalable — an important quality for the high demands of content marketing management! And because there is no “one size fits all” solution to content marketing, Wrike has made its editorial calendar template completely customizable. With the help of custom workflows, you can easily create and manage a variety of tasks and projects. A custom workflow will also help you organize all of the different stages of your content. This allows teams to track all of the important details of each content asset, distribution platform, and intended sales pipeline. You can add various fields to any content brief or request form, such as the client’s name, the budget, and the due date right in the template itself. After a request is submitted, your team members can click "Add Assignment." You can then choose an appropriate team member to manage the task. Adding a new task to this template is as simple as clicking the + button and making sure that it's placed in the appropriate folder. The Wrike content plan template also comes with pre-built dashboards that will allow you to monitor the progress of your content. These can be used to choose which posts to promote where. The template can also be used to determine which content you want to make more or less of in the future. We recommend using our tool to plan and get approval on your next marketing budget with figures based on real data from your past projects obtained through Wrike. Aside from the publishing calendar, Wrike also comes with a variety of project management tools that will allow you to manage all of your content. Wrike offers a content management platform that simplifies content strategy and content brief creation. This includes everything from writing copy to storing visual assets to running reports to see which content is most effective. In addition to developing effective content strategies, Wrike’s digital marketing tools can improve a brand’s marketing as a whole. Consistent, high-quality content can help boost brand messaging and improve customer experience. And having a platform to manage it all can help resolve the many requests that come from various parts of the business. Having a consistent way to capture and manage all of your requests can help keep your other content plans running smoothly. Here is how Wrike’s team uses our platform for content strategy and content brief creation: Organize initiatives through individual calendars. With the ability to create individual calendars for different content types, Wrike allows our teams to manage their schedules more effectively. It can also help them identify potential conflicts between projects and tasks. Keep everyone on the same page. The ability to share Wrike's calendar with other departments makes it easier for teams to work together on projects. For instance, if a blog is scheduled to launch before a new product is released, the team can easily see the status of the blog. View accurate project updates. One of the most challenging tasks for teams is keeping track of the status of their tasks and projects. With Wrike's custom workflows, they can easily see the status of their tasks and projects at a glance. Break incoming requests down into actionable steps. Project steps are outlined during the content request phase. In order to create a submission, an employee must first decide if the content will need to be written, edited, and/or proofread. After gathering all the necessary information, the requester is then directed to a page that provides a variety of questions that will help them choose the type of content they need. Save time updating calendars. Wrike teams also use automation features within the platform. The first step in creating content is to create a Wrike task. This allows our teams to keep track of all the details related to their projects and tasks. As a result, Wrike Calendars automatically update with the latest plans and schedules. Track project details you care about most. With the ability to create custom workflows, Wrike's content operations process can help teams keep track of all their tasks and projects. These features can help keep the details of the projects and tasks in order. Get a bird’s eye view of all active projects. The team can also use a dashboard to keep track of all the progress of the tasks. This feature can help keep the team members focused on the tasks that are most important. Next steps: Put your content strategy to work with Wrike Now that you know how to write a content brief, it’s time to decide how you’ll organize your strategy with the entire team. Use Wrike’s two-week free trial and input all of your briefs and related tasks into one clearly organized and easy-to-reference calendar the entire team can use to visualize your content strategy.
Social media management is the process of planning, creating, publishing, and monitoring content on one or more social media platforms. Social media management is quite complex, often involving multiple strategies and channels. In addition to learning the basic best practices, social media managers must also stay up to date with trends, continuously monitor reports for improvement, and organize their project plans in a way that makes it easy for their team to follow every day. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn more about social media management and the tools you need to succeed. Keep reading to discover everything the modern marketer needs to know about winning the game of social media. Social media management explained Social media management strategy is a process that involves analyzing and developing a strategy tailored to the business goals of each individual client or brand. It involves monitoring social media conversations, creating and distributing content, and measuring and reporting on the effectiveness of the strategy. If you’re interested in becoming a social media manager or strengthening your skillset, this guide is for you. Why is social media management important in 2022? In 2022, social media will continue to be an integral part of any company's strategy. It can help them reach their goals and connect with their customers. Social media marketing management allows you to build and manage all of your brand's components through engaging content that connects with audiences. It also produces higher ROI for paid and organic advertising online. With the seemingly never-ending rise of social media, businesses can now reach out to their potential customers wherever they are, as long as they understand how to do it. What is a social media manager? Social media managers are responsible for developing an overall strategy and managing a variety of online activities. Their primary goals include driving sales, helping customers, and developing effective campaigns. What does a social media manager do? A social media manager is in charge of representing a company's brand across multiple channels. They can respond to comments and create content. A social media manager may help organizations improve their online presence or even build their following from the ground up. What skills do you need to become a social media manager? Social media managers need to be skilled at creating engaging content, backend platform analytics tools, and keeping up with the latest social media trends. While there are countless other skills, these are the main ones you need to succeed. How can you become a social media manager? There are opportunities for social media managers in companies, although many choose to freelance and start their own agencies. What are the most prominent social media platforms for businesses? At any given time, there are usually one or two social media platforms that people generally consider to be the most popular. But no matter what’s trending, businesses in 2022 can count on using each of the following tools as part of their strategy: Facebook Facebook allows you to post text and photos, as well as videos and pictures from your business. This can be very powerful for communicating with your customers and potential customers. Facebook demographics In January 2022, it was revealed that almost 10 percent of Facebook's audience was made up of women between the ages of 18 and 24. The platform's biggest demographic group was men between the ages of 25 and 34. Perks of marketing on Facebook Facebook is a massive social network that has more than 3 billion active users. It can be incredibly effective if you use it the right way. Take advantage of its reach, the wide variety of features you can use to interact with users (think groups, pages, etc.), and paid advertising options. Challenges of marketing on Facebook Getting a Facebook page up and running requires a lot of time and effort. Like any social media account, you may also need a dedicated staff member to manage the page and create engaging content. But Facebook specifically has more complex and in-depth uses which require someone who is knowledgeable and willing to keep up with their ever-changing rules. For example, even if your business page has been up for more than five years, you may still run the risk of losing it because of new violation terms, and there is little to no recourse when this happens. LinkedIn LinkedIn is a great way to connect with like-minded industry experts and symbiotic brands that fuel your brand’s network. It's also a great way to market your company and attract new talent. LinkedIn demographics Almost 40% of LinkedIn's global users are between 25 and 34 years old. The platform's 35- to 54-year-old age group is responsible for 30% of its total user base, while the 18- to 24-year-old group accounts for 24%. Perks of marketing on LinkedIn LinkedIn is a powerful marketing tool that enables you to connect with a community of professionals and drive actions that are important to your business. Use it to promote your brand and attract followers. Challenges of marketing on LinkedIn LinkedIn rewards longtime users, so it may be hard to get traction at first. You may even find that a competitor is already dominating the space, which means you’ll have to alter your approach in a way you wouldn’t on other platforms. Instagram Instagram is a great tool for businesses to boost their brand awareness and build and track their audience engagement. It can also help them find new customers and develop effective marketing strategies. Instagram demographics According to a report released by Instagram in January 2022, over 17% of the platform's users are men. More than half of the global population is aged 34 years or younger. Perks of marketing on Instagram Having an Instagram business profile gives you the tools and functionality you need to run your business efficiently. It includes features such as analytics, call-to-action buttons, and third-party integrations. Challenges of marketing on Instagram Bots, growth, and finding the best posting schedules are the main challenges of marketing on Instagram. They all require time and effort to master since there is no one size fits most strategy. Twitter With Twitter, you can stay up-to-date with the latest news and events happening in the world. It's also a great way to build brand awareness and improve your public reputation. Twitter demographics In 2021, the global audience of Twitter was composed of over 35 million users aged 25 to 34 years old. The second-largest demographic on the platform was users aged 35 to 49 years old. Perks of marketing on Twitter Twitter is useful for customer service and community building. You can also use it to grow your brand voice. Challenges of marketing on Twitter It's hard for new users to figure out all of Twitter's tricks and nuances, especially since it has so many little-known details. In addition, the platform is based on a 280-character limit which makes it incredibly short-form. TikTok TikTok helps businesses of all sizes create and manage their ads, promote their brand, and increase their follower count. TikTok demographics In the US, 25% of TikTok's active users are aged 10-19. There are also 22.4% of the company's active users in the U.S. who are aged 20-29. Perks of marketing on TikTok TikTok is a great tool for businesses to create effective and engaging advertisements that will make their brand popular with the masses. With this app, you can design and create branded challenges that will allow users to participate, among many other opportunities for engagement. There are also great TikTok ad opportunities. Challenges of marketing on TikTok Getting noticed on TikTok can be hard, especially if you're not experienced in video editing. You’ll have to get used to shooting hours of content only to edit it down into a logical story using the tiny in-app editing features available through your phone. Your videos may also be seen by the “wrong side” of TikTok and receive more hate than love, depending on your brand or product’s political affiliations. YouTube If you're looking to improve the effectiveness of your video marketing, then planning a YouTube marketing strategy is a great place to start. It can help you reach a wider audience and increase your traffic. YouTube demographics According to data sourced from Statista, the total number of YouTube users is 53.9% male, while 46.1% are female. This data is based on the company's reporting structure, which supports both male and female users between 16 and 64 years old. Perks of marketing on YouTube YouTube is a vital part of any company's marketing strategy. It's easy to upload and import video content, which makes it an ideal tool for any business. Online video marketing is also a unique opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses. Challenges of marketing on YouTube Getting into the YouTube space is a long and hard journey. There are many steps that you need to take to create and publish a video, let alone make sure it is seen by your target audience. Creating a successful YouTube channel requires a lot of hard work and consistent dedication long term. Snapchat With Snapchat, marketers can reach out to their audience in real-time. It's a great tool for storytelling and local campaigns. Snapchat demographics As of January 2021, Snapchat’s female users make up more of its population than male users, with women aged 13 to 17 accounting for 11.8% of the platform's total audience globally. Perks of marketing on Snapchat According to a study conducted by Snapchat, adding commercial content to your campaign can help boost promotional results. It found that the addition of these ads doubled the lift across the funnel and increased awareness of the Discover brand’s content. Challenges of marketing on Snapchat The platform skews toward younger audiences and is based on the concept that the content disappears shortly after being shared, which means marketers have to tailor their marketing plans to these two factors. Social media management tips to live by No matter which platforms you use, there are several tried and true best practices you can follow that will optimize your campaigns. Conduct competitor research Before you start working on your online presence, it's important that you identify and organize all of your competitors. This will allow you to evaluate their current state and how they're doing in terms of their online presence. You'll want to look for both direct and indirect competitors. A direct competitor is a business that offers the same product or service to the same customer base as yours. An indirect competitor is a business that sells products and services to a different customer sector. Having a good understanding of your indirect competition helps you identify areas of potential growth. Audit your current social media performance Start by reading each profile with fresh eyes. Open your backend analytics and data tools. What goals did you originally set for this platform? Assess whether or not those have been reached and why. Keep in mind that as you continue to manage your brand’s social media, you will learn a lot along the way, meaning your old goals may become irrelevant as you better understand the platform and your audience as a whole. You can also compare your profiles to your competitors’. What do they have in common? What are they doing that you aren’t? How do their statistics align with yours? Make a note of all of this. Also, be sure to see whether or not they are engaging in influencer marketing and if it makes sense for your brand to do so as well. If your audit reveals some weaknesses or poor performance, that’s okay — simply conducting the audit in the first place puts you ahead of the game! Set realistic SMART goals One of the most effective ways to make goals more powerful is by using the SMART mnemonic. There are many variants, but the main one is usually: S - Specific It’s clear and detailed. For example, setting a goal to get 100 more Twitter followers is more specific than “getting more followers on social media”. M - Measurable It usually has a quantity attached to it. Followers, comments, and likes are all easy to measure and track on social media. A - Attainable Is it actually possible to get 1 million views on your very first-ever YouTube video? Probably not. Instead, conduct research on what is realistic and what isn’t before getting started so you aren’t unnecessarily disappointed later on. R - Relevant Does this goal align with your greater marketing objectives? What about the company’s goals for the quarter or year? For example, you may feel like everyone is on TikTok, so your brand should be too. But take a beat to decide if it’s truly relevant to your needs before you begin allocating valuable time and resources towards it. T - Timebound Make sure you add a due date or time range in which the goal needs to happen; otherwise, you may find yourself and your marketing agency deprioritizing it when other projects come in. Work out a realistic budget The general rule of thumb is to spend about 5% of your revenue on your marketing budget. It may be more for B2B or less for B2C. Make sure your budget includes tools to make the content, a marketing project management tool, and any additional help from third-party collaborators. Know your audience and their platforms Before you start looking for potential customers, it's important to get a general idea of who they are. Your ideal customer is someone who is interested in what you're selling and how it fits into their lifestyle. Gather as many details as possible about them to create a personalized marketing strategy. There are a variety of social media tools that can help you find out more about these people, such as Facebook's Audience Insights tool. You can also plug in all of the information from your personas into your social media platform of choice to create new audience demographics. Also, check the information you already have access to, such as customer service and sales department analyses. Ensure to provide customer support Get to know your audience and build authentic relationships with them over time. Respond quickly and generously to complaints made online. And always take constructive feedback to heart. What is a social media posting tool? A social media scheduling tool is a tool that helps you manage the various posts that you'll make on your social media accounts. It can be used to ensure that you're always up to date with the latest trends and information. Using one in combination with a digital marketing project management platform can greatly improve the efficiency of your campaigns. Top social media posting scheduling tools for business There are many effective tools for planning, scheduling, posting, and analyzing social media content out on the market; however the following brands we highlight here are leaders in the space. Hootsuite Ryan Holmes created Hootsuite in 2008 to manage various social media platforms. Its user interface features a dashboard, which allows users to manage their accounts and connect with other social networks. Buffer Buffer’s goal is to help users manage their social media accounts. This app allows them to schedule posts to various platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as analyze their results. Sendible Sendible helps agencies and businesses plan and manage their social media strategies. It’s especially adept at managing multiple accounts on the same platform. SocialPilot With SocialPilot, digital marketing professionals can easily manage their social media activities. It allows them to schedule and publish posts from their editorial calendar, analyze their performance, and monitor their followers' activity. Sprout Social With Sprout Social, brands and agencies can manage their social media conversations and get the most out of them. What is social media management software? The point of social media management software is to enable organizations to effectively manage and engage with various social media platforms all at once. This means having a space to plan out campaigns, implement strategies, and receive real-time feedback. Working off of spreadsheets alone may work in the short term, but in order to scale faster and more effectively, you’ll need to adopt social media management software. Features to look for in the best social media management tools The following features are ones you’ll use to save time, streamline your social media workflows, and get the most out of your strategy on a daily basis. Scheduling Scheduling refers to content posting. These types of features will automate the posting process so that your content is reaching the right platforms at the right time without having to manually log in and prep pieces. Automation Automating can mean everything from triggering an automatic response to @mentions on Twitter to reposting the same piece of content across all channels at once. Free templates There are free templates for every aspect of social media management including ones for implementing and monitoring strategy. For example, Wrike offers a social media planning template. App integrations Third-party tools can work in sync with your project management solution to eliminate repetitive administrative work, allowing teams to focus more on content quality than data entry. Reporting and analytics These tools allow users to get better insight into what’s working well on their social media profiles and what isn’t. This insight can be used to determine future goals, budgets, and more. Why use Wrike as your social media management tool? Wrike's marketing project management software helps you get the most out of your marketing campaigns. With Wrike, you and your team can manage all of your marketing projects in one place. It allows you to monitor and track your social media campaigns. Here’s how: Centralize communication Break down silos and make collaboration easier. Centralizing communication is a crucial step in making social media management easier for everyone. It also makes it easier to react to developments in real-time. Visualize everything With Wrike, you can get a 360° view of your marketing project. Take a deep dive into individual post-performance or zoom out to see macro views of all your campaigns and omnichannel marketing. Monitor progress Results are the most important thing when it comes to social media management. With Wrike, you can track and communicate with your followers in real-time within one single platform. Align workflows With marketing project management tools such as Wrike, you can improve the efficiency of your marketing efforts and increase the effectiveness of your workflows by viewing where all of your social media projects overlap. This can help your team uncover roadblocks before they happen or reallocate resources on the fly without missing a beat. Customize your dashboard There are many factors that go into making a successful social media strategy for marketing. From the type of team that you hire to the goals that you set, the types of project management tasks you’ll need to do can vary. With Wrike, you can easily create and manage customized workflows that make sense for your team and will help you get more done in less time. Access reports With Wrike's marketing project management features, you can visualize and gather valuable business intelligence quickly. See how your campaigns are performing, which channels are or are not sparking, and whether or not your audience is engaging with your output. Respond in real time Social media moves quickly. With Wrike, your team can automate notifications and see comments made directly on the marketing assets so they can act immediately. This can help cut down on review cycles so you can shorten the time between conception and publication while also improving the quality of your content. It’s also necessary to respond to followers quickly, especially if something has gone wrong. Next steps The best, most successful social media management practices use the right tools and techniques to pull it all off. A project management software can help you organize your goals, teams, and content all in one place. It can also help you analyze and finetune your approach as you go. Discover how Wrike can help you improve your social media planning and execution with our free trial.
A requirements traceability matrix is an integral part of an embedded system's life cycle. It helps organizations ensure that their products are safe and are meeting their intended standards. This is especially important for the medical, technology, and engineering industries. But any business that has a set of goals and standards to uphold can benefit from this proven requirements analysis tool. Here’s how to make an effective requirements traceability matrix and why you should start one today. What is a traceability matrix? A traceability matrix is a document that details the technical requirements for a given test scenario and its current state. It helps the testing team understand the level of testing that is done for a given product. The traceability process itself is used to review the test cases that were defined for any requirement. It helps users identify which requirements produced the most number of defects during a testing cycle. Not only does this show areas in need of improvement, but it also helps mitigate future roadblocks and identify process weaknesses. What is a requirements traceability matrix? A requirements traceability matrix (RTM) is a tool that helps identify and maintain the status of the project’s requirements and deliverables. It does so by establishing a thread for each component. It also manages the overall project requirements. This method is straightforward and can be easily done by anyone. There are many kinds of RTMs. For example, a test matrix is used to prove that tests were conducted. It can also be used to identify issues and requirements during the development of software. What are the benefits of a requirements traceability matrix? An RTM ensures that projects do everything they set out to do. This step-by-step process helps identify the requirements and the products that are required to be tested successfully. It also helps in determining the project's direction and timeline. First, it will support the identification of all requirements in a work product. Then, it will check to make sure there is coverage of all the requirements throughout the project’s lifetime. The RTM will show the requirements coverage in terms of the number of test cases, design status, and execution status. It will also show the UAT status for a specific test case. With all this information at your fingertips, your team will be able to analyze changes in requirements and make informed product development decisions on the fly. And because traceability links artifacts across the development lifecycle, it helps teams identify and resolve issues before they become problems. It can also help avoid the pressure of an audit. And if you do get audited, having an RTM will make it easier to demonstrate that you have complied with regulations which means you can avoid additional expenses or delays the audit may cause. You can even use it to track requirements from compliance regulations in a compliance matrix. That will help you understand what you need to test and develop before the work is finalized. In a nutshell: a requirements traceability matrix makes it easier to meet goals and manage projects. What do you include in a requirements traceability matrix? Create a simple chart with the following columns: Requirements: Add sub-columns for marketing requirements, product requirements, and system-level specifications (if applicable). Testing: Add a sub column for test cases and test runs. Deviation: Add a sub-column for any issues. Requirements traceability matrix example Here is a basic requirements traceability matrix example, including a description of the requirements, their business justification, and the status of the task. How to create a requirements traceability matrix in Wrike The matrix should be created early in the project life cycle to ensure it is up-to-date and incorporates all the details necessary for the project to be successful. A project management tool like Wrike is perfect for tracking, organizing, and assessing every last rule. First, gather your requirements list. Add them as individual projects in Wrike. Assign a due date, priority level, and set of corresponding tasks needed to achieve compliance to each one. Next, each requirement must have a unique and clearly defined purpose. Add these details to the project or corresponding task description so that the assignee fully understands what they are trying to achieve. Then, you can also use Wrike to securely plan for and store related materials. Supporting documents such as test scripts should be prepared ahead of the actual testing process. Simply create a task, set an approver, and add the final product to your Wrike files. Control who sees it with secure sharing. Finally, identify gaps in coverage. If any defects are found during the test cases, then they can be listed and mapped with business requirements and test scenarios. In Wrike, you can assign each one to an individual or team. You can also add an Approver who will sign off on the task once it’s complete. If there are any questions or comments, the collaborators can discuss them right within the task themselves, looping in colleagues using @mentions whenever another POV is needed. If a change request is made, you can view your existing project plans and give an informed evaluation of whether or not it can be done. If the answer is yes, you can then drag and drop project components for a new and accurate timeline. In Wrike, projects with tasks marked as dependent on one another will maintain these connections, so when you move them, you’ll still have all of your necessary components tied together, working uninterrupted. Once your RTM is complete, you can duplicate your processes and workflows in Wrike by creating a template for the ones you plan to repeat. This saves time and adds a layer of standardization that is crucial for meeting requirements. And because the testing process should be clearly defined to avoid any confusion, using Wrike to do so will ensure that it is carried out according to the requirements and time constraints. Wrike provides a secure collaborative workspace to organize, test, and bring all your projects up to speed with your RTM. Ready to streamline your product development compliance? Start today with a two-week free trial of Wrike.
A rough order of magnitude estimate, also known as ROM, is an estimation of a project’s level of effort and cost to complete. ROM estimates take place early in a project life cycle and guide strategy and planning choices. In this article, you’ll learn more about ROM estimates and how they are used in project management. Plus, keep reading to discover examples and how Wrike could be used to assist in creating a template for your own rough order of magnitude. What is the rough order of magnitude? A rough order of magnitude estimate is a general estimate of a project's level of effort and cost. It's usually performed during the selection and approval stage of a project. Generally, it’s used for estimating a project budget that doesn’t have a lot of detail. Project estimating is a vital aspect of project management because it helps determine the total budget for the project and whether or not it’s feasible companywide. It also helps keep track of the project's milestones and budget at the very beginning (more on that later). A rough order of magnitude is most commonly used for project screening. ROM is typically meant to be given to executives who need a high-level overview of how much work might cost. This is especially helpful when they don’t yet have the mandate to do a deep dive into the scope and requirements of the work. Comparing the ROMs of different projects helps identify which projects should be prioritized and which ones should be shelved. It can also help uncover and prevent scope creep later on. This tool also helps decision-makers at other levels of the organization make informed choices regarding the project's complexity and costs. That information is critical for proper scope planning before project kickoff. It’s important to know that a ROM estimate is often used for information purposes at the beginning of a project and it’s suitable for use for the lifetime of the project. How to make a rough order of magnitude estimate Estimating a ROM is often thought of as an art. They are quick to make, but the trick is learning how to make them well. Those who are more experienced in coming up with these estimates may have their own way of executing this process. Regardless of how well you understand the rough order of magnitude, it is important to consider the various factors involved in developing one. These include: A guesstimate range of what resources the project will require based on the information you have on hand Opinions from experts and/or higher-ups who hold a stake in the project A variance of at least -25% to +75% Keep in mind that, when calculating ROM, the goal is to provide a rough estimate that is largely accurate even if it’s not necessarily convenient for your plans. By this, we mean you may find it tempting to choose figures on the more conservative side in order to achieve a more desirable outcome. Unfortunately, using inaccurate stats defeats the entire point of creating the estimation in the first place. Great research can help illuminate areas of your rough order of magnitude estimate where it may be tempting to let bias enter into the equation. All that being said, a ROM estimate's variance is not significant enough to deter you from creating one. A ROM estimate provides a starting point for moving forward in much the same way a budget estimate is also used to determine your base. For example, instead of just presenting single-point estimates, managers should present budgets as a range. Remember: the estimate is derived from the available information. If information is missing, you’ll have to make do with what you do know for sure and move forward from there. In fact, you can expect to improve the estimate as the project moves forward. During the planning and implementation phases, the requirements and information will be refined. As you go along, you’ll learn through trial and error what the reality of the project actually is. Rough order of magnitude techniques One technique for creating a rough order of magnitude estimate is known as a definitive estimate. A definitive estimate is a technique that involves estimating an individual project phase or task's level of effort. Planning with this information upfront makes it easier to plot out workloads on visual charts while keeping your team on the same page. This step typically takes a number of hours to complete, but it is a successful way to get an accurate idea of the time and cost of any project. Other popular techniques and procedures for estimating costs include PERT time estimation, COCOMO, and function point analysis. Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) PERT charts are used to plan out tasks that will take a certain amount of time to complete. They can also be used to coordinate team members. Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO)COCOMO is a regression model that can be used for estimating the various factors involved in tech and software project management. It is typically used for estimating the size, effort, cost, and quality of a project. Function Point Analysis (FPA)Function Point Analysis is a method of estimating a company's clear business significance. It helps in the evaluation, management, and control of software development. When estimating ROM, it is best to try and estimate in buckets of time and costs. Doing so helps minimize the number of, well, numbers that are required to provide a complete and accurate estimate. Rough order of magnitude examples There are two ways to think about estimating ROM. You can create effort ranges or buckets with approximate figures that any task can fit into. Alternatively, you can use historical data to guide decision-making. Here are some hypothetical rough order of magnitude examples: Creating buckets In this example, a project manager will define effort ranges such as small, medium, and large. Within each range is a total number of hours, personnel, and/or budget needed for tasks that fall in that category. For example, a small bucket may indicate that a task will take two to four hours and is relatively simple or affordable to complete. It all depends on the specific project. Here is a very simple example. Let's say you're considering eating a sandwich for lunch. You know that tasks such as spreading peanut butter and jelly onto two slices of bread would fall into the small category — low effort, low time, and perhaps even a single knife instead of two. However, if you noticed that you're currently out of bread and you know it would take 20 minutes to drive to the store, that task would fall into the medium category because it would take considerably more resources to complete when compared to the spreading task. Historical data Historical data means pulling information from past projects. These projects may have similar tasks, goals, or outlines. This information is good to have on hand in your project management solution. You can use data from projects that didn't go as well as you'd hoped in order to refrain from repeating his mistakes. You can also use data from projects that went above expectations to see where you can replicate those choices here. Let’s continue with our sandwich example. You may have found that in the past when you were craving peanut butter and jelly, it was worth it to you to make the drive. In fact, it also allowed you to run several other errands (a.k.a. projects) at the grocery store. Based on this historical data, you may find that, despite the effort involved, the payoff was worth it in the end. So choosing this path again will be profitable. First-hand experience First-hand experience refers to how experienced the person creating the rough order of magnitude is in this particular field, project type, or as a project manager in general. An expert who understands project management will likely come up with a more accurate ROM than someone on their first day of work. First-hand experience is valuable because you have plenty of anecdotal evidence to back up your estimations from other related projects. It's also helpful because it allows planners to be intuitive about the process and consider the people involved. For example, you may find that a particular supplier often experiences delays. Although the supplier representative promises otherwise, you've seen it happen time and time again. Knowing this, you can factor that into your rough order of magnitude. Now we’ve come full circle with our peanut butter and jelly project. You may have learned from first-hand experience that, despite your intense craving for it, these sandwiches aren't actually worth it for you. You may even have regretted eating them right after you finished and wished you’d opted for a turkey sandwich instead. Knowing this, you may draft an estimate that confirms the amount of resources and effort needed will not have the ROI expected and it would be better to not move forward with it after all. This information isn’t something you can necessarily track with a report. It’s simply a memory of what you’ve experienced in the past. Using this knowledge will help you make better, more informed decisions in your ROM with information you can’t find elsewhere. How to use ROM in project management Project estimation techniques help managers identify the most critical elements of a project and provide them with accurate estimates. These techniques can also be used to plan for resource allocation. It is important that you have an estimate in place before you start a project. Without an estimate, you may not know how long it will take or what resources will be needed. Cost is often one of the most challenging constraints in project management. Having enough money to complete the project is one of the most critical factors in managing it. Creating a ROM will help you understand whether or not it’s financially viable before you even begin. Another key component of a project is time. Having the ability to determine the duration of the work and when specific tasks will take place is very important to project planning. By estimating your project schedule, you can arrange for the people and resources that you need when they are needed. It also allows you to set expectations for the clients. You can create a rough order of magnitude for any project. But there are several project management situations in which it may be necessary to come up with a ballpark idea of what resources will be needed: Larger than normal projects where you will need to provide more detailed information about the project Projects that involve teams across different countries where there may be varying costs and exchange rates Projects that are customized to the client or unique to your team where the product or service is innovative and the scope of the project is being managed through Agile project management methods Even if your project doesn’t fall into one of these categories, a ROM can be used to determine whether or not it’s viable. This is helpful when you’ve got limited resources and more than one project to choose between. Using Wrike to create a rough order of magnitude template Wrike is a project management tool that streamlines the process of organizing, creating, and coordinating a rough order of magnitude. First, start by checking for any historical data from relevant projects you’ve successfully completed. All Wrike users have access to their own detailed project reports. If you have historical data, you can go straight to a more detailed cost figure. It will give you a more accurate and detailed estimate. If you don’t, continue creating your ROM. Then, start breaking the big components of the project down into smaller pieces. Some planners use the top-down approach or the bottom-up approach, both of which can be accomplished with the help of Wrike. A top-down estimating technique breaks down a project into discrete phases and tasks. This method works by estimating the overall time for the project, as well as the phases and work tasks that will be completed within that time frame. If a client tells you that the project has to be done in six months, a top-up approach allows you to estimate how much time you can dedicate to each activity within the project. A bottom-up estimate is a technique that works by estimating multiple tasks and aspects of a project. This step-by-step process combines the various estimates into one final project estimate. In project management, orders of magnitude are typically referred to as broad-brush categorizations of sizes. So use a range when adding in timelines for individual phases and expenses. Tip: don’t forget about project costs spent preparing the ROM and the project management itself. This will take up about 20% of your estimated total time allotted to the project. Next, go above and beyond by using Wrike to calculate risk. Project risk is a set of events that could significantly affect the quality or schedule of a project. It can be triggered by various factors such as unforeseen delays, budget cuts, and legal issues. By estimating the risks involved in a project, you can plan for how those risks will affect the project and develop a risk management strategy later on if you feel that the ROM is convincing enough to adopt the project. Tip: If you’re stuck, talk to your finance department to see if they can help you get a better idea of what things cost. Finally, consider what project planning may look like. Project planning for Agile projects is usually done in phases, with estimates being created initially before the beginning of the sprint. These estimates are then updated during the sprint. Estimation can also happen during a sprint retrospective, where you update the backlog based on the outcomes of the previous sprints. It can also be done during the sprint planning session. The project team is responsible for estimating projects and managing the estimates. They are also involved in the development of the project's documents and databases. Having one central hub for all project estimates makes it easier to organize and communicate your vision and ROM results. As you progress through the project, you should start to produce smaller ranges for accuracy. Over time you will reach a cap for each category that is both realistic and attainable. As the project details become more detailed, the accuracy of the ROM estimates decreases until they are no longer accurate. In conclusion The more data you have about your project, the better it is to draft current project estimates. A project estimation tool can help you build up estimates and track against actuals. It can also help you improve your estimates by recording errors and lessons learned. Discover how Wrike can help you improve your planning and execution with our free trial.