I have a terrible habit when it comes to gaming. I genuinely think I’m a good at playing games. This is just not true.

Time after time I find myself playing some video game that requires skill or strategy to progress through to the finish. Quite often I find myself losing a round, a turn, or missing some experience points based on the game mechanics. Struggling to overcome the situation I become frustrated. I become frustrated enough to quit, uninstall, and walk away.

Continue Reading Freedom to Fail

Project Description

After working to rebuild the details of each product, leadership wanted to rebrand the names of each product and plan level (10 names). This also incorporated sunsetting a blog plan level and collecting contact info for those respective clients.

Teams

Company wide initiative – Product, Success Team (Support), Publishing (Marketing), Sales, Senior Leadership

Scope

  • Project Timeline span – 4 weeks
  • Deliverables – Updates to each of the following:
    • Product Pages on main Website
    • Support Center Articles
    • Resource Center Articles
    • Email Macros
    • Support Ticket Fields
    • Sales Sheets / Slide Decks
    • Drip Campaigns / Email RSS Campaigns
    • Contact Forms
    • Invoices
    • Contracts
    • Platform wide backend Dashboard – 1000+ websites
  • Identified Risks
    • Potential for decommissioned plan clients to cancel
    • Existing clients reevaluate current plan offering and lower plan
    • Internal communication confusion that may result in providing incorrect info to clients

Project Narrative

This was the first time I submitted a project proposal with a gantt chart. Previously, the company did not operate on a deadline basis. Past work was completed by individual prioritization. That past workflow would not work with an initiative that had every client touch point to consider.

Figma Gantt Chart used

 

What Went Right

Quick turn-around – Once we got the ball rolling, it took nearly 1 week to have everything updated. There was only a couple straggling tasks that spilled over into week 3. We were also able to make a list of everywhere our product names were listed. This was important in the case we add a new product offering.

No Ghosts – Repeated check-ins were accepted without issue. No one became defensive or failed to reply.

Zero client backlash – We didn’t receive negative feedback from clients. For the discontinued plan level, we only received one reply in acknowledgment. We did anticipate this as we grandfathered them into the plan. This meant they were the only ones that could buy more websites of that plan.

What Went Wrong

Initial Delays – The first phase was the hardest to get down. There was some confusion about the specifics with multiple leadership needing to be consulted. The deadline for the project was moved back nearly 2 extra weeks as a result.

Vacation – Due to the several delays, the project ended up landing in the middle of multiple people’s vacation time. This included myself. Upon returning, senior leadership had made several key decisions regarding the scope of the project expanding into a full rebrand. While it did not affect the overall outcome, it did affect the timeline by adding 2 weeks which was acceptable.

Failure to utilize Project Board – A gantt chart was created using Asana software. While several participants used the board to its full effectiveness, there were several who failed to use it at all. This resulted in them relying on constant check-ins and a failure to prioritize their portion of the work. This was more of a missed opportunity to make up for lost time.

Conclusion

I learned that a rocky beginning can result in people not taking the rest of a project seriously enough. Multiple delays set lower expectations for quality project management.

I also learned that a RACI chart does very little use for straightforward tasks that don’t require feedback. This turned out to be a positive as it meant participants could focus on making updates without the need to consult or inform a multitude of others.

Finally, I learned that my team is incredibly understanding. I laid out when I was going to check-in and when everything was due. I did not get any complaints, defensiveness, or ridicule from anyone in the company. I believe that my constant offer to help also added to the trust and understanding. They knew I was doing my job and that I was also a resource.

Overall, the project went very well considering some of the major time sinks.

The essential infrastructure of the internet has hit a critical juncture via the World Wide Web. The ability to create a web presence is easier than ever with a growing focus at building more faster. In the matter of an afternoon, you can create a blog, social media accounts, and begin posting on anything. Within a couple of days, you can set automations to share, like, retweet, post, email, and syndicate everything you write. Continue Reading Do Digital Lawns Need Lawn Mowers?

I’ve made it a habit to research new topics constantly. My knowledge is my value. I can’t code (read html and CSS just fine). I’m not in an IT/Support role. I’m not an editor or really a writer (even with Teaching of Writing cert.). No, I’m somewhere lacking in all of these areas, but I excel at finding out more information and capturing it. Why?

Because no one likes a PM that states, “Yeah, the devs are doing a thingy to another do-hicky while the designer is doodling. Can you do that thing, you know, where you setup the stuff to make the site work better? That would be great thanks”.

Continue Reading In-between Notes

Fiancé and I just had a s***show of a week dealing with our new faceless landlords. One problem after the other revealed their ugly little heads each day last week as we “moved into” our new residence.

We either received minimal help or nothing at all. The litmus test of a terrible work culture is where multiple people clearly and definitively don’t care. Each person only cared far enough to say, “That’s not my job”. We learned some lessons about searching for a home that we had thought were locked down.

Continue Reading Can you do anything if I complained to you?

Looking through Twitter, I came across an incredibly well timed post by Greg Storey reflecting on another post by Julia Evans.

Honestly, considering where I’ve been with this blog and if I hadn’t known better, I thought they were both writing to me directly!

Just this week I wrote about how I kept coming back to the word “value” and how difficult it was to identify an audience for my blog as a result. As Julia states, “it’s hard to identify which things you know will be useful to other people!”. Yesterday I decided, at a minimum, I could find value for myself.

Continue Reading Struggle

Throughout the day I had moments, pauses really, where I considered what topic I was going to blog about. I had considered some “useful” evergreen topic like “call instead of email your clients”. Snooze.

I had also considered blogging about something from today’s work like “rebuilding forms for portals”, or “learning to structure product backlog meetings”. However, there’s nothing really of value that I can give anyone writing on those topics through this blog.

At lunch, I received an email for a podcast that I’ve been following. Thought it might be cool to recap on Product Management: What is the job, really? – Christian Idiodi, but I can’t imagine anyone that reads this blog would find value from that.

Continue Reading Decisions

I’ve been struggling for some time to write posts. This blog has suffered from a lack of direction since its inception over two years ago. As a result, I’ve allowed myself to become repeatedly stuck. This post is a first step in attempting something new. I want to try writing a post every day. At the very least, I want to make a solid attempt. Continue Reading Building

The Fiancé and I recently attempt to visit a new restaurant for dinner, a hole in the wall Vietnamese place. We were tired, hungry, and unsure about what we wanted. We noticed several people sitting at tables and a person waiting at the cash register. We asked a waitress what the process was for getting food.

She motioned us to a table and brought over menus. 10 minutes later a line had formed at the cash register that was 6 groups long. Our waitress was now engulfed in taking orders, sending tickets back to the kitchen, and charging guests up front. We were now expecting to wait a long time to order and even longer to get our food.

Continue Reading Taking Stock, Talking Process