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Written by Joe Hutchings

The B2B project management guide

When planning a project timeline, it’s often the sign-off points with key stakeholders that result in the timeline slipping. Holidays, extremely busy schedules, not gaining sign-off in one go from all key contacts, etc. To avoid this, there are a few simple tricks to keep in mind…

  • Take all parties through the timeline in detail on a call or in a face to face meeting to ensure everything is clear 
  • Big projects can span several months so aim to note and account for any holidays/particular times people who need to sign stuff off will be unavailable as far in advance as possible 
  • Check in with key stakeholders on a weekly basis and review the timeline in case anything has changed and adjust accordingly. Make sure to get any changes in writing to allow people to have a reference point to look back on 
  • For important sign off points, schedule in a face-to-face meeting in advance with all relevant members from both sides 
  • As time is precious, where possible double up on sign-off points e.g. timing the copy and initial designs to be ready for sign off in the same meeting

If timelines are tight, don’t underestimate the value and efficiency the planning/research stage can bring to a project. It can seem like a good option at the start to cut this time short to reduce your timeline, but without fail this will come back to bite you and result in a slower less efficient project overall.

Don’t get lost in translation! Pick up the phone. Try and get face time with key stakeholders

No one likes email tennis, and things can often be up for interpretation. This goes for internal communication and third parties. By all means, send an email or brief first, but follow up with a phone call or book in a meeting to ensure everyone understands the plan! 

A five minute phone call could save hours and days of back and forth on email, and a well-timed meeting could save you a month.

Context is king

Being the the person steering the ship, you get a lot of context. You’re on regular calls with everyone involved in the various pieces of the puzzle. It’s easy to forget certain things are in your head which give you context that others may not be privy to. Before diving straight into a brief or taking people through some designs, give them some context as to how you arrived there.

Quick tips & life hacks

  • Get Otter (the transcription app for recording calls, not a shellfish-eating water badger)
  • Use live documents like Google docs. It’s 2023 for Christ’s sake!
  • Use cloud-based storage that everyone has access to. It’s 2023 for Christ’s sake!
  • Follow up calls and meetings with notes and actions within 24 hours 
  • Make sure meetings have agendas in advance so people know what to bring to the party. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail…
  • If you get to a point in a call or a meeting where one of the team is no longer needed, it’s not rude to stop the meeting so they can be excused and carry on – it’s efficient.

The world of B2B can be a bustling, fast-paced blur, but if you ensure you’re taking all the logical steps to take unnecessary administrative stress off your shoulders, your projects will quickly start to feel a lot smoother, and more successful.