Fast-Track Projects: A Useful Guide for Overwhelmed Marketing Teams

The Current State of Fast-Track Project Management

ASAP is a familiar phrase to many marketing and creative teams. Colleagues and external collaborators like to ask for assets to be delivered as quickly as possible. This often means that they set unrealistic deadlines. By assigning multiple projects with tight timelines, you can quickly kill your marketing team’s morale.

Fortunately, there are a few suggestions you can follow to fast-track projects with competing deadlines. Read on if you want to know how to create projects that require speed and efficiency that will not exhaust your marketing team.

What Do We Mean by Fast-Track Projects?

Such projects employ the method of fast-tracking, like the term suggests. Fast-tracking is when you assign a series of tasks that can be completed quickly by nature to your marketing team. Fast track projects, then, are sequences of carefully coordinated and prioritized tasks performed quickly to achieve your business outcomes and deliver assets to your clients in an efficient and timely manner.

In practice, fast track projects are a source of stress and worry for marketers since they are often confused with and implemented as rush projects. Rushing is when you push your team to perform time-consuming tasks in a hasty manner. If the nature of fast-tracking tasks is the opposite of time-consuming, then all the marketing lead must do is know the difference between the two. In doing so, your team will manage just fine, right?

Wrong! How Hidden Requests in Fast-Track Projects Can Negatively Impact Your Team

Fast-track projects often cause significant stress to your team for a different reason than you may think. You see, it is quite common for the one putting in the request to start with a reasonable task. Once your team accepts the task, then the requester will often ask for additional tasks to be performed, which do not fit with the timeline and pace of fast-track projects. Suddenly, tasks that demand a few minutes of work end up requiring hours of your marketers’ time.

Therefore, we think it is crucial that you define what fast-track projects look like in your organization before you accept any work. It will be most helpful if you speak to every department that sends you requests and that you gather their thoughts, ideas, and perspectives. Once you have all the necessary information at hand, you may go ahead with creating a reasonable list of parameters.

Do you perhaps find it difficult to start from somewhere? Maybe you feel unsure of what boundaries to set? This is why we have prepared a list of suggestions that you can use for inspiration below:

1. A maximum number of requests per day, week, month, quarter

2. A maximum number of changes per asset

3. Different maximum number of changes per asset type

4. The option to modify requests, if unclear

5. An urgency system for critical, normal, and casual requests

6. Periods when new requests will not be accepted

7. A specific time window for revisiting assets

8. The ability to send back requests if you need more info

9. The option to refuse requests, if unreasonable

Review + Approval Process for Fast-Track Projects

It is also important to think about the review process for fast tracking work. Fast-track projects should have minimal reviews, if any. You may dictate that you need to approve requested updates in advance before passing them on to your team for implementation. You should also demand that income requests be straightforward in nature. In this way, once your team member has created the assets, they can go ahead and send them back to the requester without the fear of misunderstandings.

Depending on the nature of the work and the team, it may make sense to add a single round of review with just the requester as a mandatory part of the process. Make sure that you have set expectations for the review cycle in the parameters of the project and that you stick to them. In doing so, you secure your team’s well-being, you ensure that you can deliver on your promises on time, and you avoid misunderstandings with clients and colleagues alike.

The Creative Management Series

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