Project Timelines for Marketing Engagements: Keep It Realistic

Project Timelines for Marketing Engagements: Keep It Realistic

As a marketing consultant, you know that timing is everything. To keep your consulting engagements on track, you need a good project management strategy centered around a solid project timeline. But as many marketing consultants know from experience, developing and adhering to a timeline can be tough. Many marketing consulting engagements seem to have multiple moving parts – from overbooked team members to shifting marketplace priorities to technology limitations – that can create complications and delays.

Nevertheless, project timelines constitute an important first step in time management planning. More than that, they’re an excellent project management tool you can use to educate your client about how you’re working to keep the engagement on-time and on-budget.

Whatever elements a marketing consulting project may involve, a step-by-step project timeline enables marketing consultants to:

• Accurately report to your client on completed tasks, as well as those that are delayed or coming due;

• Track progress toward the goals of the consulting project, and ensure you’re being paid accordingly

• Pinpoint and resolve potential setbacks before they cause project delays;

• Educate your client early about potential delays, reducing your liability as a marketing consultant;

• Know when to invoice your client as you achieve project milestones; and

• Track the time required to complete the various components of your project, building a baseline that will help you better estimate future projects.

Developing timelines

Creating reliable timelines gets easier over time. At first, many marketing consultants spend hours developing schedules for their consulting projects, only to have unexpected setbacks push the project off-track.

Even if your timeline feels like it’s only a rough estimate, remember that it will still be useful for time management planning. Project timelines give your client a clear picture of how the project should flow, and shows the client that you have a strong grasp on the process required to achieve specific project milestones. Your timeline can also help protect you against marketing consulting liability because you can use it to visually explain to your client the impact of potential project delays caused by factors beyond your control.

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