Six Steps to Success: Step 3- Specify Resources Process and Schedule

Six Steps to Success: Step 3- Specify Resources Process and Schedule
October 21, 2008

This entire 6 Step series is about having a sound process for developing a great multi-media communication. Step 3 is about mapping out who is going to do what, when are they going to do it and who needs to approve it, all before it is actually distributed.

There will be cases where this is an easy answer, you are the content creator and approver. But I have seen plenty of scenarios where the content experts are dispersed, the folks building the slides are in another city, the folks building the PDF are in another group and it all has to be sent to compliance before it can created and then back to compliance after it has been created for a review of the actual finished communication. So my recommendation here is simple. Make a plan to meet your deadline.

Here is a simple process you may find useful.

1. Start with the distribution date.

2. Make your finished content deadline 48 hours before your distribution time. Why 2 days before? Because you need to focus on the details of distribution and do not need to be concerned about content that close to shipping the message.

3. If the presentation needs to be approved: How long will this take? Make a conservative estimation because it is not uncommon that this takes longer than people would hope.

4. Who is recording the audio? How long will it take? You should plan a factor of 3X when it comes to recording. So if the presentation is 10 minutes of recorded audio, then plan for 30 minutes of recording time for your speakers. Build in to your plan a best practice review of the recording and a probable re-recording session. This means that the recording will take a business day in total. By the time it is recorded, reviewed, commented on and re-recorded a day will have passed.

5. Who is writing the script for the slides? This will likely be the longest part o the creation process. Writing a good script is not easy for many presenters. It is a new behavior that requires focusing on the audience and not on the presenter. This is a positive aspect of it for the audience but since it is a new behavior it takes longer than most presenters assume it will. It is an art and not a science but as an educated guess, it will take 3X the length of building a slide.

6. Who is building the slides? Is there other content in need of creation? Videos, question slides, attachments? The answers to these questions will vary greatly, and once you know the answer you will have an accurate timetable of how long the presentation/communication will take to build - review - approve -distribute.

7. Add 50% more time then you projected. If there is one constant, it is that very few people have a sense of how long it actually takes to build quality content. If you are already conservative in your projections, good for you - you are the minority. Most people are over-booked and over-reach and their projects get delayed for a whole host of reasons.

If you try to follow the steps above when creating your project schedule you will be very close to correctly predicting how long it will take to create a quality communication. If you at least consider everything I have mentioned when planning your communication - then you will be far better off than most.

The mantra to remember is this: Plan your work and work your plan.