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Project Management by Alexa Hubley Review

This review is only for 1 course in CXL's growth marketing minidegree. For all the others please head over to the index here

Goal of the course

CXL Institute's Project Management course gave me a repeatable framework to approach project management. I will try to get as detailed as possible for this course. My goal is to maintain an online depository for all the things I have learned at CXL.

Taught by Alexa Hubley

She’s great at what she does. She brought in her experiences from Unbounce and CXL to teach a terrific project management course. She’s super fun and the course though super actionable can be easily completed.

​What I didn't like

My only complain with this course is that they haven’t given us editable templates to work with but there are enough screenshots and slides to help you make a customised plan for yourself from scratch.

The Dangers of Bad Project Management

  1. Problems with Resource: in terms of overworked staff, less output and time-crunch.

  2. Problems with Scope: Are you over-commiting or under-commiting to a project?

  3. Problems with Attribution: Setting vague goals, not able to track KPIs effectively, and not learning what’s working.

Step 1: Set the right objectives

You want to focus on 1-2 metrics per quarter. This one objective is supposed to coordinate people, priorities and processes. Trade-offs need to be made to get to a point of operational effectiveness.

Step 2: Focusing on the people by adopting the DACI framework.

You have 4 roles per deliverable: Drivers, Approvers, Contributors and Informed. Drivers are responsible for keeping people on-track, for collecting the information and for moving the project forward. Approver: There can only be one approver. They make the ultimate decision for that particular deliverable. Deliverables include designing the landing page, setting tracking dashboard etc. Contributors: are people that you need to consult to keep your project moving forward. These could be your frontline staff, users, or research lead from your A/B testing department. Informed: are those people that need be kept in the loop. You don’t need to consult them.

Step 3: Understanding priorities by using these 4 steps

  1. Lookback: Ask 3 questions - what worked/didn’t work, what could be improved and what should be removed.

  2. Deepdive: Make a list of initiatives that you want to undertake. Get all team members to score them on 3 parameters namely importance/urgency, cost/feasibility (ie from a developer standpoint) and effort. Sum all the scores and rank the initiatives to know which ones to work on first.

  3. OKRs: You define 3-5 objectives on individual and team levels. These objectives should be ambitious, qualitative, time bound and actionable. Each objective should have 3-5 key metrics. “Key results should be quantifiable, achievable, lead to objective grading and be difficult, but not impossible.” ~ Alexa Hubel from CXL Institute. You can download marketing OKR templates here.

  4. Datemap: Finally, map all okrs and initiatives in an excel sheet for the quarter. You should have Initiative, Metric, Quarter no., Objective, Key result, and owner assigned. Metric refers to SQL, MQL, Sales, Leads, Awareness. Objectives could be Sales opportunities, Qualified acquisition and processes among others. Key Results used at CXL are New Sales Funnel, Conversion Pathway for users, Positive ROI from PPC, Social Channel growth etc. Then you want to datemap by week. Get the team to sit together and agree on the timeline.

Step 4: Outlining the processes

SPRINT is the framework used to test and validate new ideas at Google Ventures. Sprint’s got 5 steps. Skip reading this step

  1. Map

  2. Sketch

  3. Decide

  4. Prototype

  5. Test

In the Map phase, you set out to research and set targets. You want to eliminate as many assumptions as you can in this phase.

In the 2nd phase, you Sketch by pitching ideas and get everyone on the team to vote on the ideas. You want to be as creative as possible and give the everyone 3 points to place their vote on the ideas.

The 3rd phase in the SPRINT series is the Decide phase. You want to plan using datemaps as mentioned earlier and lay out the scope of each idea.

The 4th phase is the Prototype phase which asks you to build stuff. Teams create their mockups and demo creatives in this phase. Your prototypes don’t really have to be perfect, they just need to be good enough to be tested for.

The 5th phase is to Test your prototype with users (mostly test users). You want to get into testing with a few questions in mind. Some questions to consider thinking about are listed below: Are your users using the prototype the way you intended them to? Is the reaction positive or negative? Are test users motivated to complete action. You can conduct different types of customer interviews to find answers. As a growth marketer and a project manager, you always want to get actionable learnings out of the test phase. You want to be able to answer “How might we do xyz?”. For eg, “How might we accommodate segment ABC into this test since they seem to have been left out?” The third thing to do in the test phase is to prioritise the feedback you received from interviews and “How might we?”.

Your excel sheet should contain the:

  • item (email/landing page)

  • feedback (how might we…get to the point faster; A/B test an element in the LP)

  • feedback givers (your team member)

  • repeats (number of requests you got for that how might we)

  • importance ( scale of 1-3)

  • total score (add repeats and importance) go after the highest scores.

  • assignee (team member to work on this)

  • proposed solution

  • status of the solution (in progress, complete etc)

Step 5: Measure Results

The last phase - is results. See what happens to the metrics set in the map phase. Have they improved, reduced or is their no absolute change? Take this learning forward to your next campaign/experiment.

My review of this course: I actually liked it very much. If you get it in the all-access pass, then be sure to watch it. I went through it at 1.5x speed but there’s lots of interesting stuff that is harder to learn by yourself.

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