On a severely hot day in Philadelphia, I was lucky enough to pick the brain of one our top Senior Marketing Mangers within Lincoln Financial. I wanted to paint a clear picture of the processes she goes through daily, and whether she was utilizing all the tools in her bag of tricks. I began with a simple question:
What processes do you interact with in a normal day?
“I interact with a variety of different projects every day, and they all have a different process. Their process will be determined by what type of marketing piece we are creating, making some processes short and others very long. As an example, if we have a brochure for one of our products and we need to get it approved in NY and NJ, which is a completely different process than getting a flyer approved for one of our products in PA. The processes for financial services marketing are severely regulated so we do a lot of checking and double checking within our processes.”
What type of process management tools do you use? Have you used RACI charts as one of your tools?
“I’m not sure what a RACI chart is, but I can explain the step by step process that we normally go through for a project. We can use the flyer example that I spoke about earlier. First, we have a meeting to decide who the audience of this piece will be, and what message we want to get across with our flyer. Once that is determined, we put all the information about the project into our system, and then from there the process starts. The system sends the project to editorial, design, proofreading, compliance, and then back to us to check in with the stakeholders of the project. We get sign off from them and send it off to legal for a final approval. This process can take as little as three weeks or as much as a year, depending on the type of project and how long it takes to create the idea. “
After this particular question I took the time to explain the RACI chart, which left my coworker dumbfounded. She felt that if they were to start using the RACI chart during their kick off meetings for each project, it may shine a better light on who they needed to hold accountable, apparently figuring that out is a current paint point for each project.
When our meeting was over I forwarded my coworker the articles “How Far Should a Project Manager Breakdown a Project”, as well as the “Work Breakdown Structure”, in addition to drawing out and explaining a RACI chart. I feel the main pain points in our conversation were the number of steps that have to be completed per project as well as the lack of accountability within the team, thus adding to inefficient timelines.
Overall, I think this conversation shows that there is always room for process evaluation and improvement, no matter what the company. So, I pose this question, what other types of processes within your company do you feel have room for improvement to increase efficency?