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Josh Alves Josh Alves
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The Marketing Edge - Project management: Santa-Style

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The BIG DAY is just around the corner; are you ready? With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s a busy time as people try to wrap things up (pun intended). If you can imagine, it’s a hectic time in Santa’s workshop as the clock ticks down to go-time, but you know the big guy will be ready.

Your “Big Day” might not be an ambitious globe-trotting, gift-dropping ordeal, but whether it’s a product launch, event, or advertising campaign, we can head to the North Pole to collect a few project management tips—Santa Style.

Make a list

It might seem basic, but most effective methods are reminders of the fundamentals. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail – so get your list together. Write (type) the needs and requirements of your project. Be sure to include tasks, subtasks, etc.  While the classic pen-and-paper method works, for ease of organization, editing, and shareability, creating a digital list is the way to go. There are millions of task apps out there, from the simple Google doc for jotting your thoughts down to a more robust, task-oriented app. (I’d suggest the project management software Santa uses but, the word is, it’s proprietary.)

Check it twice

If it feels redundant, it’s because it is—but it’s also the best way to make sure nothing was overlooked. Check the list again! Better yet, review it with others. Getting another perspective often helps discover details easily overlooked. Input from those who have experience will help you cover things you might have missed and avoid mistakes before they’re made!

Find out who is naughty or nice

This one is particularly specific to Santa’s “gift-or-coal” needs but is an important concept to implement overall. How are your people doing? Talk with them, find out what’s going on. Do the surveillance elves have the equipment they need? Are the reindeer feeling fatigued? Is the head of the trinket department feeling overwhelmed? Having a handle on your team’s status will help you anticipate needs and overcome any potential obstacles to successfully complete your project.

Get helpers

While he gets the majority of the credit, Santa could not do what he does without the assistance of helpers. Whether it’s the elf who sees you as you’re sleeping, the one on the shelf who knows when you’re awake, the talented toymakers, or the “mall Santa” sitting in for Big Red…Christmas is not a one-person operation. But then, no successful endeavor is!

Getting ready for 364 days for a one-night event might sound excessive, but you have to agree the preparation is all worth it. 

(Josh Alves is a graphic designer at Sutherland Weston.)


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