Creating your MustSee guide doesn’t have to be a major operation. Whether you are working on it solo or creating a guide for an organization, I recommend putting together a plan. That way, you’ll have all of your needs thought out before you begin. You will need to manage six major areas to ensure your guide is successfully produced:
- Scope: You will need to define the purpose of the guide, your target audience, the time frame for completion, the budget, assumptions and the roles and responsibilities of the project team. That way, you’ll make sure that all of this is in writing and approved before moving ahead with securing resources. This will help provide clarity among the team to explain the impact of future changes.
- Communications: Making sure everyone on your team knows what needs to be done, why, when and how long and the cost will keep all the other areas on track. Fortunately, with online technology, you can use freemium task management services like Asana, Wrike, Zoho Projects, Trello and AllThings, across your team. It makes communications much easier to share and collaborate. Follow-up is still needed, preferably in person, by phone, or the very least, by email.
- Quality: In the project definition phase of guide creation, you should have defined what level of technical, aesthetic and editorial quality you want. It needs to be agreed upon and in alignment with your timeframe, budget, and ultimately the goal of the guide.
- Resources: For a guide, you may need to find people who are photographers, actors, voice actors, sound engineers and writers. They may be internal resources or people you hire. I highly recommend that, if you are going to recruit externally, you receive a minimum of three different proposals for each position or job. Not only will you get see the price differences, you will learn what advantages and disadvantages there are in the services that are offered.
- Costs: The initial budget should be detailed and realistic, but not inflated. Unforeseen costs will be incurred during the course of the production. Keeping an online real time tracking of the costs as they happen will give the manager of the project and the whole team the ability to re-set expectations and develop alternative methods to manage costs in other areas.
- Schedule: Breaking down the tasks of the guide production into small steps will help you manage them much more easily. Every task should have only one person who is ultimately responsible for its completion, as well as the expected start and completed dates. Having more than one person responsible creates accountability issues that will create off-schedule conditions. Showing which tasks are dependent on each other will highlight potential barriers and a more accurate timetable for completion.
While there are many different ways you can make a guide and many different methodologies to manage projects, these six areas provide the items that you will need to manage to be successful. I will be providing customized templates for these areas for creating guides. They’ll be flexible for you to adjust to your specific needs.
Please let me know your thoughts and lessons learned you have when you have managed creating guides.