Episode Ten

How to manage projects when you’re the worst PM with Asia Matos

Sep 12, 2018
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Show Notes

In this episode of Workflow, Brian and Asia talk about how to manage projects when you’re the worst project manager.

00:52  Quick intro
02:01  About Asia Matos
06:41  The importance of communication
11:38   Asia's workflow today
22:36  How is workflow different in a marketing department compared to a founder/freelancer
32:08  Asia's meeting rhythms
38:47   Tips for taking action

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Full Transcription

Brian: 00:00 This is Workflow, episode 10. Workflow is the podcast that helps teams figure out the best way to work, collaborate, and get stuff done, brought to you by Rindle. Hey, everyone. I'm Brian and I'm the co-founder of Rindle and this is our podcast, Workflow. Today, we're talking to Asia Matos of DemandMaven about project management and marketing teams. So, Tom is on vacation. I'm running solo. I took the opportunity here to do an interview with somebody else. Asia Matos is a market professional.

Brian: 00:52 She started her own company called DemandMaven and basically consults software companies all around the country and helps with their marketing efforts and had really interesting thoughts about how you manage projects when you're not necessarily a PM. Maybe you're a business owner. Maybe you're heading up a market department in a company and project manager isn't necessarily your strong point. So, how do you go about that? How do you move forward and get stuff going through a workflow and managing tasks and people and things like that? So, it was a great conversation and without further ado, here's the interview. All right. Hi, Asia. How you doing? Welcome to Workflow.

Asia: 01:33 Hello. Thanks so much for having me. I'm super excited.

Brian: 01:36 We're honored to have you. So, I asked you to come on the show, get your perspective on project management. You have really interesting views on how to manage projects when you may be the worst project manager, which I thought was really interesting and could make a really interesting topic. So, let's start off by telling everybody who you are and a little bit about what you do.

Asia: 02:01 Absolutely. So, my name is Asia Matos and I started a company earlier this year called DemandMaven. I basically work with software companies all over the nation and help them with marketing. I am, of course, working with Rindle. I am not going to lie. I've worked with the project managers in the past. I've worked in an IT consulting firm for four and a half years. Now, they're much more of a creative agency. It's interesting just because I've always felt like as a marketer, which has been primarily my career, we really don't think of ourselves as project managers.

Asia: 02:44 But seeing how PMs traditionally work and how they get things done, move projects along, I've learned tons and I have also learned exactly where even I need to improve, need to learn new things about how people manage large scale projects and also small scale projects, especially in the startup where you have to accomplish things every single day, gets things done. Sometimes, there's not enough time to oversee a project in a way that a PM would. But so, I think a lot of what we've talked about, even just working together, is what are some of the things that we can take away? What are some of the things that we can implement, make it smoother, make it an easier process, and what are the things that need to be improved? Which has been really, really fun, actually.

Brian: 03:38 Yeah. I think it's interesting because sometimes, when you're a cog in the wheel and you're part of a team and somebody else has taken those project management responsibilities, you don't really realize all of the effort that goes into running a project and making sure everything's moving along. Then if you start your own company and consultancy and things like that and now you're passed with not only getting things done, but running the projects, managing the clients, doing all the things that you need to do, you realize quickly that, wow, this is a lot. You may not be the best at it and you may not have those skills honed in just because you've been working more as a team member, right? Not necessarily in that lead PM role.

Asia: 04:18 Exactly. Yeah. There's so many different levels too at which we act as a PM. Again, most of us probably don't think of it that way. Most of us think of it like, oh, yeah, we just have tasks and we need to get them done. But when we think about things like product development or when we think about building a marketing campaign, for example, or planning out what the content marketing schedule's going to look like, now the project has solidified a little bit more and even though we don't think of them as projects, the way that we apply that kind of behavior, it matters. It makes a difference. That's something that I 100% recognize and part of what I think we're going to dig into today.

Brian: 05:04 Cool. So, on a scale of one to 10, how would you rate your project management skills now?

Asia: 05:13 I would say I'm probably a six or a seven. Just going to go ahead and be real.

Brian: 05:18 Okay. All right. So, that's not bad. You're above average.

Asia: 05:22 I actually ran a poll on Twitter two days ago asking people how they would rate their project management skills and I would say I'm in the hit or miss kind of category. There are things that are very natural to me to manage from a project perspective and then there are things that are very unnatural for me to project manage. Some of that just has to do with the kind of project, obviously. On the other hand, a lot of it has to do with some of the people that you might be working with. Not saying that people are at fault here.

Asia: 05:56 But the different blends of projects and the different variables in every single one of those, some of them, I'm amazing at and some of them, I'm like, "Wow, there's a lot that I need to understand in order to make this much more smooth." So, yeah. I would say I'm in the six or seven, slightly above average.

Brian: 06:19 So, you mention project types or different types of projects, different people, different scenarios. What else is challenging about, especially now that you're heading up and taking on a lot of responsibility for these projects, what else, if you can round it out, the most challenging aspects of running projects today that you face running your business?

Asia: 06:41 Yeah. The most challenging thing, I would say, if I think about all of the projects that I run as a whole, the number one thing is, surprisingly enough, communication. The reason why I say that is because in any given project, you naturally have a lot of living parts, especially if you're working with a lot of different people at the same time. You multiply those projects by five and now, you're working with tons of different people on every single project at any given time.

Asia: 07:19 Consistent communication, clear and effective communication, and having it be front and center constantly is a huge challenging. You forget to notify people about things. You forget to clarify information. You forget to provide more context or details or information or say yes or say no. This at scale is ... The people who I think are great at this are amazing communication experts. But they're also prompt. It's very fast. That's actually a huge quality that I've identified of what makes a great PM. I used to think it was PMs are just really, really good at checking off tasks. But now, I've realized that it's really much more exceptional proactive communication. That's really what it is. But I would say that's the number one thing, actually, just across all the projects. We get into tools like Slack. Well, Slack helps with that. But I actually find that however you're managing the project, unless there's some kind of Slack integration or whatever your primary communication tool is, unless it's able to talk to that, it actually makes is really, really challenging.

Brian: 08:38 Yeah. I think I can agree with that. From my experience as well, communication is key. I do think that's a core value of a project manager, whether you're officially a PM or you're just heading up a project or taking responsibility or ownership of it. But yeah. I think the tools come into play, but it's also just being diligent and responsible for communication and honing in, like you're saying, the quality of that communication as well.

Brian: 09:06 You don't want to overcommunicate or you don't want to use every tool on the map to communicate with everybody and it becomes annoying and distracting and actually less productive. Right? But you still need to be on top of it. Right? So, I think it's a great perfect balance that you're looking for in the end and I do think today, especially with the technology we have, the tools definitely come into play.

Asia: 09:29 Mm- hmm (affirmative). One of the best PMs I ever worked with was back when I was at the tech consulting firm called ARC, they're actually, they're still around and thriving today, which is awesome. They've transitioned much more into more like full service agency now. But best PM I ever worked with, he was ridiculously proactive about communicating. I remember I consulted on a few different projects while I was there and it was pretty much like a every other day check-in.

Asia: 10:01 Maybe that's aggressive, but it was just like, "How can I help? What do you need? What's going on? What's the status? What can I do to be a vehicle to get things moving?" He was awesome and just 100%, I truly believe it's just because he was so proactive about communicating. It's something I am constantly trying to embody.

Brian: 10:24 Yeah. I think too, people tend to take on as much as they can, especially good team members. Right? They're like, "No. I got it. I got it. I'll take care of this." I think that project managers or anybody who's leading the team definitely wants to help wherever they can. Sometimes, it does need to be probed. Right? You have to be proactive about it in order to get the things off the people's plate or help them along the way in the right areas because I think a lot of people's personalities are, "I don't need help. I want to make sure they know I can do this and do a great job at my job and execute and perform."

Brian: 10:59 So, yeah. I think being proactive and communicating well, again, that combination really lends itself to a smooth running project and you can really implement or be an instrument for everybody to help move things along from that project management level, from that top level.

Asia: 11:18 Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I'm violently shaking or nodding my head like, "Yes."

Brian: 11:23 I'm not watching a video. Cool. So, why don't you tell us a little story. How did you come to this realization? Maybe you could talk a little bit about the process that you're experiencing today.

Asia: 11:38 Yeah. Absolutely. I guess I can take it from the perspective of some of the work that not only do I do just within my own business, but then also specifically for Rindle. So, I am a complete and total marketer in every sense of the word and especially for early stage startups in that you kind of do everything. So, for me, I think I realized this as I was managing the content marketing process.

Asia: 12:10 Traditionally, in any given organization, you have your market department.You might have a head of marketing or a digital marketing manager or something to that effect and you'll have, as you grow and you scale, you'll add on the extra talent that you need to fill in the gaps that the head of marketing, they need to scale themselves, essentially. Then eventually, you'll hire the social media person, the content person, maybe even a product marketer, what have you.

Asia: 12:41 This looks different in a services business. But generally speaking, you've got the person on top and then you start expanding the team out. In a smaller team, what ends up happening is one or two people is doing everything and you might be managing a few contractors, freelancers. I think I definitely came to this realization managing some of the writers that we leverage for some of the content that we produce, including myself. I think the biggest "oh" moment, the "aha" moment for me was we work with a writer that we really, really like right now and after we decide the next four to six week look like from a content perspective, we'll plan that content, we'll plan the titles, the working titles, if you will, the outline.

Asia: 13:39 Then we'll start assigning them to writers and then go, go, go. Well, the process doesn't stop there. The writer needs to create the content, create the draft, put it into a Google sheet, and then at which point, we come in and edit, offer suggestions. I might come in and make my own edits. There might be very large edits, there might be small edits. It just really depends on the context of the content.

Asia: 14:00 Maybe small edits, it just really depends on the context of the content. We might also have that writer interview someone and managing that process from start to finish, it requires a ton of communication, especially if they're a contractor or freelancer and they don't live inside of your slack channel every single day or you don't see them every day. So it's much harder to understand, like, where is everything? Luckily, we work with amazing writers who are totally comfortable managing their workflow in Rindle, which is great. It makes my job super easy. But what I was realizing was there are a few drop-off points and the drop-off points bear ... It would happen second review. So, after the second review, that's were the first drop-off would happen where I would come in, review everything, and it might be a little bit of a delay, depending on the bandwidth on when either I can get to it or when the writer can kind of come in and make edits based off of feedback and then from there, staging it into WordPress, publishing it, getting the graphics ready, getting the email ready, so on and so forth.

Asia: 15:08 But the amount of time delay that happens in between every single one of those steps, it can ... Something that's supposed to take maybe two days could take two weeks just because the drop-off. And this is actually something that we've been exploring from even a product perspective on how we can mitigate that and one of the things that has come up over and over and over again have been automations and mirrors, which I think is a feature that is coming soon. But those drop-offs are like they could totally be mitigated by just [inaudible 00:15:42] proactive communication. Some of that is 100% on me, right? As the project manager, wearing the project management hat, even though I'm not traditionally one, that is 100% the PMs responsibility to kind of investigate, see what's going on, and see where we can help. Is there a blocker that maybe we're not privy to? If there is, how can we help and then on the flip side, maybe it is just something that kind of like, "Oh, this is just going to take that long," and we just kind of have to rearrange our calendar accordingly. Nothing is ever super finite.

Brian: 16:17 Yeah, I think, what you're saying right here is something I've experienced myself. Part of the reason why we have automations today in Rindle, you know we've had that since the beginning of time actually with the product. And that's mainly because of drop-off. Like exactly what you're explaining and I would lose a day, sometimes two days, because of communication breakdown. Or something wasn't communicated on time or promptly so everybody thought everything was running but it wasn't or moving along and you just lose that day or two. So I think it's ... And it is hard because like what you said too, you don't know if it's because, are they busy? Did they forget? Right? And how do you follow up on that? When do you follow up on that? And all those things. So it's really tough to manage and, unfortunately, especially if you're dealing with freelancers and contractors like the time chunk they might be working on something, the schedule's different, right? All these variables come in to play and it's very tough to manage.

Asia: 17:15 Oh, yeah. 100%. And I think, too, this is so specific to concept marketing. It takes time to create good quality content and, if what you get isn't quite there yet, maybe it's 75% of the way there or 60%, or maybe it's 99% of the way there and you just need to make super tiny edits, especially with content marketing, you really don't know which one you're going to get. Ideally, you would work with writers and people that you know, trust, and really, really love working with and they produce great work. But sometimes, you'll get something that maybe you needed more of a specific vision and you just need to guide the writer in that direction, which is 100% expected on behalf of the marketer, right? So, sometimes that happens too. And it's just mitigating or ... Some of it probably isn't even possible to be mitigated it's just you have to kind of expect those curve balls and so what you can do to make that process much more seamless is by that communication and that way you also understand like what are you actually going to get at the end of the day but then also what can you expect it to be done.

Asia: 18:26 That's kind of like the number one challenge. And I would say even from like a business perspective, I expect that, actually, for content marketing. For example, I just did a guest post on a very well-known blog and this was, to no fault of, I think, either party, but it was written, I think, two or three months ago but it ... A bunch of company-wide things happened, I think, with them, which was all great news but it kind of pushed back publication on this one tiny blog post. So it's kind of crazy. And it's all purely because of lack of communication. So, and that's another great example of how something so small can turn into this three-month delay and you're just not anticipating that, right? But it could be mitigated with a much more communication, for sure.

Brian: 19:27 Yeah, I think, too, just touching on content marketing again, and it opened my eyes to going through kind of formulating that in Rindle and kind of managing that when you're helping out with our efforts, it opened by eyes to how many steps there really are, how complicated it is, how many moving parts. And I think, obviously, being ... We promote this even with our Visual Workflow and those things but being open to managing those steps in that process and making sure you're accounting for those steps. So if you're saying there's a lot of drop-off on the second edit, for example, being able to put a step in the workflow and manage it properly so you accommodate to that. So your workflow action might be a little longer than you anticipated. People are like, "Oh, it's just a blog post. Right? Yeah, well just write it we'll publish it." But there's all these steps that happen. So I think that helps.

Brian: 20:19 But also to the point of the freelancer, I think that you dealing with this post with that other party and kind of a delay in communication, a lot of that happens too because you're not in the same platform, which you wouldn't be. But with freelancers, you can be, right? So we have our freelance writers inside Rindle with us so that helps because everybody's at least looking and managing through the same workflow. I think sometimes people try to manage their freelance separately. "Oh, we're not gonna let them in, it's too much trouble, this this and this." And now you kind of are just emailing them saying, "I need that first draft." And then you have some other people internally working on other edits and graphics so there is just automatic disconnect that happens where, minimally, if you have everybody in the same workflow in the same system, that certainly improves communication as a whole.

Asia: 21:09 Oh, 100%. From a demand perspective, I typically use whatever project management software that the client has, that the company has. And that's kind of been an interesting workflow in and of itself because I'm consistently jumping between many different platforms at any given time. But even in the way that a lot of these projects flow, even in other PM solutions, it is really, really nice being a part of the process. Like from an outsider perspective and then of course also from like a, if you're managing contractors and freelancers, it's really, really awesome having them in your platform. It's great. It is definitely a game changer.

Brian: 21:55 So how many slack teams do you currently have in your slack?

Asia: 21:58 I am legitimately going to pull it up right now and there's easily over 20.

Brian: 22:04 Wow! Yeah, I do not want to be on your side of that notification table. But, yeah, huge problem. Huge challenge, really. Like you said, managing ... Hopping in different clients and things like that. I mean having an AG background myself, I've kind of dealt with that where we, as an agency, are oftentimes asked ... We had our own PM platform and own process but oftentimes asked to work in theirs, which is difficult and challenging. So it kind of adds to the layers of management.

Asia: 22:35 Absolutely.

Brian: 22:36 Awesome, so, Asia, do you have experience with these challenges not only from a ... We're talking a lot from freelancers and running our own business and consultancy, but from a company perspective, from an internal marketing team perspective, how is this different in that scenario compared to what we've been talking about?

Asia: 22:55 Absolutely. Okay, so my background is in marketing. I have run fairly small teams throughout my career but moreso than anything, marketing has always been positioned as a function that works with if it's not product it's, obviously, definitely, hopefully sales. It's kind of sad if you're not working with sales. And then, of course, customer success and I've always found from a ... There's like the company level projects, then there is the marketing team specific level projects, and then there's all the way down to the personal productivity, if you will. Those personal tasks that you have whether they're at work or not. Like just at home. And I've always ... My vision for working in that capacity has always been, yes, communication has kind of like been the challenge but I would say, more than anything, visibility. And visibility but then also always anticipating what's next. That was both a challenge but then also a priority at any given point when I was in-house.

Asia: 24:04 Being an in-house marketer, it's all about ensuring that your team ... In a way, you're still very much the project manager and you have to make sure they have what they need to succeed and, at the same time, make sure that you're evangelizing to your internal stakeholders, which the sales team, customer success, products, engineering even, making sure that they not only see the value but they're also able to actually implement some of the things that you're producing oftentimes for them. So, especially if you're more of in a sales enablement position and then, of course, on the other side, which is revenue generating. So you're either looking at net new accounts or net revenue MRR, what have you. So it's interesting from a project management perspective in that way too. But, just because so much of what you're doing is making sure that your team is moving forward and that you're accomplishing what you need to both from a team perspective and also from a company perfective. Always towards some business objective or business goal.

Asia: 25:05 And the way that you manage that is 100% dependent on your team, which I found it really doesn't work when you try to force a process on a group of people, especially sales. I think that we've seen this historically and then as marketing has evolved, the sales have evolved and companies, in general, have evolved, we've seen this become far more collaborative which makes me really happy. From an in-house perspective it's really about how your team works, how they want to work, what's natural. And then, of course, what needs to happen in order for you to obviously communicate what the objectives are, the goals are, and then working to meet them.

Brian: 25:52 Do You struggle with ... Like you're talking about, not forcing a process and sales department and having a different process than marketing and customer success or whatever else, other departments you have, did you initially kind of or did your team members find it challenging and frustrating and initially saying like, "Why don't they just like work like us?" And then you came to that realization where, "Well that's not going to happen and then we got to find the best way to connect the departments together for these, like, kind of, mutual mitigations?"

Asia: 26:21 Oh, yes. And even within your own team, everyone works so differently. And understanding those different flavors, if you will, there are some people who are just violently against putting any tasks or doing anything inside of a project management system or a task management system. And then there are some people who are religious about it. And others, still, who would really prefer to work inside of spreadsheets even though it's really not efficient for the entire team at all. And understanding what the balance is between all of those things. But then also making sure that you have the buy-in and I've always found, time and time again, that when you build it together, you're much more like it's likely to succeed. That's true for anything in life, really.

Asia: 27:16 But I've found even between, say, marketing and product where, if you're in a software company, product really knows product's roadmap and product needs to be able to communicate that to the rest of the organization hopefully when things will be ready and sometimes, just based off the nature of a fast-moving business, the commits aren't always met on time or, sometimes, they're earlier than you expect. It's rare, but it happens and so marketing has to scramble. Sales has to scramble, customer success has to scramble. So I also kind of find that integrations have helped a lot with this. As the market moves forward and we get much more advanced, software is able to integrate with more things so when something on the product side changes ...

Asia: 28:00 Software's able to integrate with more things, so when something on the product side changes, marketing is notified. And we're able to actually accommodate for that. Is it a perfect world? Definitely not, but I actually think that's where I think those team meetings, that regular communication helps so much in just making sure that there's visibility, that top priority and on all sides. But from a workflow perspective though, I will say working with all kinds of people and preferences and figuring out where we can all meet in the middle. But luckily that's never been a crazy, crazy thing, it's just a matter of making sure that you're being very, very patient, and that you are of course presenting solutions that actually fulfill the need, right?

Brian: 28:53 Yeah, I think there's such a human element that ... We're so tech-focused as an industry, right? In the business world in itself. Software kind of driving a lot of things which is super helpful, but there's always a human element whether it's how your team works and the quirky differences, right? And the preferences. Or how you come together as a team to kind of make sure you guys all agree on how to work. Or you're coming together on a weekly basis or a daily basis for stand-ups and communicating deliverables and initiatives, right? There's always that human element and also experience that comes into play that really helps move projects along, where it's not always just the software with the communication element and improving that, which a lot of times it does. But it's that kind of human interaction, human element, and it's just a funny story cause you talked about how even personal people and personal differences on teams and how they work.

Brian: 29:47 But we believe very much internally at Rindle, we have a very iterative kind of workflow. If we decide something needs to change, we change it. We decide as a team and we make a change in our workflow and how we kind of process things. But Scott, our Senior UX Designer likes to mark things complete when he's done with it, even though the whole task isn't complete cause it has a couple more steps. So we kind of said, "Okay. Not really how the rest of the team is really working, but no problem. If you wanna work that way, that's kind of what you do. It helps you out which is great." And we actually were again able to leverage automations to ... I just let him mark it complete, and then when it moves to next step in a workflow, we have an automation that marks it incomplete so the next person can mark it complete.

Brian: 30:35 So it's kinda funny, but it helps him a lot, and when he's looking at his work. And the rest of the team doesn't work that way, but it's a kind of a personal nuance. So it's just kind of an interesting little tidbit on that people definitely ... Even if you share a common ground on how your team is working as a whole, you definitely have those nuances.

Asia: 30:52 Oh, absolutely. I remember there was a startup that I worked for previously actually to starting DemandMaven. And one of the nuances was my boss at the time who I still love to this day. Great man. He just loathed all project management software, and he would've rather seen a spreadsheet over anything else. And I'll never forget, I had a conversation with one of my teammates on the marketing team and we were trying to figure out, we were using a competitive software at the time. And we were trying to figure out how we could automatically import our tasks into this spreadsheet so we would never have to update it. Cause that was just one of his quirks, he just really, really did not like any kind of project management software. It was really hard for him to see from a high level what was actually being worked on, and he himself did not leverage any kind of tools like that. He was a calendar person and a spreadsheet person, and that was just it.

Asia: 31:56 But that was a quirk that he had and we had to figure out a way to work around it, even though the rest of the team did not work that way at all. It was just him.

Brian: 32:08 Cool. So talking about teams again, or at least different departments within your internal company example that you're talking about, you mentioned kind of balancing deliverables and initiatives and deadlines changing, or deliverables being delayed by one department. Product as an example not committing and getting those features done or whatever it might be. What was your ... Cause we actually did an episode on meeting rhythms and things like that, but what was your kind of meeting cadence within the teams as far as multiple departments are concerned? Did you meet daily, weekly, monthly? How did you kind of manage the communication between all the teams?

Asia: 32:47 Oh, gosh. It was always so different across the different companies. Every one, every company has a unique meeting cadence and rhythm, and no two have been the same. They've been very similar and they kind of all revolve around the same core pieces which was always some kind of weekly team meeting. And that can be once or even twice a week, and some companies I found prioritized offline communication more so than in-person. So for example, you might have the weekly team meeting or the whole company weekly team meeting where everyone's involved, not just department heads. But then on top of that, there would also be kind of the weekly department head newsletter, which is the email which goes to everyone every single Sunday night. I mean, I've seen it all. And then on top of that, the team itself might meet daily. I would say the one that was probably my favorite, my personal favorite cadence was we would have a weekly team meeting that was just department heads, and we actually called that the weekly tactical.

Asia: 33:58 Which is something that I would love to write about soon. So there's actually, there's a whole framework if you will for how these weekly tacticals are run, and it's actually not a brand new concept. If I'm not mistaken, it's actually a pretty old thing to do, but the way that you run the tactical I think is so interesting, because it really forces teams to talk about overall company objectives, but then tier it down to specific action items on what we're actually gonna handle which I really am a fan of. But then there would also be the daily scrum, and we always would say it would take 30 minutes and it never would. It'd always take an hour. And then finally, the end of the week team meeting which was the entire company. It was the whole company, everyone, not just department heads. And that was much more like here's what we accomplished in the week, here's the really big news that everyone needs to hear. And yeah, that would take about an hour.

Asia: 34:57 The one thing that I actually added to that cadence was the Sunday night newsletter, which I actually took from a previous role, but to put all of that in writing I actually felt was really powerful. So that way you might forget certain notes in your weekly team meeting with everyone cause everyone's there, and there's usually a lot of content to cover. But to actually have the written transcript, if you will, from every single department on what actually was presented during that meeting. That was so helpful from a previous role that I served in, and I implemented that at the next role that I served in cause I was like, "Oh, this is kind of missing," and to me it was super helpful and I'm sure it might be helpful for others. Especially if people can't make it, et cetera. So.

Brian: 35:47 So what are some of the things, and we talked a lot about kind of the challenges. What are some of the things we could to kind of better managing projects from this perspective of hey, you're not a PM, you might not even consider yourself a good PM. What can we do to make these things better?

Asia: 36:05 I think first and foremost if you're following a process, or if you can operationalize, if you will, what the work actually is, what is actually being done. When you have a process to follow, you can identify where it's falling apart. It's kind of like one of those things ... I can't remember what the rule is in science, but you can't measure something without impacting it. I would say the same is true from a process perspective, you really super can't measure it if you don't actually have something to measure, so. That's where I would start, and if you really struggle with product management, I would say I am not perfect at all. I definitely have things to improve on. I would try to identify where it is the drop-off happened if it's truly a drop-off issue, and in what way is the drop-off occurring? So for example, is it communication? Is it handoff? Is it perhaps, maybe it's a visibility challenge where you can't visibly see something from a project perspective.

Asia: 37:11 I would try to identify what is missing, where it's happening, and I think the last thing is always and forever test. Test what is going to fill that gap. So for example, for our content marketing process, we've kind of realized oh, these are where the drop-offs are happening, this is what we can do to ... This is what we can implement to help us fix those drop-offs, and we're essentially filling the gap. And it might not work perfectly, but it's something that we're gonna test, see if it actually does what we need and then move on to the next project management challenge that we have if there are others. Which the more that you do, there's typically gonna be more challenges, right? But I would say that those are the three basic steps. And I think more than anything just be self-aware. If it's something that you're kind of impacting into the process, or if it's something that maybe you need to kind of improve which is always a possibility.

Asia: 38:14 I've definitely been there. I'm still there in many ways. And then of course figuring out how does that translate to a team perspective. Even if you're working with freelancers, in a way they're still very much a part of your team, so.

Brian: 38:25 Cool. So thank you very much for being on this podcast. This is really interesting talk, and in Workflow tradition we do want to kind of finish off with tips for taking action. So if you kind of summarize this talk and kind of what you would kind of give to our audience. What tips you could give to kind of take away.

Asia: 38:47 Absolutely. Okay, so. Tips for taking action. First and foremost I would say is self-awareness. Start with how you work, but then also how you work within your team or the people that you are ultimately accomplishing the work with. I would say number two is identify where the process is falling apart, and this is kind of where we're looking at the drop-offs and also why those drop-offs are happening. Three, fill in the gap. It's really ... Drop-offs happen for a few finite reasons, and filling in the gap should be pretty crystal clear. If you're not able to clearly fill in the gap, then the definition of what that drop-off is might not actually be so clear. It might not actually be truly defined. And then after that, continue to test and iterate. I 100% agree that your workflow will change over time, and it's supposed to if it's going to run efficiently. There are probably some steps that you'll add, there are probably some steps that you'll take away.

Asia: 39:53 And I really think the last thing is probably to automate as much as you can. I'm a huge fan of what Rindle has built obviously, but especially within automations. I think that that's really the game changer. If you can, automate a lot around your process. I think that's where you'll see those drop-offs avoided as much as possible at least, and that's where you'll really start to kind of flow our your work.

Brian: 40:19 Yeah, I'm really excited to actually further our workflow in the marketing side with more automations, but also leveraging mirrors. And I think that that's actually gonna piece together even some of the jumping between boards and tracking stuff down. We could actually mirror certain data or certain tests on different boards. So I'm excited to kind of work with you and work out some of those nuances, and figure out how best to work with that new feature that we have and kind of just launched. And how we can improve our process. So maybe we'll do another podcast episode when we get our new and improved workflow together, we could talk about that.

Asia: 40:57 I'm super excited. Thanks again for having me, Brian.

Brian: 40:59 No, thank you. I really appreciate it. For those of you interested, you can reach Asia on Twitter @AsiaMatos or on her website demandmaven.io. Well, I think that about wraps us up for the day. If you have a question for us, you can call it in to our voicemail number at 860-577-2293, or you can email it to us at workflow@rindle.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from Thunder Rock by MagikStudio used under Creative Commons. Subscribe to us on iTunes by searching for Workflow, and visit rindle.com/workflow-podcast for a full transcript of each episode. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next time. (singing)