A marketing launch is a time-boxed project during which the project manager (launch owner) plans, organizes and coordinates activities with several teams, usually engineering, product management, and marketing.

As the launch project manager, I’m responsible for tracking activities and tasks and communicating status to stakeholders across the organization.

Scheduled items & unstructured content

A marketing launch involves creating lots of content – things like video scripts, blog posts, and emails to send out – then tying that content to its delivery, a scheduled task. Tracking these two types of work – scheduled items and unstructured content – requires great project management software.

launch-emailJIRA is the favorite tool of every operational team at Atlassian. Engineering, product management, systems, web development, and even email marketing teams all use JIRA to schedule work. While I’m building all the content I’ll supply to those operational teams, I want input from my boss, my team, and other people close to my project. This is where Confluence comes in.

Confluence pages are the best way to create and collaborate on unstructured content. Automatic formatting, sharing and commenting, and easy tools to create tables and charts all add up to make Confluence the one and only tool I will ever need to collaborate with people, whether they’re across a table or across the globe.

email-commentsThis makes keeping track of all the moving parts for a marketing launch easy: each piece of unstructured content is linked to a JIRA issue tracking its implementation. As I create tasks for email, web dev, and other teams, I copy and paste the JIRA issue URL onto the Confluence launch page, createing a two-way link and auto-magically displaying the summary and status.

plan-page-list

Super short meetings

As the launch approaches, we hold weekly standup meetings with stakeholders. Taking a cue from agile development, we go around in a circle and answer 3 questions:

  1. What did I already accomplish for launch?weekly-meetings
  2. What will I do in the week to come?
  3. What obstacles are blocking me from getting things done?

Someone takes notes adding each teams’ response to the page. Only a handful of people need to attend (one representative from each team involved), but anyone interested in the launch can watch the page to get the weekly updates in their inbox. This is especially helpful for remote team members and teams spanning multiple time zones.

Juggling status updates

Launch owners, and really, all project managers working with cross-functional teams, are constantly peppered with questions about what’s already done, what’s coming next, and what’s delayed. The best thing about using JIRA and Confluence to manage my launches and projects is that everyone can find the answers to these questions easily – and even better, I can automatically display status in the places their teams already track work!

Engineering Dashboards

The engineering teams use a JIRA dashboard to track progress toward launch, displaying status like number of outstanding bugs, ABCD. Their team lead simply adds one more item to their dashboard, showing a rollup of all the tasks I’ve tagged as related to the launch.

engineering-dashboard

Email Team Calendar

At Atlassian, we have several different products, and one single email team to manage and coordinate product announcements and other email udpates going out to our customers. In any given week, we could potential have 3 product announcement emails going out to 3 different segments of our customer base.

email-team-calendarThe email team uses a Confluence page that simply displays a Team Calendar to show all their tasks by date. JIRA integration in Team Calendars for Confluence is perfect for managing and tracking all of the email coordination.

The best part about this system is that not only do they have the issue on their calendar, but everyone else writing emails can see what is going out when and plan accordingly. If, for example, GreenHopper had a product update email set for the same day as a JIRA email, we might combine those messages or space them out in time, because 50% of those getting the JIRA email would also be on the list for a GreenHopper email.

Broadcasting to the Company

Customer-facing teams need to know when emails might go out, while the technical writing team needs to know when the download will be available so they can be sure the documentation is available at the same time. As launch day approaches, I want to make sure everyone is aware of activities that affect their team, so I’ll write a short blog post on Confluence, and share that with the entire company staff.

launch-internal-blog

The best part about this blog is that I don’t have to do any work to give everyone the information they need! All I do is provide a link to the project page, and everyone can scan to check on just the items that matter to them.

Get going

If you’re looking for project management software to keep a handle on an upcoming launch, give JIRA and Confluence a try! Get up and running in minutes with a free 30-day trial.

Try JIRA & Confluence free OnDemand

This post was inspired by the recent post How to Execute a Marketing Campaign using JIRA & Confluence. Does your team run other types of projects, campaigns and launches in JIRA & Confluence? Share in the comments below.