March Show & Tell

Show & Tell is a blog series from the marketing nerds of CS2 Marketing. We’ll share with you the business and marketing related things we have been thinking about, reading about and are genuinely obsessed with. See all Show & Tell posts here.


Managing Campaign Execution with Asana Kanban Boards

At CS2, we have been trying to find a more efficient way to project manage campaign execution for our clients. Honestly, we’re always looking for ways to do everything more efficiently.

Since we regularly use multiple tools (email, Slack, Asana and clients’ project management tools), we want to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. It’s also important for us to be able to see all our tasks and projects in a central place.

I am a long-time fan of Kanban boards for managing my tasks and Asana just so happened to launch kanban boards as a new feature (currently in beta). Kanban boards are widely used in the development world, and consist of different columns or lanes in which “cards” or tasks are placed under based on status. This can be done analog or digital. See an example of an analog version below.

 
 

There are already use cases of companies using Asana for campaign execution, so we adapted those ideas into our process. Already, managing and staying on top of tasks has become so much less stressful. Now during our daily scrum meetings, we can easily look at our Campaign Execution board to see the status of different campaigns and tasks.


Here is how we have set up our campaign execution board:

 
 

The columns we have are:

  • Requested - Something that we have been asked to do but haven’t reviewed yet
  • Waiting - Something we cannot start yet because we need additional information
  • Working - Currently in progress
  • CS2 Approval - Someone within CS2 needs to approve before sending to client
  • Client Approval - We have sent something to client and are awaiting their approval
  • Ready to schedule - For emails that ready to be scheduled
  • Complete - Give yourself a pat on the back

Now, depending on status, we can move items through the pipeline and see exactly what is going on. We also have a nice visual of how much work we have on our plate by seeing how many cards are in the “Requested” or “Working” columns. Additionally, each card is color coded by client, and assigned to one of our personal kanban boards, because one task can live within multiple boards.

When using a collaborative tool like this, it’s important that the whole team is on board, so Crissy and Charlie share their thoughts on our new process below.


Team Perspective:

We didn’t really have much experience using Kanban boards until recently and we always thought we had Asana set up in a decent enough way, but this approach really has changed the game in how we approach our client work - especially campaign execution. Being able to see each task visualized by where it is in the ‘task funnel’ allows us to very quickly determine what is the next priority item to work on and it allows us to manage multiple clients requests effortlessly.  

Since we started CS2 we have worked with many marketing ops teams that struggle with the volume of campaigns sent to them and a big part of the issue is not having a central place that visualizes the tasks for the whole team. Emails get missed, tasks get forgotten and because campaign execution has so many moving parts and requires an intense attention to detail, it leads to mistakes being made. As a result, the team gets demoralized, creating a downward spiral of more mistakes. Once this cycle begins, it is very hard to reverse the trend as fixing mistakes takes up precious time which leaves less times for the new campaigns so there is less attention and more mistakes will inevitably happen.

That is why it is crucial to get this right and for small to medium (1-20 people) marketing teams running 5 to 10 programs in a given week we believe Asana Kanban boards have everything you need.

In addition to what Christie mentioned, we especially like this approach for the following two reasons:

  • Asana allows multiple boards and for a task to be part of as many as you wish. As managers, it is very useful for us to be able to quickly understand our team’s workload and priorities. So being able to view everyone else’s boards gives us all the information we need quickly.
  • Asana allows each board to have different sections. So if Christie wants to follow a slightly different process to fit her working style she can, then within the task item we can see where the task is within each board (as you can see below) .
 
 

Are you using Kanban boards or any other tools for task management? Let us know in the comments!