How to Win Back Time for Your Marketing Operations Team

BY: Lindsay DiLemmo

PUBLISHED: 4/18/2022

It’s no secret that marketing operations teams are constantly operating at capacity. With the added constraint of the marketing operations hiring crisis, managing your team’s time is as important as ever.

Project management is a powerful tool that can transform the way marketing operations teams work. With project management software saving the average employee 498 hours per year, it goes without saying that: A) project managers should be part of every marketing operations team and B) marketing operations teams should utilize effective project management software.


We’ve executed more than 2,000 projects in Marketo. Through this experience, we’ve learned how to manage our team’s work down to the 15-minute increment (yep – you read that right).

We are constantly exploring the most efficient approach and aligning the right mix of talent and technology to execute client projects, and we’re here to share that insight with you.



What is project management, and why is it important for winning back time?


Project management is the process of ensuring the solution design is delivered on time, on budget, and according to predefined technical requirements. Project managers typically focus on tasks, activities, timelines, resources, and budgets.

Does your marketing operations team include a dedicated project manager? If not, this is low-hanging fruit to start winning back time for your team. If you answered yes, ask yourself this: is your project manager or project management team effective?

High-performing project managers are completing projects accurately, on time, and on budget. Plus, they are aligning stakeholders and ensuring proper documentation is in place.

Four signs of poor project management


  • Misalignment with the team, stakeholders, and business requirements
  • Flawed design execution
  • Missed implementation deadlines
  • Over-budget


Ultimately, project management is structured to keep everyone aligned with the direction, accountable for the project’s success, and on track with the defined milestones and objectives.

Effectively managing your project and the people impacted by your project will enable you to accomplish your objectives and attain more value from Marketo (or any marketing automation platform for that matter), faster.

The Project Management Body of Knowledge


One preferred framework for project management is the Project Management Body of Knowledge, which defines five distinct and different phases of a project’s life cycle:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Controlling
  • Closing


Over the years, we’ve noticed these phases can be found in every project regardless of the scope, industry, or type. Properly identifying the tasks to be completed in each phase can greatly increase the success rate of your efforts and of course, win back time!

Below, we’ll examine how to be successful through each phase of the framework. Let’s get started!

Initiation Phase


In order to get started on the right foot, there are a few key questions to answer when initiating any project:

  • What am I trying to accomplish, and why?
  • Who am I doing this for?
  • Who will be participating?


By answering these three questions, you’ll find yourself with a scope, key stakeholders, and a team. Be sure to know what your goal is and keep your eye on it.

Planning Phase


At this point, we know what we want to do and who will be working with us to achieve it.

But how will we be executing this?

In any project, it’s helpful to create a breakdown structure that helps you identify the large tasks at hand. Start by identifying your main activities, then break each one into smaller tasks. Break this down into as many levels as needed.

When you’re done breaking down every activity, you should have your project mapped into a tree-like structure with your main objective at the top, larger activities below, which in turn will split down into smaller tasks.

Each box should have these two items:

  • A responsible team member
  • A target delivery date


Successful completion of this phase will ensure you don’t forget a step along the way, and also enable you to track the progress of your project. You should also include a plan to measure the success of your project during its lifecycle and post-delivery.

Make sure a few people (such as a stakeholder and a team member) validate your overall plan. It’s easy to forget a step or to omit an important element that should figure into the plan.

Execution Phase


It’s time to get the ball rolling!

Schedule each task with the respective team members and make sure to follow the progression of each task. As a project manager, it will be important to constantly keep your ear to the ground as some tasks handled by one team member could impact another.

Control Phase


The work has started – but is it going in the right direction? Does everyone understand the objectives and what their piece of the project entails? Are we on target, and are we respecting our budget?

Control should be exercised throughout the entire lifecycle of your project. This will ensure that you reach your objectives over time and provide a chance to realign if you’re not on target. It’s also important to keep the key stakeholders in the loop. After all, they’re invested and will want to see results.

Once your execution phase is complete, you will have reached the end of your project and, hopefully, you will have successfully controlled it every step of the way.

And finally…

Closing Phase


It’s time to wrap it up!

Is everything you need in place? Has everyone completed their share of the work, and have you validated the results with the stakeholders in order to get their sign-off?

If you answered yes to all these questions, then congratulations – you’ve successfully managed a MOps project! You can now move on to the next project.

These are just five simple phases that can greatly increase your success rate and win back time for your team. You will even find that managing your marketing automation like a project makes your life a little easier and a lot more efficient.

Imagine any of your marketing operations projects without a defined project manager. You can see how much time would be lost.

Take your marketing operations to the next level


Are you frustrated with the outcomes of working with another Marketo partner? We invite you to book an introductory call with us. Let us demonstrate how we’re different and what results we can achieve together. Get in touch.