Looking at our success over the last ten years, our most successful projects have been delivered with efficient processes and great teamwork. Here are some tips for creating and delivering successful DOOH projects.
It all starts with the idea
At the start of any project, there’s a brilliant idea that needs to be brought to life. The project stakeholders will have different visions of what the idea looks like, which are influenced by their remit, skill set and will all be very different.
Finding an equilibrium, getting stakeholder buy-in and keeping focus throughout the project’s lifecycle is an artform and a big key to success.
The idea will change (often a lot) along the way and morph into something that will hopefully win that missing bit of silverware for your trophy cabinet. You’ll need patience, trust, flexibility and sensible controls to achieve the goal.
Has this ever been done before?
When you start on a project, the idea is often just an abstract concept. If you are really lucky (like us) you might be asked to do something that has never been done before. There is an element of risk when venturing into the unknown, but these are normally the projects that will win you awards…
There is a big difference between your project team not having delivered a project like this before and no project team in the world having ever delivered a project like this before. If you are in either situation you need to very quickly research everything similar to what it is you are trying to do. Read white papers, case studies, look at ‘how to’ videos and any other insight you can.
The best thing you can do is to engage a consultant or company that has the experience you need to deliver the project. This is the best investment you can make so trust the advice you are given as you are paying for it.
Who’s involved? Define roles and responsibilities
On projects, we frequently have the following stakeholders: the client, media and creative agencies, media owners, fabricators, social media, PR and ourselves. A project can range from a minimum of 5 and sometimes up to 15+ individual companies who all need to work out how to collaborate and deliver the project on time.
Defining and agreeing individual roles and responsibilities must be done as soon as possible. Typically there needs to be a single driving force behind the project as a whole. Our producers are well positioned to take on that task and work on solving problems and removing friction.
The most successful projects feature true collaboration with all stakeholders sitting around the table and engaging with the project as a team. The quality of a project is not determined by which agency takes the lead, what makes the difference is a team working together for the sole purpose of creating great work.
Use standardised methodologies and processes
With so many moving targets in digital production it’s important that stakeholders understand what needs to happen. Simply sticking to a time plan isn’t enough, using standardised methodologies will help to navigate the complexities involved with digital production.
In the UK we are members of the APA and use the IPA/APA guidelines (that we helped write) for delivering successful interactive projects in advertising. In the US the AICP has national guidelines for digital production. Both of these guidelines are well thought out and offer standardised processes to help deliver projects, although they are not definitive by any means as every project is different. Their methodologies need to be used in conjunction with a sprinkling of common sense and be driven by someone who understands what it’s going to take to actually deliver the objectives.
We have enhanced these methods, which typically focus on traditional digital projects, to align better specifically for Digital OOH, based on our 10 years of experience working with the medium. We have our own documentation and processes set in place to effectively deliver for Digital OOH.
Five top tips
Managing a Digital OOH project can feel like managing a series of problems, however some common issues can be mitigated. Here are our top five tips for smooth project delivery.
- Ensure there is enough time to deliver the project: When the producer says it will take 12 weeks then don’t expect to have an amazing piece of work if only 8 weeks are available. If you don’t have the time needed, then the scope needs to decrease, remember the “Mythical Man Month“.
- Define as much as possible: What you are making, how you are making it, what you are using to make it, who is responsible for each aspect, when does X need to happen, etc. Once you have compiled all of the information in a Scope of Work document, allow everyone to review it, make amends and then sign it off. This will act as a contract for the project team to work to.
- Build a proof of concept(PoC): Not sure how the experience will work? Spend some time to create a PoC and then share it with stakeholders. There is nothing worse than getting halfway into a project and then have someone say “that’s not what I wanted”. Building a PoC demonstrates at a high level how something might work. It’s a great checkpoint to get buy-in and understanding from all project stakeholders and most importantly the project sponsor.
- Control, iterate and fail fast: Use the Scope of Work to control the project and keep the stakeholders on the same page. Schedule regular meetings to facilitate good communication but keep these short and to the point. More detailed conversations should occur offline and be confined to the appropriate team members. Keep an eye on all the potential risks and assign people appropriately to monitor and manage them, think roles and responsibilities. Share work updates with stakeholders sooner rather than later, keeping their focus on what is being reviewed and what is not. Fail fast until you get it right, be flexible and allow as much change as possible within the time and budget.
- Test, test & test: Digital OOH is not like an online project where you simply deploy to three different environments that should all be mirrored. Digital OOH is a series of closed networks with unique characteristics and thousands of potential endpoints to keep a track of. Avoid the acid test and test the hell out of everything before you go live!
Use a team with experience
There is nothing like having a project team with empirical knowledge and it will make the world of difference when it comes to effective delivery. Our management, producers and account teams have a collective 100 years of experience in delivering Digital OOH, not bad for a medium that’s only ten years old.
Finally, always keep things in perspective; we are not saving lives but we are dealing with big budgets so stay cool when things get tough.