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Problem, Pick, Plan, Prepare, Predict, Present, Preview, Prove, Proof

Find out how to apply the 9p’s to your departments action plan and offer a centralised way of delivering a great process each quarter

Here you go, it has a name. The 9p’s (not as catchy as the title) is the process we all go through at large organisations, every quarter we run through the same process to understand what we should be working on, how we hit the goals that are set, be proactive in making positive change, present it and then spend months chasing the goals or in many cases trying to prove and get proof it worked.

This process is a silent process, we typically run through this but rarely map it out in a way that it formalised or easy to apply for many departments.

I was recently speaking to a senior leader of a business, we discussed an array of subjects but one that stood out was the difference between teams within organisations.

We landed in saying that Marketing, Growth and Product Departments have the impossible task, they are the only teams that have to predict the future and then make it happen. 

Let that sink in for a minute, only three departments truly have to think, collaborate (yes the best ones collaborate) and create the future alongside making it happen. 

Product Departments have the difficult task in managing and delivering big techinical projects, Product Teams are often behind on delivery, catching up with predicted and long serving roadmaps or having to pick up tech debt.
While Marketing and Growth have to pull the company and their users to the future and help to enable the future to happen. There are no real excuses for Marketing and Growth teams not to do this.

There is a but, almost all departments follow the same flow;

  • Understand the problem(s) we are solving,
  • pick what they are going to be working on,
  • plan for the future,
  • prepare a presentation or the numbers,
  • predict the outcomes, (assign yourself a large enough number to please the bosses but in near enough reach for you to actually hit
  • present to senior stakeholders,
  • preview the work,
  • prove it was the right thing(s) to have done
  • Show proof that it worked.

Then rinse and repeat. This can be frustrating but it is the nature of the business world.

Marketing and Growth often have what looks like the easiest or best jobs but the constant need to pull the company forward, breakdown every penny they spend, analyse and communicate user behaviours is challenging and getting harder.

The more channels that become popular the harder the job becomes, the more effective the messaging and targeting has to be and then passing over users to other teams to ensure they have a great experience often removes marketing from understanding their customers and who is likely just browsing.

Growth often has to pick up where Product work drops out and Marketing do not have the time or resource (typically technical or development) to improve the experience for the customers they worked so hard to get to the product or service. 

Marketing does not sound so easy now, does it. 

So although the 9P’s sounds like a silly process, it actually is a good way to build action plans and connect into the company-wide strategy. This 9p process will work in Marketing, Growth and Product Departments, a word of warning – do not allow teams to run off and create their own team version otherwise you are instantly siloing projects, tests, campaigns or programmes.

In recent conversations, I have used these nine steps and have simplified the process down and enables staff of all levels to write down their action plan for the quarter ahead. 

Why not try out the 9P process and see if it helps you focus the department’s efforts for the future quarters ahead. 

The 9P’s and explainers

Problem: Problem(s) you and the team are trying to solve. List out the problems and think through the next three to six months. 

Pick: Pick the most important problems and the ways you are looking to solve said problems. Pick a date for when they need to roll out by 

Plan: Plan your activities, plan the projects and the campaigns and demonstrate you understand the impact you are going to have. This is the spike or hunt phase for Growth or Product teams. 

Prepare: Prepare the data, prepare the deck, prepare the communications and understand how you are planning to move forward and backing up your problems and why you picked these and why they are a priority. 

Predict: Predict the outcomes, break down by priority and show you understand you are going to move x or y metric. 

Present: Present the findings, present the campaign overviews and present it in a way that will get cut through

Preview: Create a preview of the work, show the teams around you, preview the campaign or project and start to roll out live. Your plan and deadline dates will be important here 

Prove: Prove you have done the right thing, prove you know the metrics you are moving and update to the teams and management that you picked the right work, prove it is working and show when you know how to optimise and improve. If it is working this is where you can ask for more investment. 

With strategic projects there are so many ways teams and departments tackle presenting these issues, they all create in different formats and all predict in different ways, this is a way you and your departments can tackle the coming quarters and apply one theme or process for all to follow. I cannot stress how important it is for teams to collaborate and partner through the creation phase and check in constantly and not on slack or teams but on a centralised tool or in person.

Remember numbers are what senior leaders want but it is hard to demonstrate a story and growth of what you are doing without a presentation or video. Lead with numbers for trust but story-tell for cut-through.

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