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Do you have internal initiatives that are executed by your team who also helps your customers? I bet you do. We do too.
Today I want to talk to you about internal projects. Now, we’ve got a lot of internal projects here at Array Digital. We have our website; we have our social media that we have to handle ourselves. We’ve got our SEO, we’ve got our advertising, and then we have things like the Marketers Anonymous meetups, those are in-person meetups that we hold in several cities. We’ve got this podcast itself that has to be produced by our team.
So they’ve got to do all of this work for internal marketing purposes in addition to doing client-agency work. And what I found was that the more internal work that I piled onto them, the more confused they were about the expectations, or at least what they were producing wasn’t consistent with what I expected.
And what I realized was that I was treating internal projects differently than I was treating client projects. So with a client project, everything that we’re supposed to deliver is spelled out in black and white in a contract. We have a statement of work and it says exactly what we’re going to do. There’s no opportunity to be confused. If we’re going to do SEO, if we’re going to write articles, it says write two articles a month or three articles or whatever the number is. It spells it out right there.
I wasn’t treating our internal projects the same way. For internal projects, I was basically just walking by someone’s desk and saying something like, Oh hey, go write an article or write articles for us. Super vague.
So when I found out that, you know, maybe they were writing one article a month, if that, and I expected more like two articles a month, I was frustrated, but I realized it was my fault.
I was not treating our internal projects the exact same way that I was treating external projects. And the way that I resolved that is I wrote contracts for our internal work. So if I come up with an idea for something, then I will actually write an agreement between Erik Olson, the CEO of Array Digital, and Erik Olson, the receiving person on that agreement. And I propose it, I sign it, I write out the statement of work, I literally sign it and we follow the same process. It gets onboarded the same as a normal client. We get offboarded if we decided that we’re going to stop doing something and when I change the scope of work, when I change my expectations, I update that agreement and I send a change order so we can do it exactly same way that we handle client projects.
And guess what happened? Things got really smooth really quick. If I changed my expectations, it required me to tell the company what I expect from them now. And the way that I did that is using our standard process: contracts. So for all of your internal initiatives, I’d highly recommend that you do the exact same thing or, you know, put your own spin on it. But right up what it is that you want. Follow the same process that they’re used to. Don’t invent something else and don’t expect them to read your mind. Put it in writing. Follow your process even for your own work.