Contact us.

The 90% Syndrome in a marketing agency.

Picture this: you’ve been working on a marketing campaign for months. You’ve brainstormed, you’ve strategized, you’ve even argued over the perfect shade of blue for the call-to-action button. The project is 90% done, and you can practically hear the applause at the finish line. But then, the infamous 90% syndrome strikes. Suddenly, the final stretch feels like running a marathon through molasses. Now what?

Welcome to the world of project management in marketing or digital agencies, where the 90% syndrome is as real as the inevitable office coffee spill on a white shirt. Let’s dive into this phenomenon, laugh a little, and hopefully, find ways to overcome it.

What is the 90% Syndrome?

The 90% syndrome is the uncanny ability of projects to linger in the final stages of completion for what feels like an eternity. You hit the 90% mark, and then suddenly, everything slows down. It’s like the project is saying, “Hold up, are you sure you’re ready for this level of awesome?” Spoiler alert: you are, but the project just doesn’t seem to get the memo.

Symptoms of the 90% Syndrome.

Endless revisions.

“Can we make the logo 1% bigger? No, wait, 1% smaller. Now rotate it 2 degrees to the left. Perfect. Actually, can we revert to the original version?” The back-and-forth revisions become so frequent that you start to question your own sanity.

Feature creep.

Just when you think you’re done, someone has a brilliant idea. “What if we add a chatbot connected with AI that calculates the quote based on each client’s criteria?” It’s cool, it’s innovative, but it’s also a one-way ticket to never-ending adjustments.

Approval limbo.

Your project is stuck in the purgatory of approvals. The client loves it but needs to run it by their cousin’s dog walker for a final opinion. And guess what? They only check emails on the third Tuesday of every month.

Perfection paralysis.

The fear of releasing something that’s not 100% perfect can be paralyzing. You tweak, you tinker, and you adjust until you’ve forgotten what the original goal was. Spoiler alert: perfection is a myth.

When 10% becomes 50%.

Oh, the horror when that final 10% becomes a seemingly insurmountable 50%! What should be a small sprint turns into a marathon of never-ending tasks. Suddenly, the project that was almost done is now only halfway there. This phenomenon can turn even the most optimistic project manager into a coffee-chugging stress ball.

Combatting the 90% Syndrome.

Now that we’ve had a good laugh (and maybe a little cry), let’s talk solutions. Here are some tips to combat the 90% syndrome and get your projects over the finish line.

Set clear milestones.

Break your project into smaller, manageable milestones with clear deadlines. Celebrate each mini-victory to keep the momentum going.

Create and communicate healthy boundaries.

From the outset, establish and communicate healthy boundaries. Be transparent about goals and KPIs. This helps manage expectations and prevents scope creep.

Define “done”.

Clearly define what “done” means for each stage of your project from the beginning. Is it client approval? Is it the website going live? Knowing the endpoint helps everyone stay focused. Also, it may help to create stages and a timeline, set clear goals and KPIs, define all possible assumptions and use cases and set from the beginning of the project what happens after the project is “done”.

Limit revisions.

Set a cap on the number of revisions allowed. This encourages decisive feedback and prevents the endless loop of tiny tweaks.

Embrace “good enough”.

Sometimes, “good enough” is exactly that – good enough. Remember, you can always make adjustments later. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress.

Communication and collaboration are key.

Keep communication lines open and clear. Regular check-ins and updates help everyone stay on the same page and prevent last-minute surprises. Foster a collaborative environment where team members feel comfortable sharing ideas and concerns.

Create and respect methodologies.

Develop methodologies that suit your team’s workflow and try to stick to them. Consistency in processes helps streamline tasks and maintain project momentum.

Anticipate the next moves and requirements.

Always stay a step ahead by anticipating future needs and potential roadblocks. Being proactive rather than reactive can save time and reduce stress in the long run.

The silver lining.

The 90% syndrome, while frustrating, is a sign that you care about the quality of your work. It shows that you and your team are invested in delivering the best possible product to your client. So next time you find yourself stuck in the final 10%, take a deep breath, share a laugh with your team, and remember these tips. You’ll get there, and it will be worth it.

And hey, if all else fails, just remember: the final 10% is only 1% of the next 90%. Happy project management!

Our conclusion.

By embracing the humor and challenges of the 90% syndrome, we can turn what feels like a never-ending marathon into a manageable, and maybe even enjoyable, sprint. So go forth, marketing wizards, web developers, software engineers, event planners, and product launchers – conquer that final stretch with a smile on your face and a coffee in hand.

If you want to collaborate with us, leave us a message.


Read More.

"Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard."

Guy Kawasaki