One of the cornerstones of the efficiency factors that Workamajig has to offer is in project templates. Templates house information critical to projects such as: estimated duration and effort, project teams, and the project schedule. When creating a project template, you really need to analyze the process of how your agency completes work for your clients. Luckily, there is a wealth of knowledge on this subject if we borrow techniques from other industries and apply them to Creative Agency Project Management. Here are 4 such techniques that should help you along your journey.
1. The Rule of Seven
The Rule of Seven stipulates that you should not have more than seven milestones and seven tasks for each of those milestones. Translated into Workamajig-ese, 7 tasks and 7 sub tasks rolled up under them. You want to be able to describe your project in an elevator speech, not a novella. If you're working a project that has more than seven tasks, you may be better of creating a campaign.
2. 5S Lean
Of the 5S topics, Standardize has the most value to the template creation process. Don't reinvent the wheel with every template. Create a set of standardized naming conventions and apply them to all of your project templates. This will also help you tremendously when creating customized Traffic reports. Helpful hint, this is where Timeline Segments can transform your workflow and make status meetings more bearable.
3. 7 Wastes
I won't list all 7 wastes in this post, here is a link. The main take away I want to impart is this… If a task in the process doesn't transform the product, it is wasteful and non-value added to the client. Eliminate or reduce the number of wasteful, non-value added steps in your process for effective templates. Analogous to this train of thought is identifying the Hidden Factories in your process. Is your Creative Director signing off on Ad mechanicals before they go to publication? You have some waste to remove from your template.
Supplier, Input, Process, Output, Customer. : Create a Spreadsheet with those as your columns and your project tasks as the rows. Identify who supplies the input for task and who gets what comes out of it. If you can't identify any one of those things, nix it from your template. This exercise will hone your template and create a solid process guide for your project teams. They will know who does what and when and, as an added bonus, so will your clients!
At the end of the day, we sell creative in the form of billable service fees and, if we're lucky, we're still pulling commission from media placement and markups on outside costs. We are trying to eek out a percent here and there on our margins by finding efficiencies where we can. There is tremendous power in the use of project templates on your overall efficiency if you use them correctly. Start by identifying your unique process, cull the list of tasks by looking for waste, standardize your terminology, and trim down the excess. You will find the exercise rewarding and it will get you closer to finding those efficiencies you were looking for when you purchased a powerful system like Workamajig.
About the Author:
Damian Sian spends way too much time thinking about how Creative Agencies can improve their process by examining the discourse and related literature of other industries. He is an active contributor to Groupamajig.com as helped a number of firms improve their process in Creative Agency Project Management. He lives in NJ with his beautiful wife and serves on the board for a local non-profit charity group called Steps-Together.