Project Management

Stop a Crisis Before it Starts: Tracking the Creative Project

by David Arnold, February 5, 2016

Tracking a creative project from inception to completion can be a doozy. Whether you’re working for a lean, mean startup or a multi-location, million-dollar firm, it can be tricky to prioritize tasks when your resources all believe that their contributions are the most important piece of the puzzle.

Without an effective workflow, projects can get lumped into that ever-growing heap of unorganized deliverables. And this ambiguity can lead to a crisis (to put it lightly).

Instead of lamenting over lost work and missed opportunities, use the following ideas to track your creative projects.

Know Your Flow

With some firms, approval workflow, or the routing of information to project teams and stakeholders, is decided on an ad hoc basis. While projects are influenced by myriad factors—who the client is, the specifics of the deliverables, how success is measured, how big your client’s budget is, etc—not having a formalized, documented workflow can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications.

Yes, the variety of your approval workflow is contingent on the size, complexity, and structure of your organization. However, there are some questions that can help standardized the process:

  • Who are your clients?
  • What kind of campaigns are you producing for your client base?
  • For each campaign, who needs to provide feedback?
  • What kinds of feedback are required?

Answering these questions can help document workflow for each project that is being created by your team. And deciding on a project’s approval workflow will help guide your team in the right direction.

When you know exactly where your work is going, it becomes much easier to track its progress—and completion.

Pay Attention to Your Creative Brief

Let’s face it: there are numerous steps between creation and final approval that dictate your project’s overall success. And assigning concise, understandable action items to all members of your project team throughout a project’s duration will help ensure an effective workflow.

The first step? An effective creative brief. It’s important to identify who will be approving the messaging and deliverables. Who is your target audience? How will you define success? From there, you should start identifying your objectives and your communication plan—or how you will track your resource’s progress.

An effective creative brief outlines quantifiable expectations and outlines how your organization plans on measuring ROI. In other words, it provides your team with a clear understanding of your project’s workflow—and how you plan to measure and predict the production process.

Automate the Details

Traditionally, the job of project managers can be a little tedious. However, thanks to fully integrated, robust project management software, tracking the success of a project has never been easier. Gone are the days of scheduling snafus and lost project specs. The best software enables project managers to simplify internal processes and stay on top of their individual resources.

From showing creative team availability to storing crucial project information, project management software makes tracking your projects a breeze.

 

About The Author

David studied at the Northern AZ University & spent years working with agencies like J. Walter Thompson and McCann-Erickson and Fortune 100 companies in Tokyo.

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