Operational Excellence

What Causes You the Most Pain on Your Creative Projects?

by Brad Egeland, October 27, 2014

Everyone has their pain points. Everyone. No project goes off without a hitch and usually every project manager alive has something that they hate to do. Or something that could be easier I'd they had this option, or that policy, or a special tool, or a client that didn't do 'x', 'y', or 'z'.

I realize today that I am directing this at projects that fall in the creative industry genre like marketing, design, ad agencies and campaigns, etc. But it can apply to any project anywhere and anytime. So please consider this carefully. Look at you past experiences. See a pattern? It may be you...or it may be them...or it may be environmental and there's nothing you can do but cope or get out. But it's out there and you know what I'm taking about - so please share and discuss.

Now that I've gone into detail about what I want you to share, it's my turn. I'm going to share my main pain points with you.

Capturing the right high-level requirements as early as possible. Ideally, the project client comes in knowing what they want. I've worked on creative projects and getting clients to turn ideas and wants and needs into real high-level requirements that mean something and actually help speed up the detailed requirements phase is difficult if not nearly impossible. My teams and PM infrastructures have created forms that clients can fill out online to capture their project requests at the right detail to get productively started, but it’s never been quite right work quite enough. And asking for too much detail - like filling out detailed new patient forms in a doctor's office - just confuses them more. And it means they turn in a virtually blank form with just name, number and email filled out. A good solution for project or concept initiation would be helpful. Very.

The clients that disappear and expect the show to go on. Another one on my list is the client that hands you the project and then maintains almost no contact with you and your team. I know they have their own jobs to get back to, but unanswered emails can really stymie a project and when you find yourself at a crossroads and need client direction you don't want to take that next step because there's a 50-50 chance you'll go the wrong direction. That will mean re-work and an awkward discussion over whose fault it is and whether or not a change order is needed. Client engagement throughout the project is critical so that expectation must be appropriately set at kickoff. By the project manager. In every type of project. Period.

Call for action

Tell me what makes you cringe on most projects. What are your pet peeves? What could a tool solve if it had a certain capability? What process or client preparedness would make you sleep better at night? Lets discuss...maybe we can brainstorm and change the world.

Billy says that Workamajig helps him access files. And that where he did it is irrelevant.

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