Implementing process flows in creative agencies? That may sound like an oxymoron. Isn’t creativity all about free thinking and contrarian ideas? Won’t SOPs or process flows stifle the process?
But agencies that have incorporated process flows have discovered increased productivity, collaboration, and a demonstrable improvement in the quality of their products.
Like any project management tool, process flows can be dangerous when used poorly. This is especially true for creative agencies because the last thing you want is to hinder the organic processes through which creativity flourishes.
When mindlessly applied, SOPs can create bland and identical work in agencies. That’s why it’s important to understand what we mean by creative project management.
What is creative project management?
Creative project management refers to the framework that ensures that creative work is done on time and that it meets pre-determined objectives. It seeks to standardize the process from the initial briefing to ideation, execution, feedback, approval, and delivery.
With a creative process flow, it’s easier to track the status of a project according to its timeframe and make space for revisions. It also gives you the space and time for both internal and external approvals.
Agencies that deploy creative project management also ensure that internal resources are optimally allocated. Everyone from creative directors to account managers to copywriters would know their roles on projects.
The reporting structure would be clear and there won’t be unnecessary delays.
The 6 facets of creative process flows
If you’re considering implementing process flows in your creative agency, these are the six aspects that you should pay attention to.
Creative process flows will be successful when they have dedicated project managers. It will be their responsibility to allocate resources, discuss and finalize timelines, and be the liaison between various departments and between the agency and the client.
The project manager will coordinate the review and approval process, ensuring that the creative team has the sufficient team to incorporate the revisions.
The project team should know what they’re expected to deliver. It could be a social media post, logo, app design, or other campaign assets.
The problem arises when more outcomes are later attached to the project. This can put pressure on team members and affect the timeline.
Every project is divided into tasks with clearly assigned roles and deadlines for team members. The time needed for different aspects shouldn’t be equitably divided.
Ideation can take longer than revisions, for example.
Heycollab makes it easy to assign tasks and subtasks to teammates so that they can easily understand their contributions to the goals. By breaking down the larger tasks, the software allows teams to better understand the project as a whole.
These are individuals involved in the project. There will be both external and internal stakeholders who have to collaborate according to the creative process flow.
It’s important to have a defined number of stakeholders at the beginning of every project.
While implementing new process flows in your agency, the team, especially the project manager, should track the progress of the project and incorporate updates and suggestions.
A crucial moment in a project lifecycle is when the client sees the deliverables and gives their input. Once the process is streamlined, it will be easier to allocate resources.
The project lifecycle ends with the final delivery of the deliverables. When the client approves the products, the creative team can take on the next project and its deliverables.
It’s a good idea to get together and analyze what went right and what could have been improved at the end of every project.
Finding the balance in creative process flows
Implementing SOPs in a creative agency is different from implementing them in other sectors. Process flows can help creative systems stay organized and deliver work on time with optimal resource allocation.
But for that, they have to be judiciously applied, taking into account the peculiar needs and realities of creative agencies.
The primary purpose of an SOP is to standardize processes and outcomes. It’s to ensure the consistency of quality in the deliverables. By equipping the creative and account management teams with the necessary resources, the creative process flow can unlock their potential.
But there is such a thing as too much planning.
Too many processes can burden the creative team. When there are unnecessary tasks, needless reviews, and routine chores, creativity can get stifled. This will affect both the quality of the product and the morale of the team.
This is another area where the right software can be of immense help. Heycollab comes with Board Templates that allow your team to repeat processes and tasks for specific clients and projects.
A functional creative process flow enabled by the appropriate software can lead to cohesive functioning, better collaboration, and high-quality products in creative agencies.