Are you new to project management or could your creative agency benefit from integrating some project management processes into your workflows? No matter what it is, you’ve come to the right place. Oftentimes the term “project management” has a very specific meaning or association but project management is beneficial for any industry or team.
Project management is usually associated with certain kinds of industries. In several sectors, managing large teams and complex projects using a given set of protocols is a natural process. But some creative agencies shy away from incorporating the principles of project management because they fear that it will affect the creative thought process.
In a creative agency, a manager has to be both a leader and a mediator. They have to listen to everyone’s ideas, assess them on their merit, then, approve, reject, or modify them. The manager’s role is to ensure that team members are motivated to function at their best while keeping an objective view of the quality of their ideas. This is a challenging task.
Project management can make it easier. Simply having a process by which you take on and complete tasks and projects as well as having someone oversee the work can go a long way in keeping projects running smoothly. Here’s how you can implement project management in your creative agency.
Communication is crucial for any organization in any sector but it’s of the utmost importance in a creative agency. Ideation seldom follows a linear or predictable process. An idea can come from anywhere and at any time. People should have the freedom to freely discuss and share their ideas with their project managers.
All stakeholders in a creative agency should be informed of the status of a project and its sub-tasks. You can use email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and other collaborative tools to enhance collaboration. But too many incompatible applications can cause friction and dissuade people from using them.
What you need is a project management tool that makes it easy for people to share their work, get feedback, and communicate effortlessly. This is especially true for distributed teams. Heycollab’s messaging allows various teams in a creative agency to interact and transparently communicate with each other.
You can keep your remotely placed team connected with real-time messaging. There’s also one-on-one chat for specific projects or task-related communication. This removes the need for endless emails between teams.
Centralize project management
Emails are notoriously cumbersome and slow for efficient collaboration. Users would find it difficult to find relevant information in long email threads and there’s every chance that people would miss vital points or feedback. What you need is a centralized project management tool that makes it easy to communicate and collaborate.
The software you select should show you project status as tasks move through the system. While there are programs out there, creative agencies will immensely benefit from one that’s intuitive and easy to use. With Heycollab, you can create dedicated workspaces for various teams or projects. This allows you to segment work and delegate resources.
Any good project management software should also remove redundancies and that’s what Heycollab does through boards and tasks. You can duplicate boards for the same client or clients with similar project requirements. Instead of recreating, teams can also copy tasks of similar projects. This is how you scale your creative output and grow your agency.
Balance creativity with operations management
Some managers may find it difficult to manage creative professionals. They might come across as stubborn, unreliable, and whimsical. Ask anyone who’s tasked with creating something and you will hear the other side of the story. Managers don’t understand their challenges and treat creative work like any other administrative chore.
So, how do you combine creativity with operations management? Start with open communication. Convey to creatives the challenges the client’s facing and the pressures they have put on the client-facing account management side. In turn, managers should know the workload of creatives and the unique challenges they face.
As an agency manager tasked with managing creative professionals, it will be helpful to get answers to the following questions:
- Are creatives briefed well with brand guidelines and previous work references?
- Do you encourage them to ask questions and do you answer all of them?
- Are creatives satisfied with the existing workflow?
- Do you have people with the right skills for your projects?
- Do the creatives have the right software and hardware?
- Are there any processes, words, or phrases they’re uncomfortable with?
Managing the creative process requires empathy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t implement project management principles to optimize your agency’s processes, reduce inefficiencies, increase collaboration, and increase productivity.