4 Keys to Keep Your Creative Design Team Sane

Creative designers have many special talents but being a magician is not one of them. Sometimes designers can be pushed to the brink with the numerous vague requests to “work their magic” or just quickly “whip something up”. To keep stress to a minimum and to keep your creative team from disappearing here are 4 best practices you can implement in your creative agency.

1. Vanish Ghost Scope

When a sales manager first discusses the possibility of doing work with a client the conversation is usually big and bold and dreamy. It’s that romance phase where everything is possible and all ideas float around like clouds on a beautiful summer day. But eventually the hard cold truth of time and budget set in and projects are pulled back to reality. But sometimes the quote gets caught between the two worlds and it’s not explicitly clear what is actually included in the quote.

In your quote, always include a scope and price for what you have agreed upon and include the scope and price for other projects that were discussed but are not moving forward at this time. This helps ensure that you don’t have a ghost project in your scope that you aren’t aware of. It also is a good selling tool because it lets your clients know what the cost of future work would be and provides a reason for your sales person to follow up upon completion of the project.

2. Don’t Be Brief With Your Briefs

I may sound like a broken record here, but if your briefs are not overflowing with details and extra notes with comments in the margin, then you might want to go back and add a few more details. As a creative designer there is nothing worse than hearing “work your creative magic” with no details or a very brief creative brief. Check out this blog post for the full lowdown on writing effective creative briefs.

3. Get Progressive About Project Approvals

If your projects are not being approved at multiple stages it’s very easy to get way off track and over budget before you know it. It also makes it really hard for a designer to incorporate other ideas or take criticism about their work on the project because they are often too far into the process before they get any feedback.

Use a progressive approval system including a creative brief approval where the first step in any project is to read the creative brief and approve or flag it. Then allow for wireframe input/approval round with the creative team so there is opportunity for input from the team. Lastly, have a wireframe approval round with the client before the bulk of the work is done and then use all the standard final approval milestones.

These extra progressive approval steps can seem a little much but if you work on refining them you’ll really help the creative team get the input they need in the early stages, which will help keep projects in budget and help your designers stay enlivened instead of burnt out.

4. Track and Share

How are your designers managing their projects? Are they on time and on budget? How well is the design studio managing projects over all? It’s very important to track how well your design team is doing and to celebrate the wins and fix the losses. It’s important for designers to know how they are doing overall otherwise a nightmare project can ruin their perspective on their contribution to the company.

If you don’t have an easy system to track your project hours and budgets project management software might be a great tool for you to utilize. Find out more about Function Point.

Cheryl Chung

Cheryl Chung

UX / Interaction Architect

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