Traffic, Project, Production, Studio Manager… There are lots of job titles for the person in your agency that traffics client work from start to finish. It doesn’t matter what title you give them, as long as they don’t end up being the Traffic Police. The Traffic or Studio Manager should be the grease that keeps projects moving through the agency and not the enforcers in a policed state. To avoid ending up with Traffic Police here are 5 handy dandy tips for creating a culture of accountability in your creative agency.
#1. Define the Rules of Engagement
Easy enough, right. Make sure everyone knows whose responsibility it is to do what. And write it down for everyone to see. If it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist! Moreover, make sure you abide by the rules. If it is the account manager’s responsibility to get all the creative materials together before the project heads to the production studio ensure that if an account manager is not following the rules that you don’t let it slide. Define the rules and stick with them.
#2. Work the Brief
The creative brief is the foundation for a great process, profitable jobs, a happy team and satisfied clients! So much attention should be given to a creative brief. Firstly, ensure that you have a great creative brief template (check out our blogs on Key Info for Creative Briefs or How to Write an Effective Creative Brief) and then make sure that the briefs are filled out correctly and completely (see tip #1).
#3. Ask Questions First, Shoot Later
When a creative brief is submitted, you need to look at it like a superhero. Say what? Well, you need to think of it as a mission that you choose to accept (or not). Meaning, before a studio designer takes on the mission of executing on a project brief, he or she needs to review the brief and flag any issues (not enough details, not enough client collateral, to big of a concept for the allotted time). And then, when the brief is thoroughly reviewed and approved she can take it on with full creative abandon! This way you don’t end up half way through a project with the designer discovering a major issue. So make sure the studio rule is to ask questions first, and then execute ONLY after the mission is clear.
#4. Timely Timesheets
Once a project hits the studio, make sure that everyone is accurately billing their time to the job, which often means ensuring they submit time billings hourly or at least daily. (Another blog on timesheets: Why Capture Time?)
#5. Automatic Notifications
To avoid having traffic managers turn into Traffic Police and having your design studio feel like someone is always breathing down their necks, create automatic notifications about upcoming due dates and milestones. This makes it easy for people to be responsible for their own work and doesn’t create a feeling of working in a policed state. Scheduled emails or a project management system also help automate this system. Of course, if you are interested in creating detailed schedules and mobile alerts, we are experts in that field, feel free to book a demo to see how we can help you with this.
Go forth, be creative and be accountable.
This article was contributed by former Function Point employee, Jehanne Burns