Creative Agency Processes: Why Build a Timeline?
Read time: 4 minutes
Work is coming in fast and furious. Everyone is busy. Business is profitable. Life is good. What happens if a delivery date changes? Or a team member is out sick but their work can’t wait? What if the client wants a presentable peek at how things are going on their job? Well — if you were making use of timelines, little hiccups such as these would roll by like water off a duck’s back.
Please review this quick list of good reasons to build timelines for all of your jobs.
Quick and Easy
Timelines can be built quickly, eliminating the “I just don’t have time” excuse. Systems such as Function Point allow for common timelines to be copied, as well as timeline templates to be built, so as to not eat up your day reinventing the wheel, every time work comes in. A good timeline is a good investment – input time at the start to get it created, and save time as the work progresses.
Get on the Same Page
The staff are great, but they’re not clairvoyant. (Gosh forbid they know what you really think of their interpretation of “corporate casual”). So they need to be looped in on what’s due now and what might be coming down the track. Through the use of timelines you can control the flow of work to the team while giving them the opportunity to gain intel on the job as a whole, and what’s in the pipeline with their name on it.
Manage Resources on the Fly
Staff get sick. Until reasonably priced robots can do more than vacuum and chase the cat, sickness is an eventuality. A timeline, especially in a workflow management system like FP, will allow you to efficiently move tasks to other available team members. Your work can continue, and staff can get better with a little less of a guilty conscience.
As the only guarantees in life are birth, death and taxes, you can bet that a work due date is rarely set in stone. When that due date moves, for the entire job, or a phase of the job, are you able to quickly adapt and carry that adaptation through to your team? Timelines with sophisticated date features mean you can shift some or all of the tasks within the timeline out as needed, and even keep the tasks landing on the days of the week your office is open. All within a couple of clicks to save you valuable time.
Get the Bigger Picture
Ask any friendly eagle and they’ll tell you — the view from up high is clear. A timeline can give you that eagle eye view, allow you to ensure the deadlines you’re setting are reasonable and feasible, and that all aspects of the work have been included and ordered soundly.
One Enter Data Once
Software systems that include timeline functionality (such as FP) allow for the content entered at the timeline level to be reusable. Information entered in the timeline becomes time track-able tasks to the staff. This information feeds your reports including staff utilization reports, resource allocation views and more.
I have a boss. My boss has a boss. Heck even my boss’s boss has a boss. If the “upper-ups” want to know what’s going on with agency work a well maintained timeline can provide a snapshot of where the job stands. For your in house stakeholders, who may have even less time to spare than you, this is pretty huge.
Talk to your FP point of contact, look over our training materials or reach out to the training team to learn more about building timelines. It can be well worth your efforts.