Traffic Managers, Production Managers and roles at your Agency.
Read time: 4 minutes
Many in the creative business have heard the titles “Traffic Manager” and “Production Manager”; however, some agencies have forgone these individual roles altogether. Some smaller agencies have Account Executives or the Principal in charge of overseeing the Jobs for their clients; this inevitably results in conflict when there is more than one Account Executive vying for the Agency’s resources. These Account Executives are less interested in project management and more interested in moving their project through to completion so they can move on to their next commissioned sale. The creative team is left to decide how to prioritize the work put forward by the AE’s, this is an obvious drain on the creatives and distracts them from doing what they do best to keep the Agency profitable.
The first thing a small agency does when they can afford to bring on a Traffic Manager, which is a post that is responsible for scheduling all jobs and moving them through the various stages of development. Each day the Traffic Manager reviews each Job within the organization and updates the status in the Online Project Management software. The Traffic Manager does the workflow management to keep track of the Task Dependencies, when one task falls behind it may be necessary reschedule many tasks, it may even make sense for a Traffic Manager to lump tasks from different Jobs together for efficiency. Traffic Manager often takes on some bookkeeping responsibility as they see a Job through Payables and Invoicing stages. In growing agencies this can be a hectic position and alleviating the chaotic nature of Traffic management at an Ad Agency is one of the key goals of our Web Based Project Management Software, Function Point.
But in small agencies there are more responsibilities assigned to Traffic Managers then just the aforementioned Job Tracking, such as Estimating agency time, pricing Agency services and working with freelancers, outside producers and vendors. Estimating time and pricing Agency services are tasks that require an intimate knowledge of the different roles within the company and it would be burdensome and distracting for Traffic Manager to keep up to date with such in-depth knowledge of the agency’s process and maintain their high-level knowledge of where every job is within the organization. Once you add overseeing freelancers and managing relationships with outside vendors and producers to the mix it really becomes too much for the Traffic Manager and some work will suffer. This is why many experts in Advertising Management recommend creating the role, Production Manager to help Account Executives estimate and price the work they are trying to sell as well as help the Agency find the best deals and practices on Externals Cost.
Of course, I understand that having “Production Managers” and “Traffic Managers” is sometimes a luxury that small agencies cannot afford. Often I see organizations where the Principal does the role of Production Manager or Traffic Manager or both; this, of course, would keep the Principal involved in the daily operations of the company and away from their role in strategic planning and monitoring agency profitability. If either the Traffic Manager role or the Production Manager role is absent from your organization, be certain your Agency Management software does all that Function Point can do. Function Point has been designed for these roles specifically.
fp. has a feature for Production Managers that allows you to quickly build a new estimate based on a previous estimate for a completed job; the system will allow you to adjust the new Estimates values to the completed Jobs actual values. Production Managers can track skills of freelancers, make notes on outside vendors and much more. Traffic Managers will be marveled at the array of features to help them stay on top of the agency workflow and track the real inventory of an Agency, time.