Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2011 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Many in the creative industry 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 a conflict when there is more than one account executive vying for the agency’s resources.
The Agency Workflow Struggle
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 AEs, which is an obvious drain on the creatives and distracts them from doing what they do best to keep the agency profitable.
One solution is for agencies to bring in a traffic manager, someone who is responsible for scheduling all jobs and moving them through the various stages of development. Every day, the traffic manager reviews each job within the organization and utilizes the agency’s chosen project management software to keep track of the job status. The traffic manager does the workflow management to keep track of the task dependencies when one task falls behind it may be necessary to reschedule many tasks.
The Traffic Manager
Traffic managers often take on some bookkeeping responsibility as they see a job through payables and the stages of invoicing. On top of this, they may also be involved in estimating agency time, pricing agency services, and working with freelancers, outside producers and vendors.
In growing agencies, this can be a hectic position and there is the potential for quality of work to suffer. This is why many experts in advertising management recommend creating the role of Product Manager. This role helps 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.
Free Your Time
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 agency owner does the role of Production Manager or Traffic Manager or both; this of course, would keep the owner involved in the daily operations of the company and away from their role in strategic planning and monitoring agency profitability. If the Traffic Manager role or the Production Manager role are 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.
Our software was designed in part to alleviate the chaotic nature of traffic management at an ad agency. Function Point is an online project management software created specifically for creative agencies in mind. Features of Function Point allow you to quickly build estimates, track activities 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.