Managing a creative workflow requires even more care and specificity than technical workflows.
That might sound like the opposite of creativity, but it’s not—good creative workflow management gives creative team members the boundaries that allow them to flourish and deliver exceptional work on time. The key is developing a process that’s regulated enough to boost efficiency and adaptable enough to be applied to various projects your company will work on.
If you’ve been struggling to optimize your creative team’s workflow, we can help.
Ways to optimize your creative workflow management
While all processes should be customized to your team and use case, here are some general guidelines.
Set baseline guidance
Before doing anything, you need to determine the rules for how your team should communicate and how often that communication should occur. For example, in an agency setting, it’s common for all communication regarding projects to occur through email. But if some team members prefer Slack and others prefer in-person communication, suddenly, you have dozens of siloed conversations happening.
Determine how your team communicates and about what (i.e., broader team milestones are communication via email, clarification within the task manager, and casual banter in a group thread) at the outset of every project. That way, everyone will have the necessary visibility to contribute through the final deliverable.
Establish routine client communication
This is common: a client gives your team a request, the team fulfills the request, and the deliverable is presented to the client.
But while standard, this pattern allows for far too much to go wrong and for misinterpretation of the client’s request to determine the outcome. Establish regular client communication and collaboration from the beginning. Include guidelines in the project brief. Managing these expectations will pay dividends in client satisfaction.
Assume something will go wrong
Projects rarely go exactly as planned—something will likely go wrong. So plan for it. Consider having principals and backups and pad your timeline to anticipate the unforeseeable. That way you won’t get too thrown off when something changes and you can still experience success overall.
Detail role expectations
You may have a fantastic kickoff meeting that generates enthusiasm and great ideas among your team. But it will have been a waste if no one knows what they’re supposed to do after the meeting ends. Creatives thrive when provided guidelines and expectations, so write down who’s responsible for what at the onset of a project. Assign deadlines, giving plenty of room for autonomous work when possible.
Document the process
Many project managers assume everyone understands the plan without ever realizing there are confused team members. Documenting projects and processes allows every stakeholder to understand their role and provides visibility that can help pinpoint (and mitigate) problems. It also makes it easier to transition operations as people move in and out of the company, and it aligns your team as technology, roles, and processes change.
Write a solid creative brief
A good creative brief can make or break a project. The best briefs are thorough enough to allow room for creativity while still providing the guiding framework.
A great creative brief likely includes:
- List of terms: Terms help align everyone so you’re on the same page from the start.
- Client and title: This includes the project’s title, description, and the client requesting it all.
- Competitive research and background: Why is the client requesting this project? What are competitors doing? What’s the history of the product?
- Roles: List who’s in charge of what.
- Timeline: What’s due and when?
- Budget: What resources are available? What constraints is the team working with?
- Audience: Who is the project figuratively speaking to? How will they see it?
- Deliverables: What’s ultimately being produced?
Utilize task management software
There’s no reason not to utilize task management software. It allows visibility into everyone’s projects and maintains records of communication history within specific tasks. It is crucial for pinpointing exactly what went wrong and when, and it’s also an efficient way for creatives to upload their deliverables and get approvals. It’s much more efficient than trying to track down specific owners of documents or images manually.
Attempting to proceed with projects without task management software often results in mismanagement, missed deadlines, and a lack of clarity. The right software solution can overhaul your creative team's entire operation, and it’s well worth the initial training time.
Optimize your creative workflow management with Lucidspark
You don’t need to start from scratch. Lucidspark has dozens of templates and helpful resources to make your workflow easier. For example, check out our workflow template. It’s helpful for keeping track of all the moving parts and their accompanying approvals within a single workspace. The document management template will help you define and implement a documentation process. Or, explore the workflow timeline template, which will guide you in tracking and managing campaigns, designs, documents, and administrative tasks.
A creative team is only as good as the processes guiding it. And luckily, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to supercharge your workflow: Lucidspark has a treasure trove of resources and templates to help you every step of the way.
Learn more about how Lucidspark can help you optimize your workflow diagram software.Go now
Lucidspark, a cloud-based virtual whiteboard, is a core component of Lucid Software's Visual Collaboration Suite. This cutting-edge digital canvas brings teams together to brainstorm, collaborate, and consolidate collective thinking into actionable next steps—all in real time. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucidspark.com.
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