How to maintain a creative process throughout the project lifecycle.
Throughout a project life-cycle, there are numerous peaks and valleys to manage. The process entails more than just using the right project management software and following a tried and tested pathway. Being in the creative industry we must strive to innovate and think of new ideas for optimal flow of a project.
For many of us creatives it is advisable to steer clear from formal project management due to fear of constraints and diminishing the creative process. And yet, there aren’t many alternative processes to keep the flow in place, resulting in a project with stalled jobs, team discord and client dissatisfaction. If not the traditional approach a set of loose guidelines should be in place to reach the desired end result
Set The Tone
Collaborative kick off meetings with both the client and internal teams allow critical information to seep through which should then be turned to a creative brief. Many creatives tend to bypass the use of a creative brief because of the complexity in creating them. Pairing gathered information down to simple and straightforward points isn’t exactly an easy task, we all know simplicities is not easily accomplished.
A few guidelines and ‘who, what, where, when’s’ can help to structure information and get everyone on the ‘same page’. These implementations can be scaled for agency to improve workflow as a part of a project management process.
A creative brief can be a set of questions posed to a client, or the union of information gathered by the agency presented to a client.
Understanding the need of a particular project is key, which is why putting the right heads in place to implement the job correctly is critical. The right placement of people and the correct task allocations can make or break a project.
We all know, not everyone is good at dealing with clients, so put the client facing people at the front lines. Make sure you involve all your team members involved with the project in kick-off meetings and creative briefs so that everyone have a clear view of the job. We have a habit of involving everyone, including our finance personnel to sit in our kick-off meetings, this allows us to capture external people’s point of view. This has been a fruitful tactic for us, and have shown us time and time again that ideas can come from anyone, doesn’t have only have to be from creatives.
Ensuring that the team is communicating is critical to making resource management work, which is why we have communication platform in place so that everyone involved with a project can see all the communications, brainstorming ideas, even doodles.
Remain Deliverables Driven
For many projects, an iterative route can be ideal, but not all projects have the budget to support extended versioning. When it comes to creative works it’s very easy to loose track of the end result. Creatives have seen to divert away from the actual issue and completely miss the deliverables. The goal and the end result should always be in view. Identifying the desired end-result and determining the appropriate course of action before the project really gets moving can actually free up space for wider creativity. With a set of project boundaries creatives can experience a heightening flexibility.
Ad a project comes to an end, it’s easy to jump on to the next project or agency deliverable. It however is very important to take a step back and conduct a project hindsight. This will allow the team to take a moment and reveal if a project was competed properly or allow them to identify any pitfalls that emerged.
Always ensure the assets are provided to the client to update their digital or print portfolio so that their identity can be kept consistent and up to date.
All the above steps point to a team’s understanding of the client goals and the project. However, do remember every agency is different, they have different personnel, different culture and different working methodology; but one thing in common would be we all are required to understand the goal and communicate efficiently to ensure the project wraps up on a success note.