According to a recent survey from inMotionNow of how creative teams are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, 43% of creative teams that don’t currently have a creative workflow management system in place plan to acquire one in 2020. That’s because seamless creative workflow management is key for creative teams who need to meet aggressive demand for volume and speed of creative work, without sacrificing quality.
However, many teams hesitate to invest in creative workflow or even take advantage of extended free trials because they worry that it will take too long to see results from the new system. In fact, creative teams that implement a creative workflow management solution start seeing positive impacts to their workflows almost immediately.
Here are 12 ways that a creative workflow management platform can improve your workflow in 60 days or less.
51% of creatives report that their creative briefing process is neither comprehensive nor collaborative. A few simple steps to improve your request intake process will jump-start your entire workflow.
1. Start getting all the information you need to start projects on the first try. Start with identifying all the different types of work requests your team receives from stakeholders and all the information you need to kick off a project. Then translate that into forms that requesters must fill out to submit a work request. This means you can get started on work faster, rather than chasing down requesters that submit incomplete briefs.
2. Increase collaboration with requesters. Creative teams are more than just a “set of hands.” They are strategic problems solvers that stakeholders should view as partners. Creative workflow management platforms, like inMotion ignite, provide features like request dashboards, threaded comments, and request sharing so that its easy for creative teams to collaborate and increase transparency with stakeholders.
3. Centralize the request details as the north star for the project. Purpose-built creative workflow management solutions know how important the initial creative brief is to the success of the entire project. That is why they automatically connect requests to associated work, so that all participants in a project can refer back to the initial request throughout the lifetime of the project.
Contrary to popular opinion, the actual management of projects is not the area of creative workflow management that causes the most trouble for creative teams. That being said, having the right project management tools that integrate seamlessly with the request intake and review and approval stages of the creative workflow can go a long way towards building a more efficient creative workflow.
4. Easily keep track of everything you’re working on. For busy creative teams there is always the danger that one project or proof slips through the cracks. A good creative project management solution will help each team member keep track of all their projects and their due dates with personalized dashboards and work spaces so they can focus less on juggling and more on designing brilliant creative.
5. Get a clear visual of all the team’s projects. Oftentimes, the easiest way for a team to keep track of all their collective work is to leverage visualizations, like Gantt views, Kanban boards, or calendars to see at-a-glance where each project is at.
6. Allocate resources more effectively. Accepting new projects can be a bit of a landmine if you don’t have a strong understanding of how your team’s time is allocated. As soon as you start logging their time in a resource management solution however, you can immediately start making smarter decisions about project timelines and workload distribution.
Review & Approval
Sending proofs out for review is a defining aspect of creative work and can be quite challenging for teams that don’t have the right tools.
7. Get clear actionable feedback, all in one place. The problem with sending a proof out for review via print, email, or even a rudimentary mark-up tool is that it’s hard to get high quality feedback that your team can take action on. Additionally, you often are forced to consolidate feedback from multiple reviewers that is duplicative, contradictory, or raises more questions than it answers. With an online proofing solution built with creative teams in mind, you will immediately see better quality, actionable feedback on the first proof.
8. Get feedback quickly. The only thing worse than getting confusing feedback on a proof is being stuck waiting on it. Creative workflow management platforms offer automated solutions to help you get your feedback on time. Features like automatic review reminders chase the reviewers for you, so you can focus on productive tasks instead.
9. Establish Immediate accountability. Ever had creative work go live in a campaign, only to realize a crucial approver didn’t sign off? Avoid those moments with a creative workflow management platform that tracks review statuses so you have an audit trail to confirm that you did get sign off and prevent unapproved work from going out the door.
43% of creative teams don’t regularly track key operational metrics. Reporting may not seem like the most exciting or creative part of the job, but it’s crucial to track key metrics so that you can continually improve your process. A few immediate benefits of implementing a creative workflow management platform with reporting include:
10. Get access to metrics. If your team is not currently using a single, end-to-end creative workflow management platform, then you are missing out on a lot of data. Having a platform that is actively recording key data, like submitted requests, cycle time on reviews, and total project duration, means that you can start acting on that data to improve your process. Just getting access to the data is already a huge step forward.
11. Discover how long different project types take to complete. The first step to meeting deadlines is to set reasonable ones. In order to do that, you need to know how long different types of work take to complete. You can start getting an understanding of project length after just a few projects go through your new creative workflow management system.
12. Identify bottlenecks. Going a step beyond simple total project time, you can also look at how much time was spent in each stage of a project, or how much time a proof spent in review, or which reviewers are taking the longest to complete reviews. Once you know where projects are getting hung up, you can take steps to clear the way and keep work on track to hit deadlines.
If your creative team is looking for ways to optimize their creative workflow, but are hesitant to take the first steps, rest assured that there is a lot you an accomplish with a new system is as little as 60 days. To help creative teams jump-start their creative workflow, inMotion ignite is offering a free trial, so you can start seeing results ASAP!
Elise Hauser is a product and content marketer with a passion for telling brand stories. She has produced inMotionNow’s annual In-House Creative Management Report for 3 years, webinars, content sessions for major industry events reaching audiences of 1,000+, and of course, countless blog posts. When Elise isn’t writing about the marketing and creative industry at inMotionNow she is teaching economics and hanging out with her cat, Tucker, at her home in Raleigh, NC.