Mid-year review and planning is an important tool to help creative teams refine process, track progress towards strategic goals and objectives, and review resource allocation for the rest of the year.
While most in-house creative teams will go through annual review and planning each year, many teams neglect to take the time to do a mid-year assessment and second half planning. However, for creative teams that want to take on a more strategic, rather than transactional, role within their organization, it is imperative to take the time in the middle of the year to review and plan. Here are some of the key objectives your creative team should aim to accomplish during a mid-year review and planning session.
1. Q1 & Q2 Wins and Lessons Learned. Mid-year is a good time for teams to take a look at projects completed during the first two quarters of the year and identify wins and areas for improvement. By looking at completed projects, the team can celebrate accomplishments, but also identify areas for process improvements across the entire project life cycle. For example, is creative getting all the information they need up front with the initial request? What phase of the project takes the longest? Are certain reviewers consistently holding up projects from being completed?
2. Progress towards annual goals. What are the bigger goals and objectives for the creative team in 2018, beyond just a future project list? How is the team progressing towards meeting those goals? Take this opportunity to expand beyond just a list of upcoming projects in Q3 and Q4, to think strategically about what objectives the creative team hopes to accomplish by the end of the year. At many organizations in-house creative teams are often viewed as productive machines, churning out creative assets on-demand. However, this view of creative benefits neither the creative team or their clients. Creative teams need to forge stronger bonds with their in-house clients and stakeholders by building collaborative, strategic relationships. Part of this involves the creative team having strategic, big picture goals that go beyond a project-to-project leapfrog.
If your creative team doesn’t have those big-picture objectives, now is a good time to start talking about them. Don’t wait until next year’s planning to start thinking strategically. Start a conversation as a team now about what those strategic objectives might look like. Pick a few small things that the team agrees can be accomplished in 6 months, and start working towards those goals.
Some examples of strategic goals and objectives for creative teams include:
– Streamline project request intake to have all necessary information at project kickoff.
– Reduce time creatives spend on administrative tasks by 20%.
– Develop a deeper, more collaborative relationship with key stakeholders, such as marketing.
– Begin tracking and reporting on key productivity metrics for the creative team.
3. Resource requirements. On a more tactical note, this is also an important time to take stock of the team’s upcoming projects for the rest of the year, and start planning what resources will need to be set aside to complete the workload. For example, if the company has a big conference or product initiative at the beginning of Q4, the creative team may need to identify time during Q3 that will be “all hands on deck”. Will that require overtime? Should the team bring on additional headcount, or hire a vendor to provide additional bandwidth? Identifying these potential pitfalls before starting the project can help the team avoid scrambling at the last minute to meet deadlines.
This is an area where reporting can come in handy. Understanding the team’s current workflow patterns and comparing those against the type and the amount of work that will be required of the team in the second half of the year can help creative leadership allocate resources appropriately, or request more if necessary.
The half-way point in the year is a great time for creative teams to review progress towards goals for the year so far, query their current processes for greater efficiencies, and allocate resources for the rest of the year. By taking the time to review and plan half way through the year, creative teams can position themselves to be more strategic contributors within their organization.