Dependencies do more than just manage the order in which work is completed. Read on for the top 5 benefits your team can get from Dependencies.
Often, creative teams find that for certain projects or campaigns they need to define a particular order in which the work should be completed. However, using Dependencies to structure the flow of work for a project or campaign has benefits that go beyond simple task ordering. Read on for 5 benefits of using dependencies in your creative workflow:
- Manage the order of work
- Know exactly what you should be working on (but still see everything)
- Get notified when work becomes available
- Increase visibility across connected teams
- Become more agile
Manage the order of work
Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of Dependencies is the ability it gives project managers to control the order in which work is completed. This is a significant benefit for both large and small creative teams. Large teams often spread the work for a single project or campaign over several different team members. This can create confusion when on person starts a task not realizing that they need another team member to complete related work first. For example, if a team is preparing to go to a trade show where they will hand out swag, the team member in charge of ordering the swag may need budget approval from accounting first. If they jump the gun and order swag before the budget gets approved, that could throw a serious wrench in the project.
Small teams benefit from dependencies as well. While small teams can have an easier time communicating on projects because everyone tends to be involved in everything, the truth is that on small teams a few people are juggling many tasks and moving quickly. By setting up dependencies in inMotion ignite, they can feel confident that they are moving quickly and focused on the right things.
Know exactly what you should be working on (but still see everything)
Speaking of focus…
Busy creative teams of all sizes often have to deal with competing priorities. Defining dependencies within a project or campaign can help your team be more focused by literally removing work that isn’t ready for them from their view. With Dependencies in inMotion ignite, team members can filter out work that is blocked by a dependency in their work views.
Just as importantly, team members can also choose to see a full list of their work, including blocked tasks, which are indicated as blocked with an icon. This flexibility means team members can anticipate what is coming down the pike, but also benefit from an uncluttered view of what work is ready now.
Get notified when work becomes available
Just as important as clearing blocked tasks from view is knowing when those tasks are ready to be worked on. Teams members can relax knowing that inMotion ignite will notify them when one of their colleagues has completed a blocking task, making their own task available for work. Both email and in-app notifications ensure that nothing ever slips through the cracks.
Increase visibility across connected teams
How many times have we heard the age-old “but I was waiting on you to finish before I started on my part!”? When separate teams are working on the same project, it can be really easy to lose track of who needs to do what and in what order. By setting up dependent relationships between tasks, teams can get more clarity on how their work impacts not only their immediate team members, but also co-workers on other teams.
Returning to our example of the marketing team needing to order swag for a trade show, before the events marketing manager can determine what the swag will be, they need budget approval from accounting. By setting up the task “Swag Budget Approval” as a blocker to the “Determine Swag” task, accounting can see that their task is blocking the “Determine Swag” task, and the events marketing manager can see that their task is blocked by accounting’s task “Swag Budget Approval”. This means both teams have full visibility into how their work relates to others, and can prioritize accordingly.
Become more agile
One of the great things about setting up dependent relationships within a project or a campaign is that it makes you really consider which tasks need to be completed in a particular order and which can be completed in parallel.
One of the important tenants of Agile methodologies is not letting one set of tasks unnecessarily hold up another tasks from being completed. Does the designer really need to wait on the copywriter to finalize the copy, or can they start the design with just an anticipated word count?
Certainly, there are often tasks that do need to be completed in sequence, and being able to build that structure into projects and campaigns is the key to keeping creative work moving. Its just as important to identify which tasks don’t require that structure, so that team members don’t spend time waiting around when they can go ahead and get started on new work.
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.