Your big project has a hard deadline in just a few weeks. You host a kickoff meeting with your creative dream team to discuss what needs to get done and by when, while the attendees actively jot down notes and ask questions.
A week later you discover your team didn't quite understand the project after all. There's confusion around responsibilities, "completed" work has missing pieces, and some critical tasks haven't even been started. And then there's the team member who was absent from the kickoff and never quite caught up. Your team's barely had a chance to get started, and they're already behind.
What do you do?
It's not uncommon for creative teams to feel overwhelmed, miscommunicate, and then lose track of responsibilities — especially if things are only communicated verbally during a meeting. But if you can recognize where your team struggles, you can fix the problem before it's too late.
Use these five tips to boost your creative team's productivity:
1. Go Virtual
As surprising as it sounds, virtual teams can often be more productive than co-located teams.
In a study on working environments, 80 teams from the United States, South America, Europe, and Asia proved that virtual teams can perform with higher efficiency and productivity. This is because when teams are working virtually from all around the globe, the project never really sleeps.
It's a workflow known as "Follow the Sun." When the end of the work day arrives for some team members, their tasks are handed off to their teammates in a different time zone. Progress is made round-the-clock, and the project can be completed faster.
Another benefit: team members in varied locations offer different perspectives. This becomes especially useful when team members are located near customers, since they can meet with those customers and provide their insights.
2. Delegate Big Projects
Smart delegation goes a long way in creative teams.
If you have one or two top performers on your team, it's tempting to just give them all the responsibility. However, this can overwhelm them, and they might not have the bandwidth to get everything done up to standard. Plus, other team members may resent you for making them feel disposable.
Yes, you will have employees who are more experienced than others, but try to assign tasks based on strengths — or skills you know your team members want to sharpen. Soon enough, your entire team roster will be full of all-stars!
Watch this 4:42 video by Colin Boyd on his P.A.T. Delegation system where P stands for purpose, A for action, and T for timeframe:
3. Don't Rely on Team Meetings
Team meetings are great for project kickoffs and initial brainstorming sessions, but frequent meetings can quickly become a time sink.
And there is no guarantee that everyone's questions or requests are being addressed during your meetings. Creative teams need to communicate throughout the project so that questions can be answered as they arise, instead of three days later when a meeting is scheduled.
As team leader, you must lead the way by communicating constantly. Using the right technology allows team leaders to stay in touch with their team outside of meetings.
One of our most recognizable Wrike customers, Redfoo, is constantly traveling and often unable to attend team meetings. To solve the communication roadblocks, he uses our project management tool to manage his music and clothing businesses, and stay updated with project progress. He frequently checks project updates and answers questions from his team on his phone via the Wrike mobile app.
Watch this 4:40 video on how Redfoo uses Wrike for meetings. The pertinent section starts at 1:05.
4. Diversify Your Team
This isn't as simple as getting several people's opinions on your work. Studies show that it's ideal to have a 50/50 gender mix on a business team. One reason is because both men and women tend to struggle with contributing confidently when they are in the minority.
This quick 34-second video explains three reasons why a mixed gender team would lead to better productivity:
It's also good to have a mix of personality traits on your creative team. This allows for diversity in thinking and communicating, and it broadens the creative boundaries of the team itself.
We recently asked a group of founders for their tips on company success, and one said: "We have several differing personalities, but the temperaments are similar. That means we can all agree to disagree on many issues, yet still walk away without a lot of emotion and negativity."
5. Review "Lessons Learned"
It's a common misconception that once a project is completed there is nothing more to do. But don't just walk away once the project is delivered!
After the round of high-fives, go back through your process and evaluate what worked and what didn't. What communications fell through? How can you communicate better next time? Was this the most effective way to share new designs? Did everyone on the team feel like they had enough time to complete their tasks?
These are just a few starter questions that should be addressed with your team in order to optimize future projects and ensure successful delivery every time.
This 6:13 video thoroughly explains how to do a "Lessons Learned" session at the end of your project:
Creative Teams Can Work Better Together
How does your creative team boost productivity and get collaborative work done faster? Share your favorite creative team productivity boosters in the comments!
5 Ways Creative Teams Can Boost Productivity