In a perfect world, creatives would spend 100% of their time doing what they love: write, design, film, build, and create! However, this isn't the reality for most creatives. There are client requests, feedback, edits, and meetings on top of meetings. Some creatives don't even have enough time left to actually be creative. What's the solution to this?
To be honest, there must be a change in perspective before there is a change in action. If creatives and clients continue to look at a job as their own masterpiece, nothing is going to get done and no one is going to be happy with the end result. When expectations are set from the very beginning and visibility is clear throughout the project cycle, there are no surprises and feedback is simple and direct.
If you are a creative, you are a project manager whether you like it or not. Change your perspective and take action by adopting a project management tool with the following:
1. File Tracking
Sending files over email is messy and highly outdated. If you have a million files named "draft_FINAL(1)" in your downloads, you know what I'm talking about. Over email, it's difficult to keep track of the latest versions of files and graphics. When searching for a PM tool, file versioning makes it easy to always have instant access to the latest version. Archiving files in a PM tool also makes it easy to retrieve documents quickly for clients without digging through email threads.
2. Instant Communication
The ability to communicate in real time helps keep feedback consistent and up-to-date. When changes are requested to a project last minute because a key stakeholder was left out of an email thread, the whirlwind of blame and accountability erupts with a bang and everyone has to rush to implement new feedback before the deadline. With a PM tool, everyone is shared on the project from the beginning, so stakeholders can follow the project cycle and make sure everything is running smoothly (and to their liking).
Download the free Wrike Mobile App for instant communication on all your projects from anywhere.
3. Integrated Proofing & Approvals
Sending design iterations to clients via email is just not effective. Creatives have their own design tools, and some clients never know what they want until they see what they don't want. Plus, describing changes like "the red box in the left upper-hand corner needs to be brighter" can be misinterpreted and confusing to designers. With the right PM tool, clients will be able to leave edits and make comments directly on the file itself in that project without having to understand how to maneuver a design tool. Providing feedback directly on the design also eliminates those lengthy descriptions about where the edits need to be made in the first place.
4. Customizable Workflows/Templates
Stop reinventing the wheel. If you have a new client process (or are in desperate need of one), adopt a PM tool that has workflows and templates that you can tailor to meet your process needs. Understanding where a project is at all times will not only ease your mind but provide reassurance to the client that you're on top of your work. Templates will help cement the processes that are currently working for you and make it quick and easy to complete recurring tasks.
5. Ability to Manage Ad Hoc Requests
Ad hoc requests are inevitable. Make sure you're well-equipped to take on the challenge by having a request process in place to house all those last-minute demands. Having a dedicated form for requests allows you to ask all the right questions before the request is made, so you have all the information you need from the beginning. Having this data right away also helps you prioritize your requests and gives you visibility into which ones require additional work or resources.
What are some challenges you've faced in managing creative projects?
Share your challenges with us, and how you were able to eventually solve (or not solve) the problem.
Are you ready to start thinking like a Project Manager? Check out Wrike for Marketers to learn more about each of these features and even get started for free.