A Short Guide to Creative Workflow Management

How to level up your creative workflow

Creative teams are experiencing a growing demand for their services. Of course this isn’t a problem, we love more project opportunities! Rather, the challenge stems from the expanding roles that come with new projects. Now creative teams are expected to take responsibility for more than just the creating, but also things like administrative tasks, etc. In fact, inmotionnow found that 47% of creative teams spend one day a week just on administrative obligations.

Gez, it's no wonder that creative teams are so busy! In order to keep up with these expanding roles and growing expectations, creative workflow management becomes absolutely crucial. Let’s first start with the basics...

What is Creative Workflow Management?

Creative workflow management is a method that applies structure to a creative project. It is a way to assign tasks and responsibilities, track project progress, and help creative teams manage their time.

🤔 Wait, but what’s a creative workflow?

Good question! A creative workflow is a series of tasks that make up your project goal. Say for instance you’re designing a logo, your workflow could look something like this;

1. Design brief - better understand your client’s company, project goals and expectations, as well as target audience, competitors and more.

2. Research - know what the industry is like and what competitors are doing. What works and what doesn’t?

3. Create - whatever your process may be, whip up some ideas that align with your research. Sketch out, design, and create a few logo versions to present

4. Send - present your  design ideas to the client for feedback or approval

5. Revisions - based on your feedback, make any necessary adjustments

6. Deliver - hand over the final versions of your logo to your client

As you can see, it’s just a series of standardized steps that help you accomplish your goal!

Of course every project is unique and will require varying tasks and requirements. But that’s the beauty of creative workflows, they’re there to guide your team and product in the most efficient way possible. They aren’t designed to limit your options or squander your working style.

🤔 Why do I need a workflow, anyways?

Creative workflows help to ensure that every person on your team understands their tasks and responsibilities, limiting hiccups throughout the project development. Here are some other benefits:

  • Increases productivity and efficiency
  • Establishes clear priorities
  • Makes tasks and responsibilities known to all team members
  • Supports cross team collaboration
  • Creates a positive relationship between team members and management

What Are the Main Benefits of Creative Workflow Management?

💪 Boosts your productivity because everyone knows what to do and by when. If you develop a pattern in the way you work, your team is more likely to know what is expected of them.

📱 Supports active communication with every person on the team.

🗓️ Creates clear tasks. When your team understands the project structure and deadlines, they can better accomplish their tasks… without you reminding them. Less micromanaging, more creating

🤦 Reduces project hiccups. When you have a structured workflow with a set calendar, you can see everything ahead of time. That means you’ll never miss a deadline, creative document, or assigned tasks.

💰 Saves money because everything is running on time with little mistakes.

😌 Limits confusion because internal and external teams can see exactly what phase the project is in, who to go to for help, and when their own tasks are due.

What Does Creative Workflow Management Entail?

A creative workflow isn’t difficult to incorporate into your team. In fact, you likely already have some sort of workflow, that is, certain tasks you accomplish before others. But for creative workflow management to be super successful, there are a few elements to note:

1. Know your project, inside and out

In order to complete a project, you need to know the overarching goal. This information probably comes from the kick-off phase of your project, when you sent out a new client questionnaire and created a statement of work. This includes:

  • Company background
  • Purpose of the project
  • The scope of work
  • Deadlines
  • Terms of agreement
  • Payment agreements
  • The definition of project success

If you understand the project objectives, milestones, and deliverables, you can better organize your team to exceed client expectations.

2. Assign tasks and keep it organized

Clearly define tasks and responsibilities to every team member, so that everyone knows their role for each project. This limits any confusion about who’s doing what and it helps avoid those awkward situations where a task is left undone. While the process looks different for every project manager and every team, it’s smart to document everyone's tasks in one accessible place, such as a calendar or timeline.

Make sure to schedule not only team tasks but also milestones and deadlines. (It doesn't hurt to define these events either. Clarity is key!) Incorporating a schedule into your creative workflow brings structure and organization into a project, without limiting your creative freedoms of course!

3. Execute and deliver

Put your workflow to the test! Take note on how certain elements of your workflow either help or hinder your team. Then you can make adjustments in your next project to continue improving the productivity of your team.

The last leg of the race is the review and send off. When all the milestones have been accomplished and the project goal has been reached, then it’s time to send off your project. But don’t worry, you can get going on your next creative workflow soon!

How Do I Manage a Creative Workflow?

Our suggestions on how to best manage a creative workflow come down to three primary tips:

Good communication - If you’ve kept up with our latest blogs, you’re probably rolling your eyes right now. We say it a lot, almost too much...communication is key, for obvious reasons. Make sure you find a platform that supports all team members, whether they’re within the creative department or not. You could opt for a messaging system, email, etc. Or Collato of course.

Useful tools -  Make sure you keep track of your creative workflow every step of the way. Using the right tools is crucial for a successful project. With Collato, you can create a timeline that outlines all your roles, milestones, and tasks. You can easily share this timeline with everyone within your organization so a project overview is easily accessible.

You can also assign tasks to team members. They will receive an email from Collato with the new task and a reminder. It’s an easy way to communicate daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to everyone!

Flexibility - Lastly, remember that things won’t always go as planned. There will surely be roadblocks in your workflow. Sometimes you’ll receive late feedback or pushed milestones, someone might get sick and miss a deadline. Anything could happen! Make sure you stay flexible and open to problem solving the situation. You can always alter your workflow to fit your circumstances. Your team and clients will thank you for your flexibility!

Check Out Collato

The more experience you have with creative project management, the better your workflows will become. When you get really good, you’ll not only set tasks, create milestones, and organize your team, but also integrate freelancers and externals into your structured workflow.

Find out how Collato makes creative all possible (and easy) by clicking here. You can seamlessly create timelines, assign tasks, send documents to internals or externals, organize your work life, and more!

Until next time!

Made with 🍦 in Berlin.