Whether you work in-house or are agency side, new to the creative industry or a seasoned pro, no doubt you will have oodles of projects to manage and deliver all at once. Ring a bell? We’re right with you.
Having run Glow for 19 years (I started at primary school) and prior to Glow, being Group Marketing Manager at Deloitte in London, I’ve had quite a few years to practice what works and to refine what doesn’t. Below are my 6 top tips on how to deliver creative projects on time, to budget and with total precision and care.
Be organised. This may sound obvious but with many creative plates (these are the same as normal plates but with pictures on) spinning at once, coupled with constant online noise and notifications, you will need a bit of order. At Glow we use Streamtime™ creative project management software. Every new enquiry is created on Streamtime as soon as it comes in. We track each quote, each job in detail regularly and at our weekly project meeting, we follow up with clear status reports to our clients. Any one of us can review any project at any time. The aim: Not to drop the ball.
Not dropping the ball, ever, of course is not always easy. But keeping it just off the ground is possible. By sending status reports every week – this could be to your clients, your team or your directors – you make sure you communicate where each project is, what’s missing, what the next action is, by who and what’s important. Creative projects move at such a pace that without this type of automated recording, you’re putting more pressure on yourself and your post-it notes.
To be creative, you need energy and spark. And working in a busy creative studio or department you also need this constantly, correct? No, not at all. We all have off times, emotional & rubbish life things or just a bit of a mid-afternoon lull – normally when you’ve got critical deadlines to meet. So, when it happens you need to act quickly and get back on track. Take 5 minutes to listen to some music – Dolly Parton, just did it for me – go for a proper walk and get out of breath, have a 10 minute lie down (tell the office you’ve hurt your back), or if you’re really lacking the essential oomph see if you can delegate, ask your boss or client if anything can be moved back and put the creative block on hold. It will always feel better after a rest, so will you.
Briefs can be brief, people are busy and have lives and as the deadline looms it can feel like the only person left available to sign off your project is your mum. A couple of things here; find out at the start of the project who is available, what their plans are and have the contact details of all involved. It’s your responsibility to get the job over the line and you need to do everything to make this happen, with no excuses – email, call, tweet, send a LinkedIn message, call again, text and never give up. Oh, and if you’ve momentarily lost your spark, go back to point 3.
Projects often don’t go to plan. Deadlines move, the specification changes or mid brilliant idea your pencil breaks. So, being constantly prepared to change direction is key. There isn’t time to moan or rant about the why’s. When a curve ball comes in, stop what you’re doing there and then. Re-group, align, make a new plan, communicate clearly and start again. And remember, whatever the stress …
Laugh at yourself, dig out a priceless old video clip, do office yoga for 5 minutes, phone a friend (a funny one), have a quick gin (we might have done that once or twice at Glow) and have a good laugh. I can promise you, after many years of putting on my serious face … it was and is now, always the laughs that have helped me solve even the biggest of challenges.
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