Whether you’re an in-house creative team or a creative agency with many clients, your team needs to be in tip top shape to maximize its productivity without stifling creativity. Good creative team management looks nothing like traditional, tightly structured team management. It looks more like open communication pathways and active collaboration.
Managing the “creative process” might seem as ridiculous and impossible as nailing jell-o to a tree. A creative team needs an environment where creativity is encouraged while adhering to requirements and timelines. How do you find an ideal balance?
Good creative team management has many key elements, and though it can seem complex at times, without it your team will burnout quickly and project quality will plummet. A manager is responsible for not only ensuring project quality, but more importantly caring for and managing their team well.
Don’t Get Stuck In The Whirlpools
Most of us think that the quintessential creative process starts with a blank slate and endless possibilities and directions. We won’t tell you how your creative process should look when you’re creating on your own time, but for creative teams in professional settings, a blank slate can actually be destructive.
Project outcome can typically be traced back to how the creative process was initially organized. Therefore, you need to become familiar with what encourages creativity in the team – and what kills it – to plan a successful creative process.
Without clear workflows and organizational processes, communication will be poor, project momentum and feedback will become bottlenecked and ultimately, a lot of time will be wasted. These common problems will turn into a domino effect, creating an environment with no space to effectively collaborate. It will be unclear what each person’s role is and who is supposed to give feedback in the first place. Feedback will become free game, causing you to be inundated with feedback that is often entirely out of context.
A clear workflow, on the other hand, organizes the creative process from beginning to end and helps you track all details of your projects. When you’ve taken the time to prepare for the process and develop a unified strategy for communication, you’ll be able to effectively collaborate and recognize the value of every voice on your team.
Charting a Course With Proofing Software
Communication, collaboration, developing clear workflow and defining the creative process are the keys to excellent creative team management. Now the question is, how are you going to successfully integrate these elements into your creative team? Typically, a reliable place to begin is focusing on communicating and defining roles and responsibilities. This allows members of your creative team to learn how they specifically contribute to the process and overall project success.
When you’ve defined team roles, workflows are the next step in practically implementing them. Proofing software is an ideal platform for facilitating this structure. It brings together different departments, centralizes and contextualizes feedback, streamlines approval decisions and much more.
Proofing Software In Action
When collaborating with other creatives, it can feel like herding cats (just less cute) to get feedback and solid communication, especially during decision-making. Proofing gives each team member the opportunity to give feedback and communicate with one another on projects. Direct, contextual communication and automated workflows provide an effective approval process.
Communication: Contextual feedback on proofs means you can address mistakes or missing requirements clearly. Give your creative team clearer direction and simple reminders to stay focused on the goal of the project. Clear communication and expectations save your team from floundering and missing the mark on a project. Constructive and direct feedback leads to higher quality, staying on target and improving professionalism.
Setting Expectations: The proofing process helps you understand your team’s motivation and the environment they need to succeed. Laying out expectations, solidifying vision and providing necessary details gives your team the opportunity to thrive and not waste another minute sorting workflows. Comments and feedback within a proof benefit your team in a huge way and means incredible quality.
Give Recognition: Workflows and proof collaboration are a great way to recognize individual team members, giving meaningful appreciation for the time and energy they’ve contributed. Team collaboration in proofing brings your autonomous creatives together on a project, helping them align on the goals.
Create the Space for Collaboration: In the proofing process, your team can upload images and links to their comments and any amount of new versions can be added to a proof. This gives space for exploring, bringing in elements of inspiration and even the room to fail. A creative team needs space for all of this – inspiration, exploration, even failure – to thrive and grow.
Quality Assurance: Proof timelines help free up your team to focus on their creative process rather than time-consuming documentation. This also ensures no detail goes unnoticed – every event and detail on a proof is recorded on the timeline. Timelines also give you receipts for decision making.
Streamline Structure: Workflows are simple, provide structure, and streamline the proofing process and help projects stay on track. Use them to set boundaries and guidelines for each stage of a project and for each part of your creative team.
Accountability: Automated reminders provide accountability to creative teams and help them stick to goals and timelines. Built-in accountability gives management the opportunity to ease up on micromanaging – which kills creativity and can jeopardize team performance and the project outcome.
If you want to strengthen your creative team management, consider implementing proofing software. You may be surprised by how well it suits your team and even develops creatives, making collaboration a standard for your team.
Proofing Software Designed for Creatives
While proofing software is the optimal platform to manage your creative process, it can still be difficult to find one that suits high-velocity creatives. Ashore is a powerful proofing software that bolsters creative team management. This powerful software was created by creatives, with creative agencies in mind. Oh, and it happens to be the only proofing software that has all of the features mentioned above. Sign up for a 14-day free trial to explore if for yourself.