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Workflow Management for Creatives

October 12, 2018 | Productivity

Let’s face it, the way creatives work involves a lot of bad habits. If you’re not a creative yourself, you no doubt work alongside a few on a daily basis, and it can be an overwhelming experience. If you are a creative, you probably don’t get what the big deal is. You get your work done, right? Who cares how your workflow looks to everyone else?

Unfortunately for you, your workflow has the potential to affect the whole proofing and approval process. Creative teams need the freedom and flexibility to develop original and innovative solutions for clients, but when it comes time to review the project, good workflow management is a must.

The habits that you’re allowed to get away with for the sake of creating amazing results now become a hindrance to the completion of the project. If you are currently thinking to yourself that your habits aren’t that troublesome (and I know how stubborn you are), let’s break down how your creative methods of workflow management are actually working for the approval process.

Your Nonlinear Train of Thought

What I’m talking about: Creatives think inside, outside and around the box. You don’t always have a linear, step-by-step thought process in mind when you’re working. Your workflow puts a lot of emphasis on the “flow” part, going where the ideas take you.

Why it can impede the approval process: A workflow, especially one that involves several people, really needs to follow a clear step-by-step process to keep things moving and organized. Without workflow management at the review and approval stage, approvers of both the creative and non-creative variety won’t know what their roles are, and the process will stagnate. A creative team is only as good as the projects they complete. As long as this process follows a path similar to your train of thought, projects won’t see the finish line on time.

How to resolve the problem: Automate your team’s workflow management. You can easily set up a workflow in the order you want with an approval process software, and let it do the work of organizing approvers for you. Each approver will have their chance to comment and give feedback on the proof in an orderly fashion, and the creative team will be free to focus on the things they were hired to do.

Your Knack for Getting Distracted

What I’m talking about: Okay, we all do this, but creatives can be especially prone to the pull off something new, interesting and not at all what you’re supposed to be doing. Creative minds like to be stimulated, and monotonous processes such as reviewing and revising multiple versions of a proof don’t always keep the nerves firing like a new blog or article might. (Be honest, as you read this, you probably have at least three other things that need your attention.)

Why it can slow down the approval process: While distractions are not altogether bad in the creative process, leading you to new information and breakthroughs, the approval process is more straightforward. It needs the focus of all team members to help a proof graduate to reality. This process would get done a lot quicker if approvers actually gave their contribution and approval when it was their turn. Without proper workflow management during this stage, creative minds have a tendency to wander to more pressing projects and interests, and the proof takes that much longer to see the light of day.

How to resolve the problem: When you need someone’s input on the project to complete it, there’s no way around it: you’re going to have to remind them of it regularly. This can also slow down productivity for whoever has this banal task. A workflow management system that will do the work of reminding approvers for you will improve the overall productivity of the creative team. When team members don’t have to spend their time being on top of each other about proofing and reviewing, so many other things can get done, and the approvers will not be allowed to forget about their duties.

Your Messy Lifestyle

What I’m talking about: When non-creatives think of their creative counterparts at work, they’re likely thinking of this particular aspect of you. Your workspaces, much like your minds, are cluttered and disorganized, and both the physical and mental consequences of your messiness can basically make a workflow seem nonexistent to onlookers. It’s the environment you work best in, though, where everything is spread out and easy to access.

Why it can derail the approval process: The approval process has a lot of moving parts. When all is said done, there will have been multiple deadlines, several versions of a proof and lots of feedback from all the approvers. A disordered and scattered workflow can completely confuse the approval process. Even if approvers know when to review the project and give actionable feedback, on the creative’s end, you won’t know how or where to act on it.

How to resolve the problem: A successful strategy for workflow management comes down to your ability to keep yourself organized. Using a design proofing software that keeps all the information regarding a proof including the multiple versions, feedback and the activity of the approvers in a centralized location will significantly speed up the process. Think of all the time saved by not combing through your computer or your inbox for the information you need.

Now, creatives, it may seem like this whole time I’ve been judging you for what makes you who you are. I’m not suggesting you change your habits, though. Your disorganized, free-thinking, nonlinear workflow results in impressive ideas and designs, and no one wants to constrain your ability to create. However, looking critically at the workflow management of yourself and your creative team can lead to a more productive and proactive approval process.

Ashore is a workflow management software made for creatives by creatives. It will allow you to organize workflows, send out reminders to keep approvers on the ball and keep tabs on everything for a project. All of your proofs, your edits and your approver feedback are in one easy to access location. If you’re a creative feeling the weight of the approval process on your shoulders, give Ashore a try today.

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