Creative businesses will always struggle with deliverables and deadlines. Without a proper workflow, accurately visualizing how to start, develop, and approve the creative business processes can be difficult. Miscommunications between creative workers, traffic, other agency staff, and the client cause continual disruptions to deadlines.
This is where creative workflow management comes in. Creative workflow management can help track, manage, and direct all the tasks involved in a creative business process, which can help avoid miscommunications and confusion, saving both time and resources in the process.
Here, we will discuss the concept of creative workflow management and how it can be implemented to benefit your creative businesses.
What Is Creative Workflow Management
Creative workflow management is the method of managing the workflow of a creative business process. A creative business process is defined as any sequence of tasks that can get repeated to achieve a specific objective. For example, the creative pitch process can be defined as a business process.
While different creative workflows can vary depending on the objectives, client preferences, and many other factors, in general, all creative workflows can be divided into several major phases:
. Ideation And Conception:
defining the scope of the creative task, what kind of product is expected, inspirations, etc.
the execution of the idea into a creative product
. Adjustment and Approval:
revision, adjustments, and further development of the creative product, client’s approval for the creative product, and finalization
the product goes live
Below, we will further discuss these phases one by one.
Phase 1: Ideation and Conception
The first phase of the creative workflow should define the product’s objective, the details of the product’s idea, and drafting a sequence/structure to execute the project effectively. This phase might include the following:
- The client delivers a creative brief. The creative brief will define critical information like the product’s objective, target audience, budget, timeline, etc.
- Setting up an initial meeting involving everyone in the project.
- Defining goals and KPIs for the project, including establishing deadlines.
- Managing client’s expectations about the product.
- Assigning roles to different team members and defining key responsibilities for each member.
- Identify potential issues in completing the project.
- Competitive analysis to study the competitor’s product and marketing approaches.
- Identifying the required resources and tools in completing the objectives.
- Setting up management structure (i.e. assigning project manager)
- Developing a mood board.
Phase 2: Development
The second phase is the execution of the idea to produce the creative product, and the tasks in this phase might include:
- Generate and compare ideas within the team through brainstorming and other means. The ideas should be well-documented for future revision purposes.
- Research the market for similar products to generate more ideas.
- Using a collaboration solution to create a collaborative work environment so the team members can work more effectively in achieving the project goals.
- Ensuring team members can accomplish their assigned tasks and meet their deadline
- Regularly update the client about the team’s progress, and gain feedback regarding the project state.
- Create status reports, including the documentation for different versions/iterations of the product.
- Time Tracking for effective billing purposes and to measure output.
Phase 3: Adjustment and Approval
This phase is about revising the creative product until it fully meets the client’s standard, and may include the following tasks:
- Structuring an internal approval system before sending the product to the client (i.e., ensuring the creative director/manager approves the product first)
- Establishing standard protocols in sharing files/content with the client, this might include choosing tools that allow the transmission of large files
- Choosing a design review software/solution if required according to the client’s preferences and the type of the product
- Structuring the revision and approval cycles to please both parties
- Using a project management tool to easily track feedback and revisions across many different iterations of the product
- Securing the final approval for the creative product from the client to begin the next phase
Phase 4: Launch
The final phase is about the product launch. In the workflow, this phase might not include too many tasks. It will mainly involve product distribution and sending billable invoices to your clients after the product is finalized and setting up policies for after-sales service (i.e., emergency revisions, etc.)
Key Considerations in Implementing Creative Workflow Management
Defining key responsibilities and who will be responsible for a specific task might be relatively easy for a smaller agency. Still it can be much more complicated as your company grows. In a creative business, the duties of different roles might be unclear. The better you can define each role and who is responsible for a task, the better your creative workflow management will be.
Accurate Mapping of The Processes
Another important consideration is how accurate you can map the tasks and the sequence of how the tasks must occur. Different workflows might vary depending on the product, role, or even department. Still, mapping out the workflow step by step based on when a task gets handed off from one individual to another is very important.
Creative Project Management Software
Creative workflow management can involve a lot of different information to process, which can be overwhelming. This is why having the right software to help map the creative workflow management process is very important. Workflow management software and tools by Aproove can provide some key benefits in implementing your creative workflow management:
- The ability to communicate internally and externally from within the software.
- Integrations and filetype support for major creative programs and solutions.
- Intuitive reporting functionality.
- Easily visualize timelines and manage your resources.
Proper implementation of creative workflow management can significantly help freelance creative workers and creative agencies execute more efficient creative business processes, which will allow better project deliverability, fewer revisions, and higher profitability for each project.
While implementing workflow management can be overwhelming, having the right solution like Aproove can make the process more intuitive and efficient, saving you both time and money.