We’ve all been there before. Your company’s creative production workflow process isn’t functioning quite as well as you’d like, but you’re not sure how to fix it without derailing the whole thing. Do you scrap everything and start from scratch? Do you make modifications to each step? Do you just leave it alone and hope for the best?
First, don’t panic. The most important thing is to embrace the idea of change. Here are five easy tips to remember as you move toward a smoother and more efficient creative production workflow.
1. Take a Look at Your Creative Team as a Whole
In order to make effective changes, it’s important to look at the big picture first, rather than focusing on just one person in (or one part of) the process. To do this, you have to make sure to map out the entire creative production process, step by step, and look for bottlenecks that may cause a domino effect and impact the final outcome. Find out the purpose of each step, who does it, how long it takes, how data is passed between steps and what tools are used. Talk to everyone on the team and make no assumptions! Once you find the bottlenecks, you can zero in on them and begin to figure out ways to make improvements.
2. Staying Agile is Key
Agility is crucial when it comes to modifying your workflow. You have to remember that one change isn’t going to be the be-all end-all. Your workflow process is fluid, so be prepared to revisit changes and keep thinking of ways to improve. Implementing retrospectives with your team can also be helpful. This allows you to take a step back after making a change (or several changes) and talk about what worked well and what still needs improvement. Make it a social process and get as much team input as you can.
3. Divide and Conquer
Once you have a solid idea of how your workflow, well, flows and where the bottlenecks are, look for ways that you can split large chunks of work into smaller pieces in order to keep things moving swiftly. For example, if you’re dealing with image processing, breaking up groups of 50 images into smaller batches allows your team members to work through them faster, thus getting them down the line at a quicker pace. Or, put one group of team members in charge of fixing one bottleneck while another focuses on improving something else.
4. Keep Your Changes Small
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to make a positive impact on your workflow. Making smaller, reasonable changes that you can easily accomplish, then evaluating their effectiveness, can create more of an improvement than completely turning the process on its head. For example, fixing one asset transfer step (like the more time-consuming process of burning images to a hard drive that has to be delivered by bicycle courier) could noticeably shorten the total production cycle and create an appetite for more improvements.
5. Make a To-Do List
Keeping a running list of potential changes makes it so simple to stay organized. Anytime someone on your team has an idea for a modification, add it to the list so you can prioritize and determine what would help the most when it comes time to revisit your workflow. Organization is vital to ensuring that you’re attacking the right change at the right time.
No matter what, remember that your workflow will probably never be 100% perfect, and you should never get to a point where you stop making changes. Tasks and responsibilities are constantly advancing, which means that there’s always going to be room for improvement. Using these tips can make the process as painless as possible for your entire team…which, in turn, leads to less headaches for everyone involved!