A guide to revisiting your creative production workflow [Part 1]

 

When getting creative assets out the door becomes too painful, and complaints and frustrations start to pile up, now might be a good time to review your organization’s processes and inefficiencies. Revisiting a workflow is an arduous task that requires months of planning and adjustment. But doing so can bring tremendous value to your organization and business: It increases predictability and reduces variance, it expands your creative team’s capacity and productivity, and ultimately, saves your team frustrations and your company money.

Where to start and how to convince the top management of the ultimate return on investment?

During our monthly Creative Ops Breakfast on October 22, 2015, three creative operations professionals join us to share their experience and advice on how to (re)build an efficient creative production workflow:

We’ve turned their thoughts and insights into a guide to help you initiate a workflow overhaul.


 

Step 1: Identify the problems

If you had no complains, then you probably have a very amazing system. I’ve never had zero complaints.” – Stephen Hunking, Director of Studio Services and Asset Management at Showtime.

Clearly your team’s feedback should already provide you with great insights on what’s working or not. Start your petition by listing the main pain points and recurring complaints that people raise. Down the road you should measure quantitatively or qualitatively how these bottlenecks impact your team’s productivity, and ultimately your business.

 

Step 2: Build a task force

Time to involve your team /organization. On the one hand you need to convince your top management that investing in a creative production workflow overhaul will bring value to the organization. On the other hand, you need to empower your teammates so that they implement, drive, and embrace the change.

Your task force will be composed of two groups:

  • C-level and decision-makers: The initial group that you bring together will most likely be a mix of executive, senior manager, or director levels. They come to the table and bring the business purpose and the business use cases for each department/teams that would be affected by the project. This core group go through your petition, prioritize, help inform the phasing of the actual project, and most importantly, assign a budget and internal resources to it.
  • Ambassadors & end-users: The second group that you will bring together is what Lauren Philson, Digital Assets Manager at The Rockefeller Foundation, calls the “ambassadors”: “These are going to be your power users, the folks that are embedded within each of the departments“. In the long run, the ambassadors will inform you when there are issues with the system itself, or with adoption. Once everybody has adopted the system, you make them the trainers.

Involving different part of the business, different teams, and end users early in the process is key to succeed. As Hunking reminded: “It is very easy to lose sight of the end-user. If you don’t involve them earlier and throughout the process, you might end up overwhelming them with features that they don’t really need, while neglecting features that they really do need”. Also, you don’t want to be the person that dictates how the process is going to work and what they are going to do – without consulting the team actually implementing it. Practice an open door policy: Allow your team to come back to you with questions. They should have ownership over their workflow, you’re just here to empower them to use the system for themselves and make it their own.

Stay tuned to our blog for Part II: How to Document Your Workflow