4 Tips on how to prioritise your production workflow
Are your creatives being hit with “urgent” work requests from all angles? It’s a common problem for many marketing and comms teams. HR needs a new powerpoint deck; Product Development needs an instruction manual drafting, the Head of Marketing wants to tweak an existing campaign, and all the while, there’s a constant drip feed of “quick” jobs from the Sales team.
No matter how large or multi-disciplined your creative department, business demand almost always tends to outstrip supply. And of course, if they are overstretched, it becomes impossible to provide a great service to stakeholders. Prioritisation of workflow is key. Here are our tips on how to get it right.
A Central Feed
Simple workflow management tools such as Trello are ideal for this. Tasks from all departments need to be fed into the same workflow. But just be aware that this type of system can quickly fall apart if people try to bypass it! Tempting as it might be to email a particular designer with a “5 minute job”, make it clear to all stakeholders that they always need to go through the central feed.
How urgent is urgent?
HR needs an update to its onboarding presentation deck. The HR manager decides – for no particular reason – that she would like this on her desk by next week. This is despite the fact that the new starters are not due to arrive for at least a couple of months.
If deadlines are simply plucked from the air, it can skew the whole system – and can mean that genuinely urgent work gets delayed. The person submitting the work should always be able to justify their deadline.
There will be times when multiple departments are in competition for the time and attention of your creatives. So which department wins?
As a general rule, you should prioritise work based on what carries the highest value to your business. Usually , this will mean stipulating that client-facing projects take precedence over internal work.
Encourage a DIY approach
Do you really need a Web designer for your banner ad? Isn’t it possible to produce a print display without the input of an expert?
You can encourage stakeholders to take a more sensible approach to work requests. You can also rationalise your workflow to help ensure that nothing gets overlooked. But with all of this, you are in danger of merely tinkering around the edges of the problem. You are not addressing the fundamental issue: the demand for expert input exceeds supply.
Outsourcing the work is one possible answer. Trouble is, faced with market uncertainty and pressure to rein in budgets, few CEOs would relish the prospect of spending lots of extra cash on agency fees.
So here’s the sensible alternative: equip your non-specialist staff to produce more of their own work, without the need for expert input.
For social media posts, print materials, email campaigns, presentation decks - and even animation: organisations with extremely busy creative departments need to be looking at Intelligent Templates. With these, it becomes possible for non-technical staff to produce flawless assets - and even entire multimedia campaigns - with no specialist skills required.
Alongside this, firms need to embrace centralised Digital Asset Management. Get it right, and you can use DAM to store, retrieve, share and re-use your marketing assets, streamlining the production process - while still keeping you in control of the brand message.
By changing your approach to prioritisation and kitting out your wider team to unlock their creativity, you can go a long way to reduce the burden on your technical staff.