For many creative agencies, maximising time to complete creative work is usually a top priority.Although process implementation might seem contrary or inhibitive to the creative process, it’s necessary for improving job management and, consequently, increasing creative time. Introducing the right processes will ultimately help your agency unlock more time and resources to complete creative work for clients because it introduces scalable and repeatable structure.
Read on for three tips that will help agencies improve job management and maximise creative time.
1. Standardise your processes
To ensure a high quality of service, every job can (and should) be completed in the same set of steps. Whether you’re completing a website redesign or filming a commercial, the work will vary from client to client, but the steps taken to complete each job or service will remain the same.
Even if you know the steps by heart and your team is trained on how to complete a particular project, standardising your job workflow is a best practice for agencies and businesses who are looking to grow since it will make this information more accessible to your team (especially new members).
Often, the best way to get started with standardisation is to take pen to paper and simply document every job and/or service you offer:
- List out all steps required to complete the job
- Add precise details about how each step is completed (including what needs to be done, where it is done, what tools and/or software is used, approx. time to complete, etc.)
- Add details regarding any costs associated with the job (materials, supplies, etc.)
- Add key stakeholders to each step (which role/function of your agency is responsible for completing it, and any other parties they must involve)
Pro tip: If you don’t know where to start when attempting to document a job, review a completed job that went really well, then try to break it down using the steps mentioned above.
Standardisation can take some time upfront, but it will help streamline the way your agency operates.
2. Use templates (with your job management software)
Once your processes have been standardised and documented, it’s easy to turn these steps into a template that can be duplicated and applied to future jobs.
Templates are designed to be copied. By applying a template that has every step, cost, and milestone associated with the job, you’re already setting your team up for success. Using job templates will also help to save time on the administrative tasks associated with setting up new jobs – time that would be better spent completing the creative work for a particular client.
The use of templates isn’t limited to a job workflow, however. When your processes are standardised, you can also create templates to speed up the repeatable tasks within your job workflow – some common examples include templates for emails, quotes, invoices, and reports.
Job management software such as WorkflowMax allows for jobs to be turned into templates that include milestones, tasks, and costs, and create templates for quotes and invoices (learn more about WorkflowMax templates here!).
3. Apply learnings from previous jobs
Process implementation is an ongoing activity. It’s important to regularly revisit your processes and introduce improvements that will further unlock efficiency!
Often, the challenge with process improvement is pinpointing exactly which part(s) of the process needs to be improved. The best way to get this information is by looking at data from previous jobs.
Job management software (such as WorkflowMax) can turn job data into reports that make it easy to gather insights and highlight opportunities for improvement. Some examples of reports you can run in WorkflowMax include:
- Profitability report – Understand estimated versus actual costs on jobs so you can approximate gross profit, quote accurately, and increase profitability
- Time and efficiency report – Understand time spent on tasks to analyse staff performance
Ensure reporting and measurement is integrated into your job workflow so you can constantly learn and improve the way you manage jobs.
The right processes, templates, and reporting will help improve the work you do for clients, increase creative time, and enable you to take on more projects.
Introducing this sort of structure might seem counterintuitive to the creative process, and might even be intimidating. Ultimately, it will help you unlock time to do what you do best – be creative!
Learn more tips for how to better manage jobs in our free job management checklist for creative agencies! Download it here.