Creative teams can be challenging to manage. The individuals within those teams often like to work in their own ways, so you have to give them the freedom they need to be creative. However, as the project manager, it’s your job to find the right balance between giving them the space for creativity to flourish and keeping a close eye on workflow.
In this quick guide, we’re going to take a look at the different techniques and tools that you can use to monitor your creative team’s workflow. From the latest charts and tools to resisting the temptation to micromanage, here’s how to perfect your project management for creatives.
The Best Ways to Monitor Your Team’s Productivity
1. Consider a creative project management tool
These days, there are all sorts of creative project management tools available that can simplify the task of managing your team’s workflow. With the advent of cloud computing, cutting edge solutions are now available as software as a service (SaaS). That means even the smallest businesses can access them for an affordable monthly fee.
Project management solutions such as Scoro let you plan, track, and manage all of the tasks involved in a project in a single digital workspace. You can even automate parts of your workflow, monitor your team’s progress, and track their results. If you’ve inherited outdated systems or your business has outgrown the tools that you’ve been using in the past, now’s the time to switch to a project management solution.
2. Get going with a Gantt chart
If you’re still stuck using spreadsheets, then it’s time to revolutionize the way you monitor your creative team. Gantt charts show the different activities, tasks, and events that your team is responsible for in a highly visual way.
Each activity is represented by a bar, with the position of that bar on the chart reflecting the start date, duration, and end date of the task. That allows you to see at a glance what activities your teams are involved in, when they overlap with other tasks, and how long those tasks are scheduled to last.
As the project manager, you can also monitor everyone’s progress and identify the dependency relationships between tasks so you can remove any roadblocks that could cause delays.
3. Kick it with a Kanban board
A what? A Kanban board is another tool that can help you visualize the workflow and tasks involved in taking a project from conception to completion. Unlike Gantt charts, which are ideally suited to a combination of different working styles, Kanban boards are a better fit for simpler projects and smaller teams that work in a repetitive way.
One of the fundamental rules of Kanban boards is that each stage of the workflow must have a limit on the amount of work in progress. That helps to discourage multitasking and encourages your team to focus on finishing each task as quickly as possible.
4. Don’t make the mistake of micromanaging
If you find that you’re losing sight of your team’s workflow, then the temptation might be to take more control – but that’s the opposite of what you should do. Micromanaging a creative team is the surest way to sap their morale and kill their productivity. It’s a bad idea for any team, but for creative teams, it’s an absolute deal-breaker.
Creative people need the freedom to be able to work, think, and make their own decisions. As soon as you take that autonomy from them, they lose the very skills that you hired them for. Instead, focus on accountability. Get agreement upfront on milestones and targets for every member of your team but let them decide how they get there. If they don’t, then hold them accountable.
5. Turn up the transparency
Open communication and transparency have a vital role to play in project management. They help you understand where your team members are with their tasks, improve collaboration, and boost communication between your team and the client.
Transparency is something you should encourage at every stage of the process. Regular check-ins (without micromanaging), letting everyone see the bigger picture, and helping people understand the role they play in the wider project will foster a spirit of openness within your creative team.
Master Your Streams of Work Before They Master You
These simple but vital strategies will help you take control of your team’s workflow without infringing on the freedoms that allow creativity to flourish. Before you invest in a project management solution, take a look at the six features that should be present in any workflow monitoring system.