Every agency strives to present themselves as composed, with beautifully buttoned-up work for their clients. A great agency will do their best to educate their clients on the process of executing those pieces. However, not many know the extent of the nitty-gritty details involved in keeping things flowing smoothly when there are numerous moving parts. There are various factors that come into play and a few important things to remember when managing your team behind the scenes.
This probably seems like a given, but that’s because it should be. Consistent organization of projects allows for your team to know where and how to find the information needed. Workloads can fluctuate, but even in the busiest of times, all details should be accounted for when it comes to passing along direction or feedback. This can be done by finding an appropriate project management system for your agency. Nobody wants to live in their inbox, so separating those worlds allows for the people completing the tasks to see their assignments with only the necessary information. It’s also very satisfying to check an item off a virtual list and move on to the next one!
Always look for improvements.
When it comes to process, you’re never done making improvements. It’s key to implement changes for your team, but it’s even more important to regulate those changes and ensure they’re truly beneficial for the company. Tweak and make adjustments as you go until you feel projects are moving along efficiently. Learn from past projects, discuss as a team how things can change, and make small modifications so there aren’t too many new rules to remember. As clients and types of projects change, so will your processes.
Know your team.
Even when general guidelines are laid out for the company to follow, it’s still vital to learn how individuals work at their best. Not everyone can operate exactly the same, or we’d all be robots. This can be accomplished only with time, but it makes communication much more seamless when you know how to successfully correspond with your colleagues. The toughest part is striking a balance between accommodating a teammate and ensuring they are still following the established “rules.” Once you’ve reached that sweet spot, it’s smooth sailing from there!
Understand the ask.
Project managers are often the connection between the internal team and the outside world. It is vital to understand each and every ask that comes your way. If you don’t know what’s going on, it’s likely neither will your colleagues. When reviewing client feedback or direction, put yourself in the internal team’s shoes and start to think about a solution. If you’re able to come up with an answer, or a general sense of direction, then you can be a reliable resource if there are follow-up questions.
Just like a complex and choreographed dance, an agency’s work is a very layered process. Keeping your team on track is vital for survival. If you can collaborate closely with your teammates and find areas for improvement to keep the company progressing, you’ll feel much better. If you can process client requests in a way that works well for everyone, while still having the freedom to think creatively, you’ll see success.
Kristen Violetta is a Project Manager at Phire Group.