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Tools to Improve the Workflow for Your Creative Team

Whether you’re a designer, marketer or an advertiser, a good workflow process in the creative industries can be the key difference between your staff being merely talented, and actually being provably successful.

There are plenty of creative individuals who know their way around a software system for designing or marketing content. But it’s those who can organise tasks and communicate in a way that promotes productivity who consistently deliver valuable results for themselves and their clients.

“Workflow” has become a bit of a buzzword recently. You can throw it in a sentence and suddenly sound like you know what you’re doing.

In this case though, it’s a word more teams in the creative and digital industries should be paying attention to. An intelligent workflow improves efficiency, making time more valuable and ultimately improving the bottom line for your business.

But how do you go about achieving this improved workflow process? What is the seven step approach, the magic password that allows you to join the secret club of super-efficient agencies?

The truth is, it’s not one single thing. Improved workflow comes from implementing a series of business practices, software tools and day-to-day communication mechanisms that eliminate roadblocks and time spent staring blankly at screens.

Today we’re going to look at some of the best and most popular software tools out there, and explain how they might contribute to an improved workflow for your creative team.

Super-charge your task management

Task management systems are already in place in most offices. However, not all systems are made equal and agencies shouldn’t pick the first one they try. Try several, get as many free demos as you can and see which one works best with the individuals in your team.

Task allocation is always central to successful workflow process. Organising your task list at the beginning of every day so that you know exactly how you’re going to deliver what’s expected cuts out the extra time we all spend looking at our screens deciding what to tackle next.

Choosing a task manager like Redbooth that allows you to tag your highest priority tasks, attach relevant files and information and even makes use of automation to make things quicker – this is one project management tool we recommend you try.

Plenty of companies also use Trello to create a clear and highly visual project dashboard, divided into urgent tasks, those in progress, upcoming jobs and even ideas being brainstormed. Trello features a clear feedback mechanism, allowing project participants to comment directly on tasks, subtasks or ideas. Used by companies, agencies and organisations around the world, Trello is great for visualising your workflow, which we find can help with clarity and motivation towards final goals.

Online collaboration

If you work in the creative industries, you likely collaborate with clients online regardless of whether you have a specific tool in place to make this process easier. Online collaboration software can completely transform your communication with clients and shareholders during key stages of your projects, such as review and approval. Avoid the risks of undertaking this process over an endless string of emails, which creates ample opportunity for information to be overlooked or misinterpreted and leads to costly revisions.

One of the biggest drains on your productivity when collaborating with other members of your team or third parties is the potential for discussion to veer off track. Many online collaboration tools, such as Aproove, include customisable controlled workflows which keep your team focused on the task at hand and fast-track projects through to approval. Aproove is also a great option for agencies working on more complex proofing projects involving multiple stakeholders working from remote locations.

Other features to look out for when choosing an online collaboration tool that suits your creative team is ease of use for both your team and your clients, regardless of their digital proficiency, simple and flexible file sharing and mechanisms that keep communication going in real time, such as push notifications. Slack’s cloud based communication tools are used by some of the world’s biggest companies to quickly share project files and feedback in dedicated channels.

What to take away

With the digital era, workflow process optimisation is about combining best practice business processes with the best available technology. This doesn’t necessarily mean super-advanced, complicated systems that staff have to spend time getting their heads around. Choose software that works for your team, immediately making improvements to your workflow that open up new possibilities for your business.

13, September 2018, neo optic