The Importance of Clear Project Workflow
In an agency, the ultimate goal — beyond creating kick-ass work — is sticking with a consistent project workflow. Adhering to internal processes can be what makes or breaks a project’s success, especially when a wrench in thrown into the system.
At Conveyor, we rely on project managers to keep us and our clients in line. Our project managers are responsible for setting up projects, planning the work, communicating with all stakeholders, overseeing the workflow, and managing the timeline and budget.
In essence, project managers create and maintain the framework for the entire production of a project lifecycle. They are the gatekeepers of workflow and the unsung heroes when kick-ass projects are completed. How do they manage it all? They build and strengthen a project lifecycle.
A project lifecycle refers to the phases needed to achieve the project goals. In Conveyor’s world of content marketing, each lifecycle has four different phases:
- Initiation: Scope discovery and definition
- Planning: Define workflow, resources, timeline, budget
- Execution: Production workflow (based on scope)
- Closure: Delivery, launch, reporting and wrap-up
The activities that happen in each phase are defined by the type of project, and as you can see, each phase has its own workflow — from strategy to production.
Project Workflow Best Practices
While shooting a documentary-style video requires a different workflow than creating a 12-page e-book, each project benefits from the following best practices:
Make sure the entire team and the client is on the same page
Articulate exactly what you’re doing (scope, deliverables, goals, budget)
Create a process for how you’re doing to do it and do not deviate
Assign who is doing what
Outline when you’re doing what — give yourself internal and external deadlines
Internally and externally, especially when you move from one workflow phase to the next
Get Out Of the Way
Identify when you can — or can’t — add value
Define the tools you’re using and how you’re going to use them
Set them and celebrate them
Hand Off Carefully
Hand-off points are critical to success — take the time to set the team up for success
Identify potential bottlenecks and plan accordingly (Hint: you could be the bottleneck)
Set times to check in with the team and overall status of the project
Budgets are planned for standard production timelines and a limited number of revisions — stick to them
Go over the wins and identify areas for improvement after a project is complete
Workflow deviations will inevitably occur, but if your team follows the outlined best practices — especially communication and documentation — those deviations will be used to make the project great, not derail it.