6 tips to help you and your team stay organized

I have always been a relatively neat and organized person, and it seems the older I get the more this has become apparent. For those of you who know me, this would probably make sense after meeting my father. However, I am not stating this as a bad thing. Quite the contrary, I believe it to be the key to how well my studio is doing at the moment.

Being organized is one of the most underrated tools a company or person can have. It has helped us — Milkshake Studio — more than I could have imagined. So here it goes, 5 simple steps to help you and your studio keep organized. Feel free to comment and make suggestions along the way.

Stand Up Meetings

Now I stole this from agile development, but it really does help get your day and week in order. A quick stand up meeting in the beginning of the day to update the team on what you’re currently working on and will be working on. This will ensure you don’t hit any snags/roadblocks with other team members on the project. It will also give an overview of which clients you’re focusing on that day or week and make sure nothing is being forgotten.

We have seen stand ups of all shapes in sizes — coming from the agency world and the product world. A strong leader/manager is essential to keeping the meeting efficient and on topic. There are many tools to help a team do this if people are working remotely. Trello is a great product for this. We also use an in-office whiteboard, which can be seen and updated by anyone at any time.

Folder Structure

Organization has moved from file cabinets to folder structure. We at Milkshake have a folder structure template which every project uses. The basic structure is:

  • Documents
  • Client Assets > Subfolders
  • UI > Subfolders
  • UX > Subfolders
  • Exports > Subfolders by date
  • Final Assets > Subfolders

Now I am not saying ours is perfect. It is constantly being tweaked and maintained to insure that everyone in the office can find what they need when they are without direction. However, a system that is familiar is usually the best route.

We prefer to keep it on a secure cloud server, like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box, because we find ourselves working on different devices in different offices and sometimes states. Just remember to keep them synced and secure.

Calendar

This may sound trivial, but a lot of people don’t use their calendars. As a studio we need to know when each other is available to meet with clients, have in office reviews, and when they will be out of the office. We make sure all meetings, vacations, phone calls, and most importantly happy hours and holidays are in the calendar for everyone to see. There are no shortage of calendar tools out there. Sunrise is great and probably our favorite at the moment. It syncs to like, everything.

Transparency & Communication

Keeping a transparency in the office helps not only keep everyone on the same page, but also helps to prevent unforeseen issues on projects. We make sure to have all the communication lines open, using slack as our main office chat, and making sure everyone is cc’d on project e-mails who need to be. When clients are kept in the loop, expectations are met. Keeping them in the dark too often can come back to hurt the project. We have learned that if there is problem that will affect a deadline or deliverable, tell the client. It is better than trying to side step the issue and end up squandering your pride. People make mistakes. Everyone knows that.

This also ties back to stand up meetings. Keep them succinct but informative, making sure everyone is always on the same page. If you fucked up, let everyone know.

Todo Lists

This is more geared towards the personal organization, but it is still a very important tool. Now I can go deep into how I maintain my todo lists but I will spare you the boredom and keep this short. Every week I take a page of my note book, date it, and create a list of things I need to get done for the week. I will continue to add to this list and mark items of the list as the week goes on. At the end of the week I see what I have completed, what I have added. I then create a new list for the next week and roll over all the task which were not completed. Now some people do this daily, I however do not. There’s a thousand apps to do this, but a piece of paper keeps me in check.

Cleanliness

A clean office does way more than keep your space looking nice, it keeps your employees minds uncluttered, and focused on that tasks at hand.

So there you have it. Super simple stuff that can really help your team and business go a long way.