May 2, 2017

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:

Clear Communication
Make sure the entire team and the client is on the same page

Project Definition
Articulate exactly what you’re doing (scope, deliverables, goals, budget)

Workflow
Create a process for how you’re doing to do it and do not deviate

Team Definition
Assign who is doing what

Timeline
Outline when you’re doing what — give yourself internal and external deadlines

Document Everything
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

Toolbox
Define the tools you’re using and how you’re going to use them

Milestones
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

Prevent Bottlenecks
Identify potential bottlenecks and plan accordingly (Hint: you could be the bottleneck)

Check In
Set times to check in with the team and overall status of the project

Budget Management
Budgets are planned for standard production timelines and a limited number of revisions — stick to them

Wrap Up
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.

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