Send Spreadsheets Back to the 1980s and Unlock Right-First-Time Creativity: News From Best of Leap 2017

May 18, 2017 Shelbi Gomez

glenn boyce workfront

Imagine trying to plan the creation of 1,000 content assets across 20 campaigns every three months … with a spreadsheet.

Information is cast across multiple tabs, but there’s no real resource planning, management, or reporting functionality. Frankly, how well you’re doing is anyone’s guess.

Meanwhile, the briefs for designers, copywriters or developers are contained in separate documents in different formats.

Emails are pinging to and fro with feedback that’s hard to track and full of different people making the same point.

Sounds familiar, right?

That was the picture painted today by Glenn Joyce, Senior Production Manager for the British fashion brand Boden, at Workfront’s first European user conference, Best of Leap London.

“Excel was born on 30 September 1985; the same year as the first Back to the Future movie came out, and the year that Michael Dell launched the first ‘Turbo PC’,” Glenn told delegates at one of the conference’s break-out sessions.

“The 1980s want their spreadsheets back—they deserve to be in the antique shop.”

So, a little over two years ago, Glenn and the Boden team began the search for a better way of managing creative work.

After a comprehensive assessment of options and vendors, they settled on Workfront.

Since then, 26,000 creative assets have been created across 2,800 projects—with 9 out of 10 of Glenn’s colleagues and stakeholders reporting better visibility of overall performance, better transparency of hold-ups and who is accountable for what, and better tracking of tasks.

So, what has Boden done to try to move towards a right-first-time creative production process?

  • About 109 templates have been created that break down the different steps required to complete a project, whether an email program, social media project, or PR or ad campaign, online or offline.
  • Each template typically contains 40 tasks and reflects a three-month cycle from initial brief to production.
  • Drop-down menus of options speed-up the process of template creation.
  • Creative briefs are also now being prioritised as either Gold, Silver, Bronze, or “Fame” projects—with the latter taking precedence over everything else.
  • Objectives are being recorded to help report project or campaign performance to the wider business.

“Success relies on engagement with the new system,” Glenn said. “A lot of great ideas have come from Leap conferences in the United States—for example, throwing a launch party to get everyone excited about using a new system.

“But your core team should be its ambassadors. We found that dashboards also helped with implementation by being able to bring information more easily to the attention of teams.”

Glenn told delegates Boden was producing guides for colleagues about “how to choose the right template” and a best practice guide on briefing.

“We’re continuing to improve efficiency and the way we work. We keep templates and processes under review and we ask for feedback from our teams,” he said.

So, would he go back to the future and return to the days of trying to manage people and projects by spreadsheet?

“Today we’re getting better briefs, and more high quality stuff is coming through quicker,” he said.

So, does Glenn’s experience echo your own? How are you trying to improve results and get work right first time around?

Get caught up on all of the stories coming out of Best of Leap 2017 with these posts:

"Get Ready For The 4 Challenges Shaping The Future Of Work" with Workfront CEO Alex Shootman

"8 Attitude Tools To Overcome Every Challenge, From The Woman Who Rowed Solo Across The Atlantic" with Debra Searle


About the Author

Shelbi Gomez

Shelbi is an experienced public relations professional with experience in both agency and corporate marketing environments. She currently guides brand awareness, market research, analyst relations, and customer content. She has nearly a decade of BtoB and BtoC experience helping companies tell their stories in the changing media landscape — in traditional media outlets, social media, and now through content marketing.

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