More Creative In Less Time: Do You Have the Project Management Tools to Keep Up?

October 7, 2014 Raechel Duplain

With smaller budgets, increased workloads, expanded scopes of work, and shorter turnaround times, it's a serious struggle to keep up with an ever-changing workflow for creative project management personnel. And since additional resources don't grow on trees, marketing teams must find ways to eliminate inefficiencies and improve productivity if they want to avoid burnout.

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Finding a tool that can reduce work inefficiency is a critical component of achieving success and nowhere is the do-more-with-less mentality more present than when it comes to marketing teams. Many project solutions have a steep learning curve that can further reduce, rather than add to, your team's productivity. Also, most solutions are designed for IT and development teams rather than for marketing teams, who work differently and need different features.

To find out more about work inefficiencies, Workfront recently surveyed more than 260 marketing professionals across the U.S. and revealed these top four:

1. Distractions and Interruptions - 74 percent of marketing professionals cited distractions and interruptions as the number one work inefficiency. Distractions and interruptions not only break the creative flow, but according to research, can eat up to 2.1 hours a day for the average worker.[i]

2. Overflowing Email Inboxes - Email may be the most commonly used tool, but it's not the most efficient. 63 percent of marketing professionals cited overflowing email inboxes as one of their top work inefficiencies, and, according to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, the average worker spends 28 percent of the workweek managing email.

3. Unproductive Meetings - 56 percent of marketing professionals listed unproductive meetings as one of their top work inefficiencies. With time wasted in chitchat and discussions that go nowhere, studies show that as much as 50 percent of meeting time is unproductive and up to 25 percent of it is spent discussing irrelevant issues.

4. Random Work Requests - 36 percent of respondents cited random work requests as a major work inefficiency,[vii] making it clear that the common refrain of "It'll only take five minutes" is not so benign. Random requests rarely only take five minutes and almost always reduce your focus on getting the most important tasks done first.

When it comes to managing marketing work, having the right structure in place is the key to controlling work chaos. What does the right structure look like? Here are the three most important components:

Manage All Work in One Place

When you're using several disparate tools work and data get scattered, making gathering information from various tools, creating reports, and keeping everyone in the loop is laborious. Having a single tool that manages the entire work life cycle in one place eliminates silos, provides instant status updates, and keeps all work connected and in context so work can continue to flow smoothly.

In addition, with a single source of truth provided by one tool, you'll be able to easily provide concrete data and real-time insights into what your team is doing and the value they deliver.

Automate Processes

Using templates and creative briefs to help automate processes may seem counterintuitive—more forms, more time—and you may encounter some initial pushback. But automating common processes actually eliminates starting from scratch every time you launch a new project or campaign. It also ensures that you've clearly defined who is responsible for what and when each step in the process should take place, saving time and increasing output.

Most importantly, using templates and automating processes frees up time for creativity by eliminating repetition, building team consensus, and aligning expectations.

Collaborate in Context

Daily status meetings, long email chains, phone calls that no one else has visibility into, or instant messages that disappear with the closing of a window—these kinds of communications make it difficult to collaborate effectively. Who said what gets forgotten or time gets wasted looking for buried information. Instead, collaboration needs to happen in the context of the work being done in a social and natural way so that all communication remains connected to the work.

When information such as team members, dates and times, related documents, project discussions, and other important information are all connected to the work, feedback doesn't get forgotten and time isn't wasted searching for answers or insights. Instead, everyone stays on the same page, in one place.

To help you choose the best tool for your team, download the Marketing Work Management Buyer's Guide.

About the Author

Raechel Duplain

Raechel is an award-winning content marketer who has particular expertise in managing B2B content marketing projects and campaigns, developing content strategies, and marrying content with design. She’s a Certified Scrum Master and a Marketing Workflow Expert who’s passionate about the Agile Marketing methodology. When she’s not working, Raechel spends her time with her husband, at the beach, or pretending like she’s going for a run.

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