Your Creative Team Does More Than Just Swag: Creative Project Management Changes That Can Prove It

September 30, 2014 Raechel Duplain

They think all we do is pick out colors.

Maybe it's cliché, but it still holds true that few people within companies have any idea what their creative services team even does, besides design swag and pick out colors. It's this common misunderstanding that leads to the rest of the company, and even executives, questioning the value of the in-house creative team. Truthfully, the life of an in-house creative team is fraught with frustrations—some even painful enough to tweet about. The following tweet comes from a real creative found using the hashtag #CreativeProbs.*

Creative-problems-tweetThis misunderstanding stems from shortcomings in creative project management and occurs because of one unfortunate problem: a lack of visibility. When the rest of the company has no transparency into what your team accomplishes or the value you bring to the table, you will always be under high scrutiny. As it happens, 33% of in-house creative teams say value recognitions from the rest of the company is their biggest challenge. Many creative teams live day-to-day hoping and praying that they will still have their jobs tomorrow and scrambling to find ways to prove their value.

Prove Your In-house Creative Team's Value

Your team has value, but how do you prove it? Making a few small changes in your team's creative project management can go a long way toward facilitating this. Here are a few tips for giving the rest of the company visibility into what you really do:

Stop Managing Your Work in Spreadsheets

Most creative teams have a love-hate relationship with spreadsheets that leans more on the side of hate. Why? Because spreadsheets are seen as a necessary evil. They're awful and clunky (not to mention, ugly), and you can never be sure that they're 100% accurate or up-to-date. Even using a Google Doc, where multiple people have access without having to email back-and-forth, gives no real way to track who makes changes and when. In the end, spreadsheets, used by 82% of companies to manage work, are nothing but hours of manual labor. Instead, find a work management tool that can eliminate your spreadsheets, update automatically and in real time, and provide visibility to all relevant parties.

Be Completely Metrics-driven

Creative types hate to hear this, but it's true. The more often and accurately you can track your value with metrics (i.e. how many projects your team completes per quarter or per year, how many of those are on-time and within budget, and how much those projects contribute to pipeline), the more insights you'll have into how you can improve moving forward and the more the rest of the company will understand your worth. In addition, consider instituting a quarterly MegaDemo, or some sort of a presentation where each subset of your team presents to the company what they accomplished during the quarter and how and why those accomplishments matter.

Even though some #CreativeProbs can be summed up in 140 characters or less, they shouldn't be dismissed with a simple, "Well, that's just the life of a creative." Your in-house creative team has the power to solve all your creative problems and frustrations—you just have to start now to make the change. By managing your work with more visibility and the right structure, you'll dramatically improve the state of your team, kill your work chaos, and show everyone why your team is valuable and awesome.

*Twitter handles and names have been changed to protect tweeter identities. Any connection between our made-up names and handles to real people is purely accidental.

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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