How creatives, project managers and developers can better work together
A lot of chefs are required for digital projects, especially when creating, launching and managing a new website. While a varied skill set within a team working towards the same goal is imperative, it can also lead to communication issues—a natural hiccup when handling the many moving parts involved in such an endeavour.
Vigilant project managers are required to manage the scope and ensure deadlines are met; creatives are needed to create content, work out user needs and make it beautiful and proficient; detail-oriented developers are essential to making it work.
In short, communication is key and will save money, time and effort from everyone. Here are some tips to make it run smoothly…
Establish a timeline and be vigilant with it
It’s important for the project manager to set a time frame and deadlines from the get-go. This will come in handy when managing clients’ often unrealistic expectations, as well as giving each member of your team a better idea of when crunch time will be for their skill set—so there’s no confusion about workflow, or who should take ownership at each phase.
It’s worth setting soft deadlines for your team and only telling your client about the hard deadlines. There will inevitably be hiccups in such a complicated process, and this way, you’ll give yourself some breathing room if certain aspects of the project are taking longer than expected.
Meet with the whole team while conducting early planning
Bring everyone—writers, designers, developers—together at the outset to share the timeline and plan of action, as well as to brainstorm ideas concerning the overall look and feel of the project and what it needs to achieve.
It’s also beneficial for any team member who already has ideas e.g. design style, to share them so early—in case any issues need to be flagged or complicated concepts considered further. A good understanding of project goals is essential to a productive workflow.
Compile a creative brief for everyone
This doesn’t need to be exceptionally complicated and can just be a one-page document. The brief should include anything that might influence the look and feel of the project e.g. a short summary, notes on demographics, tone of voice and competitors.
While we usually associate personas and demographics with designers and marketers, the whole team will benefit from knowing your target audience. This will also help to ensure that everyone is in sync.
Avoid superfluous meetings and use project management tools when possible
Project managers have a lot to consider when undertaking such a huge venture and need to manage everyone’s responsibilities. While meetings can be important for communicating and troubleshooting these tasks, they can also be massive time wasters and result in a delayed workflow.
Consider what needs to be discussed and who would need to be involved, plan accordingly and estimate how much time it should take. Alternatively, start using project management apps like Asana and Basecamp, which streamline communication and keep track of what tasks are at hand, who they are assigned to and when the deadline is.
Be as clear as possible
It can be tricky for team members with different specialties to communicate effectively. Just as the communication of visual ideas or campaigns might not land with developers, Java issues might not make sense to designers. It’s worth noting that we can’t read each other’s minds—so if you want something done fast, state the obvious and be thorough with your request so nothing gets lost in translation.
Little things, like having a set filing system for shared folders and naming documents in a clear pre-defined format, will help everyone on the project. Also, make sure communications are easily identifiable with subject lines and task names that are relevant to the issue or message. For example, ‘Homepage image not loading’ is better than ‘Urgent problem—please fix’.
Be realistic with expectations
Each team member’s abilities and skill set can be somewhat beyond understanding for the others. Keep in mind that no matter how small, easy or straightforward something looks, it may take the person who created it a week to amend. Not to mention, everyone is working within a limited framework where there are time and budgetary constraints. So if someone says ‘we’re doing all we can’… they’re probably doing all they can.
Trust your team members
Have faith in your colleagues’ expertise on a given subject. It’s okay to ask questions and share your experience, but don’t forget that they have probably made certain choices for a reason. As their team member, you need to trust their expertise and that it’s probably the right decision.
If you are looking for a team of highly skilled copywriters, designers and project managers to ensure your strategy is successful this year, talk to the experts at ALHAUS. We offer a variety of services to support your goals.