Productivity, Project Management

How to optimize your project initiation process

As the marketing or creative services department, your team is the creative heart of your company, churning out quality videos, sales materials, emails, web pages and more. But you can’t deliver amazing projects if you can’t even get them started. Having a disjointed project initiation process can lead to all kinds of issues down the line, ultimately causing delays and costing your organization money. To ensure successful project management, you need to make sure every project starts off on the right track. Here’s how to optimize your initiation process so projects go smoothly from beginning to end.

Define the request process

One of the most common challenges for marketing and creative departments is the way in which they receive project requests. It can feel like the Wild West sometimes with requests coming in from emails, budget meetings, or even chance encounters in the elevator. Without a standard request process, things can get lost in the shuffle.

By defining the request process, you take the ambiguity out of project initiation and make planning and scheduling that much easier. A great way to standardize this process is with project management software. A solution like RoboHead creates a hub where any outside business segment can go to place a project request. Having a centralized request portal increases accountability and ensures every request gets the attention it deserves.

Create a project brief

In order to truly optimize your project initiation process, you need to not only standardize the way requests come in, but also the information included in those requests. The best way to do that is with a creative brief that outlines everything the outside party is looking for in the project. The brief should include information about the target audience, how the asset will be used, timelines, and who will review and approve the final deliverable. But it should also include design information like the asset’s format, photo needs, sizing and other creative elements.

You can either create and distribute a creative brief document that needs to be filled out and sent back to your team, or you can use project management software that streamlines this process. Software like RoboHead has customizable fields you can use to ensure you’re capturing all of the information your team needs to begin a creative or marketing project. Users simply select the type of project they want to request, and the relevant fields are displayed automatically. This eliminates confusion for your team and cuts down on the back-and-forth needed to get a project underway.

Establish clear expectations and strong communication

If project requests are coming through in one central location, and you’re capturing all the information your team needs, you’re already well on your way to optimizing your initiation process. But you also need to establish strong communication channels and set expectations to make sure you finish just as strong as you started. This means identifying all stakeholders — including writers, designers as well as people outside of your team who will review and approve the deliverable — and outlining project timelines upfront. Looping everyone together and identifying the channels you’ll use to make edits and track approvals will help ensure the project stays on track as it moves from request to creation and ultimately delivery.

Starting out a project strong is the best way to avoid delays and complications later on. The key is to make sure you have complete information and establish solid expectations with all parties involved. By optimizing your project initiation process, you can avoid major headaches and be the valuable creative machine your organization needs to be successful.

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