As Lockdown 2.0 draws to a close, we’ve been looking at what’s really helped us through this past month. Though it hasn’t taken quite as much time to get used to as the first time, there are definitely still challenges involved that make communication more important than ever. A solid project management process has really aided all of us at Kingdom & Sparrow, both working from home and in the studio, so we thought we’d share our tips and look at what they mean for our clients.
1. The right software.
There are so many different types of project management out there, but if you can find the right one, it will make your life (and those of your team and clients) a WHOLE LOT easier and far less pressured. It’s also worth remembering that as you change and grow as an agency, so do your needs – so review your software every now and then. We’ve been served faithfully and brilliantly by Streamtime for several years, but we’re in the process of switching systems to help improve our efficiencies even further. It’s quite a task, but one that (if researched properly!), can offer plenty of payoff.
2. More than one person in the know!
Pressure points can often develop when the person that knows most about a project is away, which is why we make sure that generally, at least two project managers are involved with planning and managing every project, alongside our strategy and design teams. This puts clients’ minds at ease if one of their main points of contact is out of office but also doesn’t leave us floundering if an issue arises.
3. Time management.
This seems an obvious one, but because of that it’s often overlooked. We always allow a realistic amount of time for scheduling work, so that the team aren’t over-pressurised and our clients’ expectations are clear from the offset. We avoid any regular overtime too, to keep our team happy and healthy – which ultimately leads to better creative work.
The value of our open and clear communication crops up time and time again, and we feel extremely lucky to have a team that communicates with each other and clients exceptionally well. We never over promise, and because of that we’re always totally honest about our timelines, our capacity and our costs, often over-delivering instead. Again, it means we very rarely have to ask any of our team to work late or cram work in, and creatively people have much more headspace. If someone’s feeling stressed by their workload, we talk about it and work out how we can alleviate that. This too often leads to much more creatively inspired work.
An oldie, but a goodie. Some weeks where there are upwards of 30 different projects going on in the studio, there are lots of files that need sending, calls that need making and briefs that need writing. Our PM team are naturally great multi-taskers and organisers, but even they can’t be expected to retain the amount of information they sometimes need to – which is where Todoist comes in. If you’re a Project Manager reading this, heed this advice – if you don’t have one already, set up a Todoist account now. In the studio several of us have even started using it for our personal lives too! It’s so helpful and alleviates that awful ‘I’ve forgotten something’ feeling. Total gamechanger.
So there you have it – a few tricks of the trade that makes managing a design studio that much easier. It’s by no means comprehensive, nor can these things be adapted overnight. But, it’s a great place to start to relieve pressure from everyone in the team, and will eventually make everyone’s workload more streamlined.
If you’d like to find out more about making your studio work well, or would like to get in touch about a project, just give us a shout on [email protected]