A creative agency generally has two different types of projects to balance: the big projects that take longer, and the small projects that clients expect finished sooner. It’s not a “first come, first served” business where one project is worked on until completion before starting the next. A system for project time tracking is key to management success. Having an estimation of how long a project of a certain scope takes allows administrators to assign tasks to employees based on how many available hours they have that week.
Keeping records of the hours spent on every project ever completed is a lot of work, especially when it is up to each employee to track their own hours. Even when accomplished, there is likely to be inaccuracies. Even more work is hosting all-staff meetings a few times a week to take stock of who has free time and who doesn’t, who’s behind and who’s finished with each project. And that’s assuming everyone shows up.
Bric allows you to leave to busy work of organization and planning behind. The project time tracking is done for you. With a quick glance at the Dashboard, anyone logged onto Bric can see how many projects are active, how many hours people put into their projects that week, if the projects are on track, and if they are over or under budget for that week.
On a single webpage, an owner manages his entire agency. Bric has the record keeping and analyzing under control.
Managing a creative agency is like orchestrating a concert. Not everyone in the orchestra has the same sheet music in front of them, but, played together, the harmonies make a beautiful sound. However, if the trumpets have too many notes to play, or the violins not enough, this effects the success of the concert.
In the same vein, agency owners stand on a fine line when scheduling employees: they don’t want to burn them out, but they also want to take full advantage of their skills.
Diligent project time tracking allows more accurate estimates for the future. More accurate estimates means employee optimization and client satisfaction.
Affirmation. Creative professionals are aptly named: they are creative, individual people who don’t churn out products to meet a quota. Don’t frame the success of your business around profit. Frame it around the confidence you have in your employees to carry on the success of the company.
Consideration. Know your employees’ quirks. Know what types of projects they always do well at, and know what areas in which they need to be pushed. Use Bric’s Dashboard to see, for example, how many hours a new employee spent on smaller projects, and from there decide if he is ready to learn a new skill.
Motivation. This doesn’t mean going around the office handing out stickers with puppies saying “Good Job!”. On Bric’s Dashboard, employees see how many hours everyone has put in that week, and if the team as a whole has stuck with the budget. This data-centered model promotes a “we’re all in this together” mentality. Employees feel like they work for something greater than a paycheck, like the success of the company.
There is a certain degree of neuroticism and perfectionism involved in creative work. For creative professionals, at some point it becomes not about getting things done, but about getting things right.
Recently, I helped a friend edit a training video he was hired to film. The original he based it off of was about ten years old and had horrible lip syncing. My friend and I spent long hours perfecting the lip syncing in the new video. To us, the second video was worlds better.
When he asked the client about the lip syncing, she said she didn’t notice a difference.
Unfortunately, most clients don’t notice the difference between an acceptable finished product and a project that has been perfected by the artist’s standards.
Client satisfaction is about reliability. Clients come back to you when you keep your promises. If you tell a client their project will be completed in a X amount of time for X amount of money and you stick to it, you succeed.
This leads back to the orchestra. Without a conductor to orchestrate everyone, there is no guarantee the audience will be satisfied.
Bric is the conductor. Bric shows you where you can fit projects in to meet deadlines, and Bric lets you know when you’re tight on your budget.
With Bric in charge of the data analysis, every client receives accurate deadlines and fair pricing.
Accurate project planning = employee optimization + client satisfaction.
Employee optimization + client satisfaction = confidence on all ends, and, of course, profit.