First Responders: Project Prioritization

First Responders is a series that highlights replies to blog posts that may be of particular interest to the in-house community because of their insightful thoughts, advice and ideas.

Teri Beauchamp in response to the post The Setup Solution Part 2: Get With The Priority Program

Here’s an idea for an option 3. Our team implemented a project queue system one year ago. The system works like this:A project owner (or “client”) submits a job to the creative department’s traffic coordinator. If the input for the job is clear and complete, the traffic coordinator enters the project in the queue (an Excel spreadsheet) based on the FIFO principle – first in, first out. We require 10 working days to turn a first comp around. We try and accommodate the less than 10 day jobs, but if no designer is available to work on the job, it’s sent to an outside designer. If the client shows a consistent pattern of less than 10 days for a job, their manager is made aware of it. A copy of the spreadsheet is sent to all of the clients so they can see where their project is in the queue and who the people are that keep ‘bumping’ all the jobs on the list because they require less than 10 days.  So far, this system has helped our team tremendously by making the creative workflow more transparent and holding clients accountable.

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2 thoughts on “First Responders: Project Prioritization

  1. acrespo

    I enjoy reading articles/blog posts etc. that highlight similar challenges and solutions which we have encountered in our creative department. Reassures us we’re on the right course.

    Our IT department developed a software solution in which our project managers (our clients), submit creative requests. I the creative director fully vet out the work order to ensure its clear and complete, I then delegate to the creative based on factors such as work load, experience, etc.

    We also require 10 days for project turn-around, anything less is considered a rush which we have three tiers for. Less than 2 weeks, less than 1 week and less than 2 day rush’s. If we hit a workload jam, we can quickly identify and address the cause.

    This has improved our systems by correcting inefficient job management, in and out of the creative department. We’ve identified that most of the inefficiencies lie outside of our group due to a lack of understanding of the processes involved to accurately, quickly and beautifully execute our designs, packaging, comps, etc.

  2. Matt Frederick

    We have a lot of the same issues and are planning to add a traffic/project manager to our team in 2012. Right now its myself and 3 graphic designers and we are constantly bombarded with rushes and incorrect information. We do about 1000 projects (of varying sizes) a year. I’m so glad to have found this blog. Its going to help save my sanity.