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What if I told you about a process you could implement in your agency that would increase trust with your customers, allow you to lead them and assert your high value?
Known by other names such as Strategic Client Section, onboarding does the great work of aligning your agency with a customer before you begin your work.
We've been discussing the power of onboarding on my podcast, The Businessology Show (sponsored by WorkflowMax). This has a lot to do with proper positioning of a firm's messaging to it's potential customers. For example, being "full service" or offering a "wide range" of services is an attempt to align with the whole world does not work, and may be why you are struggling to bring in the right customer that trusts you.
This is decidedly moving beyond a 'target market.' Wise creative professionals are making bold promises online, and forcing alignment discussions with their new potential customers. Requiring discovery with your clients is the attempt at selling knowledge, and forcing the client into deeper discussions. In my next article, wea€™ll look at 5 unexpected changes that come about as you implement an onboarding strategy. A Spaghetti Map is a visual depiction of a physical work flow borrowed from the Lean Manufacturing world. The best way I have found to diagram a project’s work flow is through the swim lane diagram. Reduce errors – use a checking process to reduce mistakes on briefs, and mistakes on work! Custom Branded version: Provide your logo and font guidelines and we’ll prepare a custom branded form for you, including examples on how to complete the form.
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Comprehensive Creative Director position description including job summary, and details on over 120 tasks this role should perform. Comprehensive Art Director position description including job summary, and details on over 55 tasks this role should perform. Custom Branded version: Provide your logo and font guidelines and we'll prepare a custom branded form for you, including examples on how to complete the form. The award for the most overused and trite term used in the creative agency goes to… “Think outside the box.” Why then write a post that props it up as an important element to the creative process and creative project management? A koan is meant to bring about deep reflection on a topic with the intent of taking the practitioner closer to the goal of enlightenment. Hi, my name is Damian, and I have a problem with the current state of estimating in creative agencies. Do you also have an agency that is averse to estimating?
Really enjoying the case studies presented in regards to the benefits of limiting WIP to increase efficiency. Kanban has a great use in any situation that could use the structure of a pull system to enter work into the flow. The Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) methodology promotes scheduling projects in a way that is cognizant of resource constraints and avoids multi-tasking. There is such a process and many are implementing it to the benefit of their agencies and their customers. This theme originated from the software product industry, as technology companies sought more deliberate and effective ways to onboard their customers to use their product.

I've been building my onboarding processes for a few years, and it's power is becoming foundational to the existence of my firm.
Oddly enough, though agencies do this well for their clients, they struggle focusing on this within their own organization. In today's changing world of agile, experimental business models, we must now seek to align, not sell. They know the higher they raise their flag of brand promise, the greater chance the right customer will self-identify and purposely align with their agency.
A few beliefs are "you don't know what your client needs," and "your client doesn't know what they need." Obviously, there is a wide range of truth in between these two statements. As humans, we take our burdens, fears and past experiences into our relationships with our digital agencies.
The wise creative professional knows that these intimate interactions always end up with new information the agency can use to build the right things for their customers.
Hourly billing allows you to jump into serving a customer just a few hours after you've met. Visually mapping the work flow of a creative project throughout its life cycle in the agency. The swim lane not only tells you the process in a sequential manner, it also indicates roles and responsibilities at each step.
This was our brief when asked to re-invent Champions with a luxury, traditional logo design and brand guidelines.
This template prompts users to clearly define key areas including the project background, objectives, targets, proposition and tone of voice, along with timings and internal approvals. You’ll be able to upload your logo at the checkout, and branded forms are usually delivered within 24 hours.
As a designer, it can sometimes be difficult to put yourself in the presenter’s shoes. Because I enjoy irony, and there is a lesson to learn in this aphorism that is oft overlooked and deserves greater attention afforded to it. These concise and clever proverbs contain gems that afford a better perspective on complex topics.
The inference in business terms becomes improvement, or the process of continuing improvement.
There is a lot of ground to cover on Critical Chain Project Management but in this post I want to focus on a key area that may be one of the hardest to swallow; limiting Work in Progress (WIP) by staggering project schedules. Building processes around this important topic increased the customer lifetime value of customers trying out the software vendor's products. So let me tell you what you tell your customers - you must be able to define your customer before you can align with them. To that end, the wise creative professional will never take a belief or statement for granted - they will vet it out, seek more information and probe until they know what their client's real needs are.
By performing this exercise you will measure distance and duration, and more importantly, visualize the patterns your processes take.
These diagrams are a great way to visually explain processes within the organization for both Project Managers and Traffic Managers alike. The resulting identity is a very symmetrical, contemporary icon presented in a traditional, centred format.
Creative projects suffer from imbedding false assumptions and self-limiting beliefs into the project plan via a vertical, linear thinking that keep ideas well inside this proverbial box.

Kaizen’s history in the business world began with manufacturing and is closely associated with 5S Lean, but like any simple theory based in the scientific method, it can be applied to broad range of industry.
The uninitiated may look at that resource as the weakest link in your process, but a closer examination would point the finger to poor scheduling. The CCPM method then adds another step that many in the creative agency profession would find shocking: cut those durations estimates in half! Similarly, you may be able to surmise a client's needs right when they walk in your front door. If I want to claim high value in my firm, and price accordingly, an aligned customer must be prepared to receive my price. Printing techniques and textured paper stock were selected to enhance the quality design and feel.
I would argue that holding the principles of Kaizen as a core value is especially imperative for the Creative Agency Project Manager. Drum Buffer Rope (DBR) seeks to provide a solution to this resource overload through a limiting WIP principle. Let’s review a 12-step program that can lead your creative agency to a rehabilitated estimating process.
While working on the client’s presentation design, ask yourself this, “How can you communicate their idea most effectively?” When you understand the full potential of their message, you can design accordingly.2.
You’re the perfect audience.As someone who doesn’t know the topic, you’re the ideal audience. Before you start the design process, make sure you schedule the time to go over the topic with the presenter. It will help you as a designer understand the project fully and the presenter will reap the benefits from your constructive feedback.3. While we all may have an encyclopedia of content to share with the world, it won’t matter if all of it gets lost.
Keeping each slide extremely simple will help individual key concepts shine on their own.4. Without this, concepts end up being confusing and hard to remember once the presentation is over.
Make sure the high-level concepts are clear and understood by using examples or a relatable story.5. Editable is good.Sticking to a design program can produce amazing results, but often the presentation may need future edits. Anticipating future needs and solving them is a value that amazing designers bring to the table.6.
Going into a project expecting that some things will change is key to managing the project efficiently. To solve this in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac we have a great trick: PowerPoint will do this for you.

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