How does a design studio, from the outset, ensure smooth project management? This is pertinent for even the smallest of studios and freelancer businesses. Traffic management or work flow is always something that comes up as a studio/designer gets busier. In the early stages of a business a traffic manager just may not be an option.
Up until recently Blossom has been using a combination of MYOB (I have a book keeper for the tax and fiddly legal book stuff), Word (for quotes and proposals), Illustrator (for pretty job/time sheets), email and a calendar for my traffic flow, and it simply isn't working efficiently. There is too much work, we are too busy, and I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep an accurate track of costings, progress on jobs, time spent, freelancers, commissioned work, invoices and paper work. It takes so much time to enter a job into the system, that we end up just winging it to get to work done. There's then the danger of dropping the ball on all the other projects, and the system goes pear shaped. Something needed to change. All business have growing pains, but some days I wish there was an instruction manual that came with this gorgeous but challenging business!
After years of searching (and there are lots of time trackers and project management software not specific to advertising) I have finally found what I think may be the answer to my workflow issues. It can be integrated into a large studio as I grow the business, but for now it's an affordable license fee.
I am referring to Streamtime, which is a studio management programme, and helps to manage customer liaison, planning, time sheets, quotes, calendars, reports, invoices, customised stationery, WIP AND it even has an iphone app. I cannot WAIT to implement this into my little studio and have the work flow bubbling through the studio, with systems in place to ensure we creatives can spend more time doing what we are best at.
Oh and it takes into account that studios are generally Mac based, so it's Mac friendly, which means that the accounts department can integrate with the creatives and keep us all in the loop. Fongers crossed will post updates. Meanwhile I am entering all my pricing into the system, importing clients etc etc. I'll surface again eventually.