When it comes to creative project management, many ad agencies and marketing teams find out the hard way that a specialized solution is required to meet their needs. And by the hard way, we mean that more often than not a traditional project management software is used by ad agencies, which unfortunately renders their workflow and processes ineffectual.

Traditional tools do not meet the needs of ad agencies.

It can never be stated enough that it’s critical for agencies to match their needs with the right agency management software. In the case of project management, we’d like to demonstrate why agencies need to move away from traditional tools, which are not the right fit for them.

Too project-oriented

Traditionally these systems were geared towards helping corporate project managers oversee company-wide endeavors that often include multiple departments, large staffing numbers and a myriad of tasks. In summary, these tools are very project orientated and typically designate a beginning and an end to the project. In a creative agency, the project manager may share the task of managing the contributions and tasks of staff members and departments, but their success is far more dependent on communication and collaboration. Agency project managers, therefore, tend to be more focused on ensuring the creative workflow is transparent to the right people as well as efficient for quality and timely output. Traditional project management solutions do not cater to the intricacies of workflow processes nor do they consider that within an agency repeat or extended campaigns will not fit within its finite structure.

Focus heavily on planning with little flexibility

Traditional project management tools begin each project by focusing heavily on the various aspects of planning a large project. While some planning needs to take place in a creative agency before a project commences, the real focus for agency project managers is to ensure that once the work has started it stays on track. That means having functions that allow stakeholders to provide timely feedback and stay up to date with progress, which are often ignored in traditional software. The agency project manager must also be able to determine which assets and staff are needed, while also having the capability to add extra components later on to adjust the project where needed. Again traditional management tools don’t offer the flexibility within its functions to suit the changing creative landscape.

Too task-oriented.

Traditional project management software focuses heavily on the status of various tasks within the project. Due to their highly collaborative work processes, creative project managers require a solution that allows them to share assets, share or split tasks and assign new deadlines (within the split task), and allocate resources and staff within the agency. While having a comprehensive task list and knowing the status of a task are important, there are many micro-functionalities that are not met by non-creative project management software. Without these, agencies are potentially missing critical steps in their workflow, which adversely affects the success of the final product or campaign.

Features often too complex and not suited to ad agency

Traditional project management software commonly includes complex features strictly designed for corporate project managers. When implementing software, a steep learning curve often makes adaptation and integration slow for staff resulting in sluggish communication, lowered productivity and potentially abandonment of what could be expensive software. More importantly, learning or using technical jargon that does not apply to the creative working environment can also present additional challenges, which make the utilization of project management software difficult.

The right agency project management software can put critical information like project communications, assets, client information, project and task statuses, digital assets and client briefs in front of the right eyes with just a click of the mouse. The right creative project management ssystem can help your agency achieve greater efficiency, productivity and performance. The wrong project management software can mean a costly failure for agencies, and frustrations for both staff and clients.

This article was originally posted the Admation Blog.