There is an ingrained idea that creativity is somehow rooted in chaos – that structure and organization are somehow the enemy of big ideas. If it was not yet the time to reevaluate that idea, then surely that time is now. After all, in 2020, creative teams from around the world were pulled (often without warning) from their offices and scattered across home offices and kitchen tables. Most of us go from a world of face-to-face communication at any time to a world of video calling, email, and chat applications. And this has only expanded an idea that many already believed to be true: that great creative teams need not only great ideas, but also great processes, communication, and project management to be successful. In the midst of all that chaos, the team of Project.co just released the Project management status report, designed to discover how creative teams manage their projects as we move into 2021. The survey sought to assess what teams are doing well and what they think could be improved. It explored what tools and systems they use, and how their processes affect their efficiency and productivity.
Research Suggests: People almost unanimously believe that there is room for improvement in the way they manage projects. Most people struggle to have visibility into what other members of their team are working on, and many frown upon communication within their business, despite recognizing its critical importance to the mission. An alarmingly high number of people openly admit that they regularly miss deadlines, and even forget the tasks that are pending. Email overwhelmingly dominates as a communication tool, both between teams and with clients, although this is not to everyone’s liking.
About the survey
Project.co’s Project management status is a comprehensive report designed to assess the way creative teams manage their projects and communication. Asks a series of questions to assess what the project management landscape looks like. This is the first report, but it will be published annually and will track changes in the industry over time. The findings in this report were compiled by surveying 437 unique respondents, from a variety of industries, niches, and countries, in December 2020.
The key findings
The power of task clarity
It turned out that having a clear list of tasks to work on methodically is a key factor for well-being and performance. 95% of people feel that having a to-do list each day is good for their mental health, and 96% of people feel that it makes them more efficient and productive. Of those who don’t create a daily to-do list, 90% say they “occasionally” or “regularly” skip or forget tasks.
A problem with visibility between teams
An old metaphor for coordination is that the left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing. In business terms, this means that it is important for people to know what other members of their team are working on, avoiding reworking, duplicating and facilitating the entry of creative solutions and diverse perspectives from all teams. This is validated by the fact that 94% of people feel that having a good view of what their teammates are working on improves productivity and efficiency in a company. Here’s where it gets interesting, though: Less than half (42%) of people say they find it easy to understand what other members of their team are working on at any given time. Needless to say, this is a huge missed opportunity in light of the current situation, where greater understanding and collaboration between teams can clearly help foster a great sense of employee engagement and mitigate many of the challenges that arise from remote working. .
Communication with clients
When it comes to communicating with customers, email rules. 67% of people say they primarily communicate with clients via email, dwarfing phone calls (8%), project management software (9%), online meetings (8%) and face-to-face meetings (5%). But that doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Fewer than half of people say that email is their preferred way of dealing with companies as customers, and 25% say they prefer to use project management software. Email is less than ideal due to its isolated and disconnected nature; This often leads to lost / misplaced assets, inconsistent information sharing, and a frustrating customer experience.
Room for improvement
What is clear throughout the data is to what extent people feel that things could and should improve. 92% of people say they think collaboration with their teammates could be improved. And this trickles down to day-to-day results: only 16% of people say they “always” meet their deadlines. This reveals the fact that while organization, communication, efficiency and reliability are paramount in the creative industry, late delivery, poor communication and poor levels of organization remain a factor. important, and certainly prevent countless companies from reaching their full potential.
Monitoring the time and profitability of the project
For many creative teams, time is money, and that’s often the case literally, with billing being completed by the hour for many agencies. So intelligence and real data on time spent on projects is clearly very important, or at least it should be. Surprisingly, in the survey, it emerged that 15% of companies that actually bill clients based on time spent on projects don’t actually record that time at all. When companies DO track time spent on projects, only 13% believe it is “extremely accurate” tracked and 35% say it is not tracked very accurately. And data, even when collected, is being underutilized: 60% of people who DO track time spent on projects say they don’t use this data retrospectively to identify efficiency in their projects.
To sum up
When evaluating this data, it appears that there is essentially good news and bad news. The bad news is that the data shows a creative industry experiencing a real squeeze around basic issues of organization, task and time management, communication, and operational efficiency. There’s no question that these ‘basics’ are undermining amazing creative work in a variety of industries and niches, and shorting businesses. The good news, however, is that people really seem to ‘understand’ that these are problems. The problems are clearly on the radar, after they have been identified, and there appears to be a demonstrable commitment to solving them. In many ways, there is no better time to take stock of this. If necessity is the mother of invention, it could well be that current world events are the driving force behind a new era of investment in systems, processes, and technology that make creative projects work better for the teams involved, and thus course, the clientele. By investing in software that enables teams greater visibility into work, allows them to create their own to-do lists, communicate centrally in one place, and track project time / profitability, companies can finally take the control over the smooth running of your projects. In turn, they will be able to offer a healthier and more efficient experience for your employees, while effortlessly providing a customer service experience that matches the quality of your creative work. You can check out the full report, with many more data points, and get a downloadable version by visiting Project.co’s Project management status page.