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Move from project to project without pulling your hair out

The busy world of creative work frequently means switching from project to project and sometimes even industry to industry, often at a crazy-fast pace and without enough resources. But how can you do it all without wanting to pull your hair out? Layla Revis, VP of Brand & Digital Services at OpenText provided some best practices and insights during a recent Adweek webinar:

Have the right skills and resources in place – Revis, who has worked on both the agency and brand marketer side, shared that having the right skills, the right people and the right tools can help set you up for success.

For skills, she emphasized the ability of briefing properly—clearly communicating what the outcome needs to be, specific deliverables, available resources and realistic timelines.

For people, Revis said she often looks beyond if someone has done an exact job before, and that flexibility and curiosity can also be important traits in being able to pivot between projects. Not ruling out people who work in other industries, for example, can provide perspectives and insights into what worked and didn’t work in those industries.

Resources can get particularly tricky. In a recent creative collaboration report, Hightail and Digiday found that 82% of respondents had fewer resources than needed to meet demands of creative asset production. She said having the right tools to streamline processes can be a particularly important resource to help increase productivity when working with other limited resources.

Create benchmarks – Revis also spoke about the importance of benchmarking, using “excessive revisioning” as an example. “There is a point where you have to determine when enough is enough,” she said.  “And what I think is great to do is to look at a successful project that delivered on your ROI and made your client happy.” She then suggested looking at the number of revisions it took to get there, also making note of when smaller revisions might not have added real value. “Benchmark that because then you’ll know what good looks like and you won’t continue to have the same frustrations.”

Arm yourself with info – Important information to have to pivot between projects and industries include customerpain points, regulations that might have an impact, competitive information, the “reason to believe” in a particular product or solution, the behavior you might want to change, the problems a particular offering solves and how those problems were solved historically. She added that it’s also important to know the strengths of everyone on your team so you can allocate them to projects effectively,

Get everyone together – Revis spoke about the importance of weekly meetings, even if they’re just 15 minutes long. I actually think sometimes we get more done in 15 to 30 minutes than we do when we have an hour to two hours to belabor a topic.” She also suggests having an agenda for the beginning of every meeting to keep things on track, as well as at the end of the meeting for next steps.

Keep “the 4th way” in mind – Revis shared a brainteaser one of her mentors told her about an enemy army stationed across a river at the top of an embankment, leaving her with three potential choices:

  • Cross the river and risk your fate, but their army is twice the size of yours and you’ll surely fail.
  • Turn your back and head home, but your king will execute you for surrendering.
  • Abandon your army to save your own life.

When Revis thought about what to do, she came up with a fourth option: Lighting a fire to make the enemy army think she retreated, and then look for higher ground where she might have a competitive advantage. “You may have three options in front of you, but there’s usually always another option and it may not be the immediately visible or available option that you see.”

She said that keeping in mind that there might be a “4th way” to do things can help you come up with ways to be more productive and maybe even be revolutionary, as you move from project to project and industry to industry without pulling your hair out.

For more information, please watch the webinar on demand. For Layla’s answers to some of the questions that came up during the webinar, please read her blog post, “3 things you need to know to pivot between projects.”Blog contributor banner 1

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