About Damian Sian

I am a Digital Project Manager at Fortune 500 financial company in New Jersey. I hold my MS in Graphic Communications Technology Management and have a over 10 years industry experience. I really dig process and I enjoy applying theories otherwise thought to be strictly the domain of other industries, to the struggles faced by creative agency professionals.

Kanban for creative agency projects

Kanban Board in the creative agency

Your firm may use software solutions to track project tasks and schedules, but there is also a physical, tangible asset in you work flow: the job bag. Instead of reinventing the wheel to create a perfect system to track their location in your agency, let’s “borrow” from the established technique of Kanban. A Kanban Board may be the perfect tool for the creative agency Traffic Manager to track physical assets through your agency.

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Spaghetti diagraming in the creative agency

Spaghetti Diagraming in the Creative Agency

A Spaghetti Map is a visual depiction of a physical work flow borrowed from the Lean Manufacturing world. Its primary function is to map, and subsequently revise, processes. By performing this exercise you will measure distance and duration, and more importantly, visualize the patterns your processes take.

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Visualize your workflow with swim lane diagrams

Swim lane diagram creative agency projects

The best way I have found to diagram a project’s work flow is through the swim lane diagram. The swim lane not only tells you the process in a sequential manner, it also indicates roles and responsibilities at each step. These diagrams are a great way to visually explain processes within the organization for both Project Managers and Traffic Managers alike.

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Performance indicators for creative project health

Using Cost Performance Index to measure project health in the creative agency

Anecdotal version: “You have a project with a budget of $1,000 that is 80% complete but you’ve only spent $600 of your budget on it so far. That’s one healthy project! We should do this more often!”

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a tool that can help the creative agency get a quick look at the overall health of a project. I want to review a couple of the key concepts of EVM and apply it to a health check that can be performed on a project over time to give the creative agency project manager a useful report to check on a project’s health.

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The Rule of Seven in creative agency project management

Rule of 7 applied to creative agency projects

If you’ve read any of my other posts you can tell I really go for the concepts that apply rules to creative agency project management. A concept as succinct and transmutable to business applications as The Rule of Seven is quite appealing to me. In his article, Modeling business processes with the Rule of Seven, Jonas A. Zahn spells out a great use of the rule in regards to documenting process. He applies the rule to effectively “cut away the fat” of for business process modeling (BPMN). I love this idea and I would like to extend this construct the creative project.

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Applying the inverted pyramid model to closing creative agency projects

Inverted pyramid project flow technique

Can you recall being in grade school and learning the inverted pyramid system of writing expository essays? The system stipulates your introduction ought to be started out broad and then focus to a thesis point. Conversely, in the essay’s conclusion, you should reverse the process by recapping your thesis and move out to broad strokes that recap the points of your essay. I’ve always liked this model and would I like to propose that its simple relationship can be translated into a project management scenario in the creative agency. Specifically, the inverse pyramid model has value in the realm of closing processes in the creative agency project.

5S Lean: standardization in the creative project

Task harmonization in creative agency projects

Mention the word standardization in the creative agency an you are likely to see an abrupt change in the countenance of your audience. The two terms, at face value, seem at odds with one another. How can you standardize something as intrinsically unique as creativity? Skilled project management professionals within the creative agency should be able to find the fundamental basics of project work-flow the that can be standardized across what would seem vastly different project types.

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Deconstruct a task in a creative project

SIPOC to define tasks in creative agency projects
The Task

A seemingly innocuous term that is the building block of any creative project’s schedule. Recently, I’ve been deconstructing the component pieces that comprise a task. Essentially I’ve been asking myself if certain tasks belong on a project schedule. I have decided to use  the SIPOC model to help me suss out erroneous items.

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