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.

SIPOC

Here is the place where some folks will glaze over and tune out. SIPOC is pretty simple as I can see it: Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers. Let’s look at the break down as it pertains the concept of a task on a creative project. We’ll use a brochure as our use case for anecdotal and narrative purposes.

Suppliers

Who feeds the task? If you think of a project as a series of handoffs from one team to the next, who is feeding the task at hand? If you can’t pinpoint the answer, I would say revise your process or revise this task right off your schedule.

 Inputs

This is an essential piece to uncover if you want to build a solid schedule! What document, form, or idea feeds this task? In the use case, the artist needs a creative brief (input) in order to produce a draft layout (output). When you map these out correctly, you should have a list of deliverable products that is required to complete your project.

Process: 

The way we work. Each task has a unique set of requirements that your firm has expertise in. In the use case, the artist will produce a draft layout from the creative brief using graphics applications.

Outputs

Every task should have a deliverable product as its successful outcome. Again, if you cannot pinpoint the output, get rid of the task. As you perform this exercise you will start to see redundancy in your schedule. I found many tasks in a project could be combined and a more detailed summary produced in the task description. In the use case, we are looking for a draft PDF of the layout to be produced by the artist.

Customers

This is one of the places that requires some stretching. The customer of a task is not always your client. Ultimately the work will be for their viewing, but before the draft PDF is presented to them in the project’s schedule, the PDF must be proofread. Therefore, the output of this task is meant for the customer of Proofreading.

As the project moves through the Plinko machine of tasks that is your project schedule, each component piece should have a clearly defined set of suppliers, inputs, processes, and outputs. If you find a gray area or difficulty in defining any of these constructs to a task, consider revising or deleting it from your schedule.

What you’ll be left with is a lean set of tasks on your schedule that have clearly defined deliverables. These tasks will be easier to track from a Traffic standpoint, and will provide valuable repairing metrics both internally and externally.

Thoughts? Please share.

 

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