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.
Zahn argues the rule should be implemented in business process modeling to accommodate a minimum of 3 unique parent tasks with no more than 7 child tasks per parent. So, to make the analogy from BPMN to the creative project:
Minimum number of tasks
- 3 parent task
- 3 children each
- Total of 12 unique items
Maximum number of tasks
- 7 parent tasks
- 7 children each
- Total 56 unique items
Zahn reckons this is the ideal number of milestones and activities to accurately depict a process. Basically, give the elevator speech, not the miniseries, of how this project needs to flow through the agency. If you can view a project schedule as a process, which I would argue that they are two sides to the same coin, then you can see the value of applying this strategy to your project scheduling.
If you agree with my other posts about standardization leading to leaner projects, and evaluating project schedules through the SIPOC methodology, then you should see the value of applying this construct to the management of creative agency projects. This model can help your firm focus on deliverables by cutting through excess, thus making each step more precisely meet the objectives laid out in the creative brief.
Again, I’d love to get people’s input on this. Do you find it to glib to be so focused on numbers of tasks in a project? Or do you see value in streamlining the excess and getting to the core needs of your project? Remember, Zahn proposes this strategy as a guideline, not hard and fast rule. Should we call in the Guideline of Seven for Creative Agency Project Management?