Designers in general enjoy what they do primarily because of the creative freedom they get. The very idea of measurable goals contradicts creative freedom. There is no guarantee of how and when “the big idea” will come to you. Sometimes the idea comes to you instantly, and sometimes it takes forever. Creative people function differently, and it’s only fair to give them some liberty if you are expecting great work from them.

Creative-people

Creative Minds

Having said that, over the last few years I have realized that to function as a business, more importantly – a profitable business, it is critical to establish measurable goals without hampering the creative freedom designers enjoy. To ensure this, we have started following a very simple process and it does seem like it is working. Every Friday evening, the entire team comes together and plans the following week. We list down all the tasks we need to accomplish, meetings we need to attend, payments we need to pursue, leads we need to follow-up with – every task, big and small, is listed down.

The tasks are further broken down to non-creative and creative tasks. Non-creative tasks are the obvious – payments, calls, billing, etc. – all being measurable and easy to monitor. Creative tasks are further classified into three categories – Find, Think and Do. The “Find” category are usually research-related tasks, which most of the times are measurable as there is a methodology or a plan of action for all research work that we do. The “Do” tasks also are also most of the times measurable because they involve the last mile of the creative process, which involves design adaptations, creative submissions, artwork creation, etc. It is the “Think” category, which is usually tough to measure because these are the tasks that require serious brainstorming, conceptualization and strategy.

Task lists

Breaking into smaller Tasks

Once all tasks are listed down, everyone from the team starts picking what they want to do, which is usually a mix of all three categories. Everyone decides a deadline for his or her task based on a discussion, the objective for everyone is to produce high quality work and meet the deadline. For all “Think” tasks we usually have more than one person working on it as a team, which makes it easier to meet deadlines. While one of two people lead these “Think” tasks, we make sure that they are done as a group / team brainstorming sessions so that there are more minds working on it.

teamwork-concept

Teamwork

Also remember, that the “Think” tasks are the most exciting, that’s what most designers live for so at most times they put their best foot forward and make sure they meet the deadline. Occasionally, when a designer is unable to meet a deadline, there is always another one to jump in and help; this is easy because we work as a team. Breaking up projects into these segments allows us to monitor productivity; it makes projects exciting and also helps meet deadlines.