There’s a long-established idea that creativity is somehow rooted in chaos: structure and organization are kind of the enemy of great ideas.
If it wasn’t time to rethink this idea, it is surely now.
In 2020, creative teams around the world were removed (often without warning) from their offices and distributed to home offices and kitchen tables.
Most of us switched from a world of face-to-face communication to a world of video calling, email, and chat apps.
And this only reinforced one idea that many have already held to be true: Big creative teams don’t just need great ideas – they also need great processes, communication and project management to be successful.
Amid all this chaos, the team of Project.co We just released the Project Management Status Report to find out how creative teams are managing their projects over the course of 2021.
The survey looked at which teams are doing well and what they think could be improved. It examined which tools and systems they use and how their processes affect their efficiency and productivity.
- People almost unanimously believe that there is room for improvement in managing projects.
- Most people struggle to get an overview of what others on their team are working on, and many see communication in their company poorly – despite recognizing its critical business importance.
- An alarmingly high number of people openly admit it regularly missing deadlines – and even forget about tasks they have.
- Email is predominantly the predominant means of communication, both between teams and with customers – although this is not for everyone.
About the survey
Project.co’s Project Management Status is a comprehensive report designed to assess how creative teams manage their projects and communications.
A series of questions are asked to evaluate what the project management landscape looks like. This is the first report, but it is published annually and will track changes in the industry over time.
The results of this report were collected in December 2020 by interviewing 437 individual respondents from various industries, niches and countries.
The main results
The power of task clarity
It turned out that having a clear list of tasks that must be done methodically is an essential driver of well-being and performance.
95% of the people Feeling that having a list of tasks to do each day is good for their sanity, and 96% of people the feeling that it makes them more efficient and productive.
Of those who don’t make a daily to-do list, 90% say that they either “occasionally” or “regularly” miss or forget tasks.
A problem with cross-team visibility
An old metaphor for coordination is that the left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing.
In business terms, this means that employees need to know what others are working on on their team. Avoid rework, duplication and make it easier to enter creative solutions and different perspectives from different teams.
This is confirmed by the fact that 94% Many people believe that having a good view of what their teammates are working on improves productivity and efficiency in a company.
But this is where it gets interesting: less than half (42%) Many people say it is easy for them to understand what other members of their team are working on at any given time.
Needless to say, given the current situation, this is a particularly big missed opportunity where better cross-team understanding and collaboration can clearly help fuel employee engagement and tackle many of the challenges that come from working remotely surrender.
Communication with customers
When it comes to communicating with customers, email rules the quarter. 67% of people say they mostly communicate with customers via email, which overshadows phone calls (8th%) Project management software (9%), Online meetings (8th%) and face-to-face meetings (5%).
But that doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Less than the half Many people say email is their preferred way of dealing with companies as customers 25% They prefer to use project management software.
Email is less than ideal because of its isolated, disconnected nature – this often leads to lost / misplaced assets, inconsistent information sharing, and a frustrating experience for the customer.
Room for improvement
The data shows how people feel that things could and should be better.
92% Many people believe that working with their teammates could be improved.
And this affects the daily results: only 16% of people say they “always” meet their deadlines.
This shows that organization, communication, efficiency, and reliability are paramount in the creative industry – late delivery, shoddy communication, and poor organizational levels are still a major factor and undoubtedly keep countless companies from achieving their full potential.
Time tracking and project profitability
For many creative teams, time is money – and that is often literally the case, since many agencies are billed by the hour.
The actual intelligence and the data currently being spent on projects are clearly very important – or at least should be.
Notably, the survey found that 15% of companies actually bill customers based on the time spent on projects Do not track this time at all.
When companies track time spent on projects, only 13% believe it is tracked “extremely accurately” and 35% say it is not very accurately tracked at all.
And the data, even if collected, is underutilized: 60% People who track time spent on projects say they don’t retrospectively use this data to determine the efficiency of their projects.
In analyzing this data, it seems that there is essentially good news and bad news.
The bad news is that the data represents a creative industry that is experiencing a real crisis in terms of fundamental issues like organization, task and time management, communication, and operational efficiency. There is little doubt that these “fundamentals” undermine the amazing creative work in a number of industries and niches, and sell companies short.
The good news, however, is that people really seem to understand that these are problems. Problems are clearly on the radar as they have been identified and there appears to be a demonstrable obligation to resolve them.
In many ways, there’s no better time to take stock. If necessity is the mother of invention, it could well be that current world events are the driving force behind a new era of investment in systems, processes and technology, the creative projects for the teams involved and of course the customers.
By investing in software that allows teams to gain more visibility into work, create their own to-do lists, communicate in one place, and track time / project profitability, companies can finally take control of the smooth running of their projects.
In return, they can offer their employees a healthier and more efficient experience – while effortlessly delivering a customer service experience that matches the quality of their creative work.
You can read the full report – with many more data points – and get a downloadable version by visiting Project.co’s Project Management Status page.