Saturday, January 19, 2008

Project Mis-Management

In most cases you know about the project 2 weeks or more before it's due, but what happens?........You wait.

14 days away from deadline - You think, "I have plenty of time to get this done and I have other things to do."

Big Mistake! Are you sure you are the one who will be working on it? More than likely, you won't be the only one investing your time on this project. So, take a moment to think about involving those unknowing players about this project. At the least, it will get everyone thinking about what needs to be put together for the project.

7 days away - You get your outlook reminder and snooze it until 3 days before.

3 days away - In passing you mention to your marketer or graphic designer, "We have to get together about something today." The end of the day comes and goes with nothing mentioned.

2 days away - The next morning you get a email or a page over the intercom to come to the office. You get brought in on a project that now has a 2 day time line. The kicker is, no one is ready to give you the information you need to perform your task. You spend that day chasing down people who are involved and don't know it yet. Of course they don't know anything about the project. So at the end of the day, you realize that this project is doomed from the start.

1 day away - The day before the project is due, there is a meeting of all of the players and they look at you like, "so you have everything you need?"

After shaking your head, you inform everyone that you do not have everything you need and that you need their help to complete the project. Everyone gets this look on their face like, oh God, what will I have to do for this?

Having been in this industry for quite some time I've seen this happen way to many times. Now that I think about it, it happens all the time. But, it happens from the top down. Those on the bottom try to build in time to do the project and those at the top seem to ignore the project until the day before it's due.

I have two words to fix this situation..... Project Manager. There only job is the coordination of projects. It's there job to plan and track projects and timelines. Big picture people should never be able to pass out a projects to anyone but other managers. Ideally, the Project Manager. Some one with a 1,000 ft view should be in charge of projects. They have a big enough picture to see what needs to be done first and what needs to be adjusted to meet the deadline.

Any time I can Project Manage my own projects, I never paint myself into a corner when it comes to delivery. So, it can be done.

The other side of this coin involves rushing a process that will ultimately represent your company to your client. So why cut the production time a short as possible? You get out what you put in. So, the next time you rush a project like this to the client and a mistake gets brought to your attention, realize you've done this to yourself.

Plus, you'll keep your staff happier if you don't dump rush projects on them constantly. Give them the time to be the talented people you've hired them to be.

If you find yourself in a position of having a Graphic Design, Web Design or Marketing project and in need of a Project Manager, feel free to call Studio490 for help.

Tj Todd
CEO / Creative Director

Friday, January 18, 2008

Communication 101

I worked with a company some years ago and after listening to their situation, I suggested developing a Corporate Blog. After meeting with Management about the concept, I was told to shelve it until next year. I looked at him and asked him why? After pausing for about 10 seconds to choose his best excuse he said, "we need to take Baby Steps."

I said, "with all due respect, you're a technology company with a website that was developed as a student project, you have no cohesive Marketing materials in place to compensate, you don't write press releases, don't advertise.... what are you waiting for?" He simply, said "No".

I regrouped, went through my idea and pitched it along with a Marketing Plan for the upcoming year (some 2 months) later. I mentioned that I wanted to start a Corporate Blog for them and tried to educate them as to why I felt this was a great idea. Time passed and I proceeded to make plans of how I wanted to architect this new Marketing Tool.

Another project came up and and I felt this would be the ideal situation to implement the blog. I sent out emails describing how I would use the blog and why it would be such a great product for their clients. I thought I was gaining ground on this until one day one of their Directors said, "Tj, what is a blog?" I learned a valuable lesson that day about communication.

  • Tell them
  • Tell them what you told them
  • Tell them again

It was then I realized that they were not unwilling to commit to this idea due to a lack of potential or investment, but unwilling to commit due to a lack of understanding. It took me over 3 months of talking about the concept to get someone to say, "I really don't know what that is."

Have we really come to a place in our culture where we are afraid to ask for more information due to public image?

So, I sat down with the Director and went over what a blog was (again). During the process he asked questions about the software and then gave me buy-in. I think this was the same thing that happened when websites came around. Some were like, "oh god I don't know what that person is talking about", but I don't want to sound out of touch so I'll just say, "well, I don't know if that is the right fit for us at this moment. Let's put it on the side and consider it next quarter." Now look at how many companies have websites.

To all those out there that want to ask the question but don't want to seem less knowledgeable than someone else, ask it anyway. Learn something today to benefit yourself tomorrow.

Tj Todd

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tip #1 - Trade Show Booth Development

We've all been there, you spend weeks working on the design with input from others all while trying to meet a deadline. You finally get everyone on the same page to talk about the same topic and everyone signs off on the project. You send the final file to the printer.

Times passes....

You finally get your trade show graphic and it looks perfect. To be sure the size is right, you set up the table top in the conference room and put up your new trade show booth in all it's glory. Someone walks in (or you invite them to see the beauty) and they say, "hey, I thought we stopped using that vendor?"

Change is the only constant and while that is good for printing companies, it's not good for those of who want some closure to a project. So, I've developed a product which I call "Supportive Panels". I design my trade show booth to allow me to use or not use these panels as needed. They are usually designed on a 11 x 17 inch panel which is then printed out in color and mounted on foam core. We simply attach them to the trade show booth graphic to address specific trade show events.

When the supportive panel is not needed, it is removed and the message underneath is used. We can also use these on easels to put on the table next to the main graphic.

11 x 17 work well because they are a cost friendly size. 1 panel usually cost about 20.00. For a very small amount of money you can now tailor your booth to the event your attending.

Contact us today to let us help you get the most of your trade show experience - 704-948-1587

Tj Todd
CEO / Creative Director

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year from Studio490

Happy New Year

So now what? After the Christmas gifts have been given, exchanged for the right size or what? After we've stayed up until midnight to toast the New Year and sing that song no one knows the words what?

Better Business that's what! Our team at Studio490 has spent some serious time over Starbucks coffee cups talking, planning, focusing and sipping over our goals for 2008. One phrase kept surfacing to the top of the conversation...

You can't go where you've never been, if you don't do what you've never done.

May sound like a cliché, but that's just what we plan to do. With clients ranging from Medical, Non-Profit, Heavy Equipment, Insurance, Software, Environmental and Service, we plan to move into areas that break the normal channels of our industry service.

We look forward to working with you.

Tj Todd
CEO / Creative Director