As a marketer, project manager, or freelancer, you are continuously trying to balance communication between different departments and teams. In the beginning, this can be tedious because you’re trying to relay a vision from your clients to the creative team, and then once the concept is executed it can be a strenuous process of communicating the clients feedback back to your creatives.
Most teams handle all this communication through hundreds of emails and slack messages, hours of phone calls, and in-person meetings. On top of that, they keep track of the different stages of a project by using tools like Trello or Asana. However, what if there was an all-encompassing project management tool that handled both communication and project stages?
There is: Filestage is introducing the Agile Review Workflow so you can improve your project management process and workflow.
Managing Communication Between Creative Teams and Clients
Typically as a project manager, you are the central hub for both external communication (your clients) and internal communication (your creative department). In most cases, this means that the creative team is not supposed to get in touch with the client and vice versa. This can be especially true when your organization works with freelancers. In the beginning, you also need to control what your clients see as you’d like them to not be involved with the first draft of a project.
The typical project management process looks something like this:
This workflow can be a cumbersome process of going back-and-forth with internal and external stakeholders. Feedback and words of consideration are easily lost, and it’s difficult to keep everything centralized.
Streamlined Communication for Your Project
Using each review step with the Filestage’s new Review Workflow, you keep all communication between teams and departments under one platform, and you can control who has access to the proofs.
It’s super simple! After you have the kick-off call with a client and then discuss the scope of the project with the creative team, start the project in Filestage by selecting “Create Project.”
After you begin the project, you will invite all necessary internal team members to the project by adding them as teammates in the top right-hand corner. Invite anyone that has a stake in the success of the project at all stages – your creative team, your supervisor, or anyone else.
Team members have a complete overview of all the steps and feedback in each stage of the project management process. They can also upload their original designs, new versions, and move files from being in review to being approved.
Begin Internal Communication on the Proofs
Now that all team members are on board, it’s time to create the internal review step. If you have a standard review process, you will want to invite reviewers. In the first review step, the reviewers are any stakeholders that need to approve the assets before being sent to the next step (Yes, reviewers can be team members too!). For internal reviews, these stakeholders are typically the project manager, head of creation, or, for very important clients, the CEO.
After inviting reviewers, creatives can begin to upload their designs. As new files are added to the review step, the reviewer will get a notification in their email inbox stating that it is time to review the proofs! Also, email notifications are rather intelligent – it will only send out one email even if you’ve uploaded multiple files within a fifteen-minute period! Each time you upload another file, the fifteen-minute timer is reset, so no one will never get bombarded with emails!
Reviewers will be able to access all the proofs in this step, and they can give their feedback directly on a project. To do this, they can add a pointer about what they are referring to, annotate, and even add attachments. Therefore, there are no more guessing games with what someone wants.
Reviewers that are not team members will not be notified about new uploads and see any comments in steps that they are not invited to see.
Once reviewers finish their feedback, it is essential that they confirm it. To do this, they have a couple of options:
Orange shows that they still expect a couple of edits to be done to the file. Green, on the other hand, shows that they are satisfied and approve the proofs.
This step is essential as it gives all team members a clear overview of where the files are in the process of getting reviewed.
Using an internal review workflow helps streamline the communication process in a project so teammates. It gives a quick and precise snapshot of what needs addressing and what work needs to be done.
Once the files are approved, it’s time for the external review step with clients!
Receiving Client Feedback in Your Creative Project
Long gone are the days of client feedback through email and slack communication!
In review step two, invite your external stakeholders as reviewers so that they can join in on the collaboration process. When bringing on reviewers, you can also add a personal note with some extra details like the deadline of the project or important things to note.
Team members can begin to drag and drop your approved files from review step one to review step two. The proofs in the first stage will remain with their original comments, but a clean version will now appear in the second review step. Once again, reviewers will be notified that there are new proofs to be reviewed. Also, internal communication on the first review step is never visible to clients.
For communication transparency, all the team members can view the comments in all projects. Each teammate can comment back to the clients and even tag other stakeholders so that they will be notified by email. Depending on your review process, it could be important to let some team members know they should not interact with proofs on specific steps.
Similar to the first internal review, these reviewers will mark when they have added all their feedback so that team members can have complete oversight of everything going on in the project.
It also helps you keep full control about what your clients can see and what not.
The Creative To-Do List
Once all the feedback has been made by reviewers, team members will be able to see all feedback left by reviewers and they will also have a handy “to-do list.” These features are only visible to team members.
Teams can toggle between versions of a file left in different review steps by going into a proof and selecting “Versions” in the top left-hand corner.
In each version, team members can see comments and they will be able to ‘tick-off’ what has already been completed. This will ensure that everyone on the team will see the progress of the work on the revision.
Once you have completed all the to-do list information, you have finished the first phase of the reviewing!! At the end of the review process comes the final approval from the client that we can celebrate. 🎉
The Feedback Loop
Temporarily, Filestage will let you create as many review steps as you need. This will be mutually beneficial as we can begin to understand how you interact with each step and you can find out with workflow works best for you. After a few months, we will limit the review flow count for specific plans.
Sharing Proofs With People Not Listed as a Reviewer or Team Member
With this enhanced workflow, we have also made it easy for you and your clients to share proofs without having to invite them as a reviewer. If you share the link of a single proof in a project, the receiver will have access to all files in a project. Anyone with the link can view these files (but don’t worry! You can always password protect the project!)
This makes for a smooth communication process by ensuring that all files are accessible to all of the necessary people.
Mapping Out The Review Process
Monitoring and tracking your projects is an essential part of your daily job! As with any new tool, you need to discover what works for your team.
After talking to numerous Filestage users, we’ve noticed this trend:
Freelance designers typically need one review step. They communicate directly with their clients, create the necessary designs, and then gather their feedback. Since freelancers have the liberty to pick their clients and rely heavily on positive reviews, they usually revise their models until the client is satisfied.
Small agencies typically use two review steps. The first step is for internal reviews and the second is for external reviews. The review steps can become extremely important if they do not want they clients interacting with the freelancers or designers. It also allows for quality control of all creative work by making sure that another person views the files before the client. These small agencies usually revise their designs one to three times before charging extra for revisions.
Small internal marketing teams usually need one step (if they don’t use outside creatives). They use this step to communicate openly and transparently about new designs that are coming out.
Large Agencies and Enterprises usually have multiple review steps (around 4+ steps). They have both internal and external review steps, but then they also have review steps for different departments: legal, compliance, proofreading, technical, and C-Level.
It is essential is that you find the review process that works for you and your company.
What is your company’s workflow? How would you use Filestage’s new review workflow for your team?