We recently enjoyed reading how the team at the SQUAD manages their busy agency life. The author, Bryce Raley, challenged other agencies to peel back the curtain on their workstyles, so Visual Creatives decided to jump in with a glimpse into our own agency culture!
Like the SQUAD, we use Teamwork PM as our main project management software. We used to use BaseCamp, but migrated to Teamwork at a time in our agency when finances were extremely tight. We like Teamwork, but are still looking for that magical combination of functionality and beauty. I’m often sending links over to our Project Manager and asking him to evaluate a new find or two. Recently HubSpot published a fabulous list of project management programs.
In addition to Teamwork, Slack has become a HUGE part of our agency life. We have dedicated channels to each client, and we are disciplined in using the channels to post relevant files, ask and answer quick questions and generally keep track of where the client’s projects are in the development process. We also use Slack for office banter (in a dedicated channel), a place to post video links and interesting articles or even lunch orders on the days we are eating together. We integrate Slack with Idonethis (another great software program) to keep track of tasks for each team member.
In addition, we have guest channels for certain clients who need access to our team for one reason or another. Not every client needs that kind of intimate access, but there are some cases where having the Slack channel cuts down on email load tremendously. We also give a guest channel to any vendor who works with us consistently.
For general workflow, we use Google Docs extensively. We have shared folders with every client, and various shared workflows within our own teams. We used to use Evernote to document and archive customer work, but lately the material stays in our Google Docs folders or Dropbox for images and video work.
Flow of Meetings at Visual Creatives
We only have one standing meeting each week, which is a staff meeting on Tuesday afternoons. Most weeks we eat lunch together first and then transition into the meeting. The first half of this meeting is dedicated to a rundown of current clients and projects. This is the time we use to make sure everyone is up-to-date on the particulars of the project. The second half of our meeting is our Pipeline Report. There were days in the early years when this was a very short portion of the meeting! Nowadays we have a lot more to discuss!
The Fun Personality Stuff
Currently all of our staff have the option to work remotely at their discretion. What this means in reality is that we are scattered in quite a few places. Some of us prefer to work in our office and keep regular hours. Some of us (me!) are night owls and tend to accomplish most of our work from 10 to midnight. That kind of extreme flexibility has helped us forge a really unique culture around Visual Creatives. Our current challenges are the dogs we bring to work with us (they bark) and the piñatas we use to celebrate birthdays (they don’t break! EVER!)
We are looking for new offices these days, and are considering opening our offices to other creatives looking for something better than Starbucks. We probably go back and forth on that issue daily.
Finally, David Saunders and I are nomads. We’ve finally embraced it. So on any given day, we may not even be in the Eastern time zone. We often work out of our Boston location, but we are also apt to take a jaunt out to the West Coast to visit family. So for us, remote working is a way of life. We like the energy and perspective gained from working in different cities.
So that’s life in our agency. I echo Bryce – what is life like in your business? Join the group and link back to us or leave a comment below. And if anyone has found the newest perfect project management software, let me know!