Best Practices

How Asana uses Asana: Simplifying creative production

Managing the creative production process at a global brand is no small task.

As Asana’s Global Integrated Brand Producer, I’m responsible for ensuring our design team is being optimally utilized for high-priority projects across the business. That means balancing simultaneous product launches, events, and campaign deadlines—all while staying agile enough to reshuffle priorities and accommodate ad-hoc creative requests too.

Like many of you, I make sure the Asana creative team maintains a high quality of work and on-time delivery rate across all of our projects. Fortunately, Asana allows me do all of this without breaking a sweat or looking at a single spreadsheet. Want to know how I do it? Read on to learn my top six tips for managing the creative production process at Asana—in Asana.

1. Streamline the creative request process

The easiest way to keep your creative requests organized is to standardize them in Asana. Start by building a form for requests to be filed. It should include fields for all the relevant project details. Here are some examples of the fields I use most often:  

  • Objective or Goal: What’s the purpose of this project? Is it tied to a larger campaign or initiative? 
  • Audience: Who is this project for? Is the audience internal or external?
  • Key message: What’s the one thing your requester wants to get across with this piece of creative? 
  • Deliverables: What does a complete bill of materials look like? 
  • Channel: Where will assets be distributed? Web? Social? 
  • Stakeholders: If questions come up during the creative process, who should your team reach out to? Who has final approval?

Once your form is up and running, every new creative request will become a task in your creative request project. We recommend triaging these requests and assigning them out as quickly as possible to ensure work moves along promptly. This process will also allow you to de-prioritize or pause requests based on current priorities.

2. Organize projects by campaign

Projects are a great way to organize campaign-specific work so you can stay on top of who is doing what by when. You can create sections in your project to organize work by sprints or channel (e.g. web, ads, email), and you can use Timeline view to confirm or adjust workback schedules and easily visualize dependencies.

You can also add campaign Milestones from the Progress tab of your project to mark critical checkpoints in the creative development process. To make things even simpler, I like to standardize the way I name projects so I can easily search for and identify related tasks. (e.g. Q2 Brand Campaign – Creative Production)

3. Capture and surface important project details 

In addition to capturing assignees and due dates for every task, Asana’s custom fields are great for surfacing critical information like priority level or approval stage so you can keep work moving on-time and on-budget. Here are some examples I use often:

  • Priority: This helps your team focus on the highest value projects and also communicates why work is prioritized the way it is (e.g. client or customer-facing work may be a higher priority than an internal project.)
  • Asset format: Tracking the format of your deliverables (e.g. digital ad, email template, webpage) helps you understand where your team’s work is concentrated. If you notice a growing number of requests for custom web illustrations and you only have one illustrator, it could be time to hire a second.
  • Approval stage: This highlights where an asset stands in the approval process so there’s no confusion about whether it’s been reviewed or not.

4. Remove friction from review cycles 

In order to streamline the feedback process and keep comments as specific and actionable as possible, I recommend using Proofing. With Proofing, your team can track exactly what needs to be edited as well as who gave you the edits. Additionally, Proofing will automatically create subtasks for each piece of feedback so nothing slips through the cracks. If you’re unsure about a piece of feedback, you can easily start a comment thread on the subtask to ask questions and get more clarity from your reviewer.

Our Adobe Creative Creative Cloud integration also makes it easy for designers to see new tasks, share designs, and address edits all without leaving Creative Cloud.

5. Monitor your team’s projects at a glance

As your creative team scales, you’ll need a way to stay on top of incoming requests, staffing, and campaign-specific projects. This is where Portfolios comes in handy. I recommend creating a central design Portfolio for all of your team’s work so you have a high-level view of current project progress, recent status updates, and any overdue tasks for every designer, whenever you need. You’ll also have the ability to drill down into specific project details and proactively identify and address work that is at-risk. 

6. Balance your team’s workload

To consistently produce amazing creative, you have to be process-driven enough to keep projects organized and moving forward, but flexible enough to take on additional requests and shift work around to hit deadlines. Workload helps you see what your team is working on at any given time and each individual’s bandwidth based on task quantity and required effort. As new, high priority, tasks come up you can assign the work to team members who have bandwidth or reprioritize workloads and timing.

See? No sweat! You can learn more about how Asana empowers Marketing and Creative teams to produce amazing work here. We’d also love to hear your top tips for staying productive in the comments below.

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