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As we prepare to broaden our market and grow our team, we are in need of removating the way that we distribute tasks and information. We've bounced more than a few ideas around from using specific PM applications to a blogging system to things that best go unnamed. With the number of people contributing to a site and the number of steps in the process, it is very easy to slip into chaos or, at the least, to work less than efficiently.
What do you all use to handle this tangled web?
Our number one priority is a centralized information system where communications between members of the team are available to everyone, everyone's role is clearly spelled out, etc. As you know, dry boards and mountains of e-mails don't quite cut it - especially since some of us work remotely (me).
It sounds like you need some form of content management system that can be operated via a web interface, but then you probably knew that already. Centralisation is the way forward, 1 central area avoids multiple copies that may allow for errors to introduce themselves.
The reason I post is to give a you a couple of thinking points that may help you decide on a solution.
Do you want everyone to have say FTP access to a bunch of templates? Fine if you are confident that everyone will behave and not screw up the system by meddling.
Do you want people to sign off on work and approve it before it goes live?
People are far more motivated to get involved when they think they are developing/maintaining a web site or part of. If you go for purely the “thickest user” web forms you have removed some of that fun and people may be reluctant to get involved.
Could you include a discussion forum where you could replace your whiteboards and emails.
Just a few thoughts (no answers :))
joined:Mar 8, 2002
1) The BBC site structure sounds as though they are protecting themselves - every area has a separate directory (eg .../radio1 or .../radiofivelive etc) so one assumes that they can give people ftp (or more likely content management) access to specific subdirectories, whilst retaining common .css settings - if you designate subdirectories properly with limited access rights then at least you should eliminate the chaos - if not the efficiency.
2) We have played around with setting up a community like MSN's community or Yahoo's Groups. These give a web based central point of communication. They also allow you to store documents and restrict viewing to members only. They also have a calender, so in THEORY you can set deadlines and tasks... I would say they are worth looking at. Embarrassingly inexpensive and simple sounding solution, but if a community does 90% of what you need for now, then it becomes easier to see what you would need in a dedicated piece of software later.
There are certain tasks which need to be done before others. Since people are assigned to tasks, Fred needs to know when Wilma will finish her tasks so that he can do his and then Barney can take over. Because a pm tool is being used, Fred knows if Wilma is falling behind, etc.
Project Central would allow everyone to have access to updating their work. Or better yet there shoudl be one pm to whom everyone sends their updates about where they are.
The nice thing about this also, is that if you share resources with the print side, you can tell what they are currently working on and when they will be available.
And it's an ad agency. Time is always short. Deadlines looming. Everyone scrambling. While being efficient is all the more important becuase of this kind of environment, we rarely have time to be efficient. Silly, I know.
I focused on the need to better control information not because everything else is running smoothly, but because it is common to all the problems and all of the solutions.
1. Client Area
3. Task chart
4. Some kind of forum/blogging system (as smartly mentioned above) that keeps most correspondance in one location.
thank you for the replies and any other suggestions. This is all very helpful.
joined:Mar 8, 2002
Alternatively, do a search for other "online groups" or "online communities" and find one that - for a small fee - will allow you to brand a group to your own needs.
Never any point in reinventing the wheel, but I know ad agencies... using anything "branded" is usually a no-no and whatever they tend to want, the rules will change when they get it :)
Having said that, the scripts for building a secure version on one of our own servers are readily available. Sounds like an excellent idea!
joined:Nov 11, 2000
Team members have password access. They can attach comments to the materials that have been posted, make changes, lock documents while they are working on them, save versions, and make secure deliveries to third parties... etc. You do have a client area. It's not intended, by the way, to be a replacement for project management software... it's more a collaboration tool.
Pricing is reasonable, by the month, and flexible... determined by the size of the team. I was very impressed.
More information on the Adobe Studio site [studio.adobe.com].