The Bosasa eKayaMedia Team Approach
In the media and advertising industries as a whole, having multiple projects on the go, all within ‘yesterday’ deadlines is a given. Having a single campaign or project with multiple requirements is also fairly common, but not as easy to manage, considering the ‘multiple projects’ running alongside it all competing for the same resources. Things get even harder when processes are not followed, and team resources are being misdirected within the greater production work flow.
At the Bosasa Marketing and branding support service unit (or eKayaMedia as it is affectionately becoming known), some key high level pointers the team follows are listed below. This is to avoid getting into a situation where too many people are all doing different but the same thing, with nothing being done as a result in the end:
Have a clear structure to your team, with well-defined and communicated responsibilities
Make sure everyone knows what they need to be doing, how they get their work assigned to them, and give them the confidence that they can stick to those processes no matter who tries to steer them of course. Of course when senior members of staff such as board members (like Ishmael Mncwaba, or Joe Gumede for example) require urgent work, this will naturally get preference, but it MUST be communicated by the team member back into the overall process so that project priorities can be shifted around, and the whole team is kept in the loop.
Begin with the end in mind
In a blog called ‘Truth-Online’, posted on the 19th Jan 2012, Gavin Watson, CEO of the Bosasa group wrote to his leadership team in a post titled ‘Leadership in action’. Part of the message stressed the need for leaders to ‘begin with the end in mind’ which explained that teams need to commence work with a clear understanding of what they need to accomplish. In Media terms, that means get ‘the brief’ right from the beginning. Even though clients very rarely know exactly what it is they want, by having a clear understanding of the scope of work, and who needs to do what to get the job done, does wonders when tight deadlines need to be achieved. Clients continually moving the goal posts only cause frustration when the job needs to delivered, so account managers need to at all times try to extract that information from the client, and be prepared for speed wobbles along the way.
Commit to the deadline balancing insourced and outsourced resources
Even in the most well-structured and resourced teams (like the Bosasa eKayaMedia team), it is necessary to constantly weigh up costs and time in getting a job done, and make decisions to either facilitate production in-house, or outsource that specific factor of production. Something that may be relatively cheap to do in-house may need to be outsourced because of the time it takes to complete. An example of this is finishing which could include printing, cutting, laminating and binding. If say 100 books to ‘finish’ costs more to outsource than to insource, but means that 3 of your internal team will be consumed by the ‘finishing job’ for a full week, it actually means that they will not be doing other activities such as required design or administrative tasks essential for the delivery of the project to deadline. This is known as the ‘opportunity cost’ of work forgone. In this case it makes sense to pay the extra to outsource and in doing that one can make sure that the right resources are freed up to deliver the project to deadline. This also allows the team to continue production on the long line of other projects waiting to be completed.
Balancing the demands of customers is a very difficult thing to do, especially when you have ‘difficult customers’. However if your team is well structured and empowered, the brief and scope of work is clear, and you have the right balance of managing a project through your internal and external resource networks, you may yet have a shot of becoming a successful media mogul!