Studio Management – Digital to Analogue then back to Digital


Here at d2, we have a small, focused, close knit production team working on a number of projects that range in timescales from days, weeks and even months.  Managing and planning all of this is a very fluid process due to project holdups, support requests, mid project change requests and new work requirements.

In the years I have worked at d2, we have used a number of different solutions, in both software/hardware and people, to try and create a smooth process for studio management.

Gantt Charts Look Impressive, but…

So back when I started working at d2, Microsoft Project was in use to manage the work flow of the studio.  We used Project to break down tasks into actual units of work, chain work dependences, assign resources and calculate time allocations which all sounds impressive but in reality was a manager’s worst nightmare. The issues we found were:

  • We were basically using a tool that was too big for our requirements, we simply wanted to book out blocks of time for people on certain projects
  • We were not interested in the units of work within the schedule; this was handled by our project issue/task manager
  • We were not interested in seeing dependences and time requirements as we talk about hold ups and task requirements in our daily team briefings

Whiteboards are the Future

We later moved to a set of whiteboards and for a time these were fantastic:

  • Ridiculously easy to update and change
  • Great visibility for the team and a great focal point to have the daily briefing around

Over time a number of disadvantages started to appear:

  • Zero historical data
  • Had to manually clear and reorganise the boards for new month
  • Lack of space to fit all the projects and team on
  • No out of office visibility

Teamweek!

I cannot remember how we came across Teamweek, but after having the team look over it we came to the instant decision to start using it.  We gained a lot of benefits:

  • Out of office visibility
  • Historical data
  • Links to our issue/task tracking software
  • Tablet support, great for our team briefings
  • Clear, identifiable projects and deadlines

Our team love it so much that this happened: