When I started working at RSVP at 2012, we only offered one program – our Luxury Card Pack – and only mailed in 10 zones throughout Ohio & Kentucky. At that time, I was the only graphic designer and I easily kept myself organized with just pen and paper: writing out to-do lists, sketching ideas, and making notes for myself. In 2013, RSVP quickly started growing, adding several new programs to create an entire marketing suite, as well as acquiring 2 new zones in Indianapolis – bringing our total coverage to 12 zones in 3 states. Before I knew it, I was swamped! Two things immediately became clear:
- I realized that we needed to hire a second designer, not only to help manage the workload these exciting changes brought about, but also to enable RSVP to continue to grow.
- I also realized that my-pen-and-paper method of organization & project management wasn’t going to cut it any more!
In December 2014, we hired a 2nd graphic designer, and though the workload remained demanding & hectic, I knew we could manage it if we worked together & developed a coherent strategy.
So how do we do it?
- We set clear goals and tasks: Each of our programs has a set-in-stone deadline, so staying on task & on track is essential! We make this happen by using project management software to schedule and manage tasks. This helps us work as a team & take big projects in small chunks – it can be overwhelming to see something like 36 mailings due in a single month! But by breaking it down bit by bit. we find it’s much less stressful and daunting. We each excel at different aspects of design, too, so the software allows us to collaborate – and to come with the best solution for each client.
- We expect the unexpected: It’s inevitable that something goes wrong – a computer crashes, or a client changes the artwork, or someone gets sick. No matter how much pre-planning we do, we know that something always comes up. The key is to stay calm & cope with whatever the situation may be. We stay flexible by getting work done early & doing our best to anticipate possible speed bumps.
- We measure our successes and celebrate our victories: When you manage a project for efficiency, accuracy, and speed, it’s not just about managing the details and flow of the project; it’s also about managing the details of the details. Every morning, we come with a clear plan of action, enumerating what needs to be done that day, how we’re going to get it done, and we make sure to check off each task along the way. At the end of the day, we evaluate what we have accomplished, and then plan accordingly for the next day.
We know that RSVP’s success is our success & vice-versa, so we’re excited to continue growing & know that we will be able to manage our projects as long as we stay focused & committed to excellence. We won’t stop until we reach the top!
Contributed by Caitlin Tuohy. All images are the author’s own & may not be republished without express written permission.