Divide and Conquer

At some point in an agency’s future, exponential growth will (hopefully) become a factor.

With an increased workload comes the need for a second Traffic Manager. S(he) is either equal in rank to the existing Traffic Manager (i.e. a Co-Manager) or serves in a support capacity (i.e. an Assistant Traffic Manager). When bringing a Co-Manager on board, there are several phases to consider.

Phase 1: “Lay of the land”

During this phase, the new hire is given an overview of the agency structure and workflow process, including the ad agency software that’s been implemented. Observation of employee communication styles, working relationships and team dynamics is very important. The Co-Manager should “shadow” the Traffic Manager for at least 3-4 days.

Phase 2: “This, that and the other”

Routing of materials, meeting attendance and proofreading are important aspects of Phase 2. This gives the Co-Manager a better understanding of which employees manage specific accounts, how Clients communicate with the agency and any style requirements (e.g. logos, legal approval, font preferences, etc.). This phase should last anywhere from 1-2 weeks, depending on how quickly s(he) learns agency processes.

Phase 3: “Updating the system”

During Phase 3, the Co-Manager is granted additional permissions within the workflow system (e.g. CurrentTrack®). S(he) is allowed to update existing job Workback Schedules and to open new jobs, at the direction of the Traffic Manager. As projects continue to move forward, s(he) makes the proper notations in the system. Again, this phase should last between 1-2 weeks.

Phase 4: “Division of clients”

At this point, the Co-Manager has become familiar with employee roles and communication styles. S(he) knows how to physically move work throughout the agency and is comfortable using the workflow system. During Phase 4, the client list is divided between the Traffic Manager and Co-Manager. This division may be based on individual client workload, alphabetical name or other criteria. Use your best judgement when dividing the client list. You don’t want to overwhelm the new Manager or burden the existing Traffic Manager. Afterall, the new hire was brought on board to help him/her better manage the increasing workload.

For some agencies, the above phases may be condensed (or lengthened) depending on the individual(s) responsible for managing the traffic process. Regardless, the Co-Manager must have a strong foundation upon which to build his/her traffic role.

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