I’ve just deleted the most recent saved draft of this post and started over. I’ve been planning this post for several
weeks months, but after failing to wrap things up in a tidy, coherent way, I’m changing tack. Here’s the skinny: at work we’re facing a number of challenges. Nothing Earth-shattering, but challenges that I’d like to solve. I wonder if any of you have experienced a similar struggle and if so, how you overcame it.
Challenge No. 1 – Rapid Growth
Our company has grown fast. We’ve doubled in size in less than a year, often adding two or three people simultaneously. All these new additions has meant that developing a formal, long-form induction process had been shortcuted in favour of more departmental interaction and only basic orientations on a company-wide level. The result is that we don’t exactly know what everyone else is up to. How can we interact more with the other groups and avoid being silo’d, especially in the first few weeks or months of starting?
Challenge No. 2 – Design Workflow within Non-Design Company
This is a huge topic but basically it goes like this: I’ve been struggling to implement a system of project numbers, standard forms, protocols and naming conventions, contact lists and resources, approval processes, etc. etc. that allow us to be an efficient studio within the marketing department within the company. But to most people, that shit is a giant hassle. Ever dealt with that? How can I bring people around to see the need for these systems, and more importantly, get them to start using it.
Challenge No. 3 – Vague Corporate Structure
Our company is based in Germany, and the American operation is small in comparison. That’s not a problem except that the hierarchies were not firmly established. We haven’t been told — perhaps because it hasn’t been decided — if we’re merely the American experiment, which must be closely monitored and controlled from Germany, or an independent company and brand which is up and running on its own. This is huge because if it’s the former we need to learn who our bosses are and what the larger plan is. I couldn’t name the CEO of our company on a global level and just met the head of International Marketing a few weeks ago. Ever been in a situation like this where the layers seem to blur together? It seems like we’re caught in between worlds a little, not quite given room to run and explore, but not quite chained to anything.
Challenge No. 4 – IT Concerns
Since our IT situation is slightly lacking, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to use some new tools and workarounds. We’ve signed up for Dropbox as a shared server to store files (and retain versions), and Basecamp as a project management tool, but we’re reluctant to sign up for any additional SaaS titles. For example, it would be great to switch to Google Apps for document collaboration, but that would mean we’d all have to sign up for gmail accounts in addition to our work emails and then manage everything that way. It’s more pieces to an ever-growing puzzle. So what software do you use to stay organised? Is there a suite that combines project management with database tools for project naming, for example, and can keep links and other bits? Recommendations are definitely welcome.
This all sounds like useless kvetching but I’m genuinely trying to solve these problems. Having worked solo for all those years, I’m not used to dealing with chaos on a daily basis. My struggle for so long was simply getting projects on my desk in the first place, not this three-dimensional chess of working with hundreds of people and trying to change and organisation from within. So any suggestions are welcome.
I should say very plainly and for the record that I’m very much enjoying my job. I want to make these improvements and kick butt.