I’ve noticed an increase lately in the number of agencies allowing their Account Executives (AEs) to serve as their own “traffic managers.” By this I mean they’re allowed to open their own jobs in the agency’s project management system and assign tasks to employees. They monitor the progress of their respective jobs and route materials accordingly .

In a small agency, without a dedicated Traffic Manager, I can see how this could potentially work. It would require a high quality of communication and close attention to detail among ALL employees. Three AEs, for example, couldn’t request a layout at 3 p.m. today from the same artist. A morning production meeting would, ideally, eliminate this type of workflow bottleneck. That, however, would require that all employees be in-house simultaneously.

I have to be honest; the above scenario makes me nervous. The potential for every job becoming “hot,” and there being a breakdown in communication among employees, is huge.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Does your agency have a dedicated Traffic Manager? If not, how do you keep work efficiently moving forward? What pitfalls have you encountered as a team?

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