The Process People Answer Back

You're late and over budget. And get your timesheets done before you leave!

You're late and over budget. And get your timesheets done before you leave!

I love the Adcontrarian. I read every post on his blog and I own his books. He has the Number One Ad Book on Amazon.

So I took his recent post to heart. It struck a nerve. It cut me to the core.

I’ve heard it before.

I am not one of those people.

But I am.

Yep, Bob Hoffman (AKA The AdContrarian) wrote a piece the other day called The Process People. From his post:

“In my last few years in the agency business a new variety of doubly non-productive people were gaining ascendancy -- "operations" people. Not only did they produce nothing of value, they stole time from the people who did.

They had meetings about meetings. They wanted to know what everyone was doing so they could... I don't know... know what everyone was doing, I guess.”


Because this guy is my hero, and I [usually] hang on every word (he is a master wordsmith) – and I totally trust him – I answered back.

My comment was thoughtful, and 84 words longer than his post.

I didn’t mean to commandeer his gig, and from the other comments, I surely didn’t.

There’s a notion out there that us Process People, Project Managers, and those old-fashioned Traffic Managers are out to wreak havoc on creativity. 

We produce nothing of value.

If you are one of those, please stop it, because you are not the star of the show and it’s giving me a headache. I hate pissing off my hero.

Yes, creative gets all the awards, kudos and lunches out (and drinks) on the company dime. But it’s your job to ensure things get done. Blame doesn’t work. Threats don’t work. Facilitating does.

This is where we provide value . . .

The way I see it, we work in the background and everything magically happens. I know it’s not really magic – it’s difficult, tedious work. You signed-on for this job. I've written about this before, guys.

Ours is a world where we walk the line every day between creative and account and keep them from killing one-another.

If you don’t understand the creative world, start listening. If you don’t understand the account world, do the same. Understand their minds (scary, yes), the way they think, what’s important to them – then great creative can actually happen.

Yes, your job is hard – a real pain in the ass. But I guarantee that if you quit playing the role of dictator and start listening, you’ll actually get a little cooperation. And eventually, the creative folks will trust you just a bit, and ask you to save their butts when deadlines loom and last minute art direction comes in from the client.

Save them. They’re doing the work that pays the bills.

Use software to manage your work. Understand that not everyone is willing to log-in to your system and provide updates. Find out why. That’s your job too.

Let’s all make it easier for everyone to know what’s going on by not being a bunch of process- workflow- software-spewing hags.

I am not a hag. I’m here to make sure your work gets done.

And yes, it is time for a drink. Ketel One will do just fine.

By the way, I don’t want to rank lower than social media, Bob.