There’s an art to managing creative teams—and these people have aced it

Learn how to balance workloads, improve productivity, and help your creatives do their best work with real-life insights and proven techniques from people planners.

Graphic illustrating resource article

If you have an ever-tightening budget, an overworked team, and dozens of demanding clients to keep happy, you’re probably managing a creative team in 2024, and it’s probably not easy.

The good news is you’re not alone: successful people planners like you face (and overcome) the same challenges in their roles every day.

Keep reading for their advice on how to manage creative resources in a way that keeps people fulfilled and projects delivered on time—with a little help from their right-hand resource management tool, Float 👋

  1. Run regular meetings to manage capacity and forecast demand 
  2. Keep a searchable database to increase visibility into skills and availability
  3. Look out for skill gaps by observing allocations
  4. Set allocations in a central schedule to avoid project delays
  5. Allow enough time for tasks to be completed
  6. Measure tasks by load, not by numbers
  7. Provide opportunities to help your team expand their skills 

1. Run regular meetings to manage capacity and forecast demand 

At global advertising agency group Scholz & Friends, creative teams work on several projects simultaneously, so keeping capacity at the right levels is crucial. A dedicated capacity management team meets with stakeholders weekly to review team availability and plan incoming projects. These regular meetings prevent overloading team members and avoid underutilization to balance new and ongoing work.

Maike Jahnens looks at her teams schedule in Float
Maike Jahnens, Head of Financial Operations and Capacity Management at Scholz & Friends, leads weekly meetings centered on capacity data in Float

You don’t need a dedicated team of capacity managers to start running these meetings, though—there are some actions you can take right now to align your creative capacity with ongoing and incoming work:

  • Choose a regular cadence: set a meeting frequency based on your project’s pace and complexity. The capacity management team at Scholz & Friends meets weekly, but you might find that a bi-weekly or even monthly cadence works best for your team. 
  • Meet with the right people: ensure key stakeholders—like team leads, account managers, or department heads—attend the meeting. At Scholz & Friends, the capacity management team finds it most beneficial to meet with account managers and creative directors.
  • Share real-time information: with a dedicated resource management tool, you and your team can review allocations and availability in real time. You can even make projections to understand how incoming work might reduce capacity (the Scholz & Friends team do this by sharing their screen over a Zoom call!)


Capacity should inform the pace and timeline of work.

Rather than sporadically bringing new projects to your teams, account managers can instead collaborate with you to kick off new projects when your team’s capacity allows. Look at data from your resource management software to determine the ideal timing. Of course, this won’t prevent new work from coming in, but it will help you predict the most manageable timelines for these projects.


2. Keep a searchable database to increase visibility into skills and availability

Staying on top of each team member’s strengths is a challenge in any growing team. At Scholz & Friends, Jahnens oversees a global team of more than 200 creatives—and sometimes, it can be difficult to remember their roles or names, let alone their specific skills. 

To avoid a scenario where some team members are underutilized and a select few are overloaded, Jahnens uses her resource management software (it’s Float, hi 👋) to centralize team information. Adding tags to each team member based on their skills allows her to filter the list of team members and quickly find people with the right skills for a project.

This real-time data on team capacity helps Jahnens stay on top of availability changes and allocate work with confidence: “I can quickly identify and provide assistance if a project requires a specific skill set,” she says. 

A page with people tags in Float showing a senior designer's skills
The Scholz & Friends team uses tags in Float to filter by skills 

3. Look out for skill gaps by observing allocations 

Comfort Agemo, Senior Capacity and Freelance Manager at Scholz & Friends, is no stranger to common resource allocation issues. “If you see that somebody is booked a lot, but somebody else is rarely booked, it might mean skills are missing,” she says.

But while under- and overutilization are often indicative of a larger issue, it’s not all bad: Agemo recommends viewing skill gaps as an opportunity to help team members improve their abilities. 

Here are some proven ways to spot and bridge skill gaps in your team:

  • Look for patterns of underutilization: if you notice one team member with a consistently empty calendar while others have too much work, it could mean they lack the necessary skills to get work done
  • But don’t conclude yet: investigate why certain individuals are underutilized by checking in with their project managers or team leads
  • Bridge skill gaps: if the issue is a lack of specific skills, encourage team members to participate in L&D activities and assign them to projects that allow them to understudy more experienced coworkers
Comfort Agemo points at team schedule in Float
Comfort Agemo monitors utilization levels in Float to spot skill gaps

4. Set allocations in a central schedule to avoid project delays

The creative team at advertising agency Truus uses a centralized schedule in Float to ensure everyone stays on top of their tasks and timelines. 

"Ninety percent of our work is delivered on time, and we’re at least 20-30% more efficient because people spend less time waiting around not knowing what to do,” says Japie Stoppelenburg, founder of Truus.

This simple trick might not seem all that innovative if you’re already doing it, but for teams that struggle with projects grinding to a halt due to confusion over responsibilities or double booking, a centralized schedule can be company-changing. 

A schedule in Float showing team capacity
Float makes it easy to understand allocations and see who is working on what project at a glance

5. Allow enough time for tasks to be completed  

At Truus, Stoppelenburg doesn’t believe in tight turnarounds. “Project teams tend to schedule everyone’s day very tightly, fitting in four tasks in one day and really trying to pack it all in,” he says. “However, this isn’t ideal because it puts people under pressure, causing stress and making it hard for them to improve their work.”

All people planners know that determining how much time is needed for creative work can be tricky—it varies. Your copywriter might take several days to come up with the perfect tagline, but can turn around the copy for a landing page in a few hours.

The best way to keep projects on track without overwhelming your team is to:

  • Review historical data: look at past projects to understand typical timelines and potential delays. If your team tracks their time in Float, use the Reports tab to gather data on how long similar projects have taken and determine an average based on that length of time. 
  • Make a case for better deadlines: if you’re not in charge of determining project timelines, you can use the data you gathered in the previous step to convince decision-makers to set more realistic dates   
  • Include time buffers: no matter how good your estimates are, things can go awry. Include time buffers in project schedules to account for unexpected delays or additional work. This helps prepare for bumps in the road or delays in client feedback.

6. Measure tasks by load, not by numbers 

Emily Feliciano, Atlassian’s Senior Creative Resource Manager, determines workload by considering complexity and time commitment, not just the number of tasks.

“One designer might handle ten tickets, which could involve minor adjustments like image resizing. On the other hand, another designer might have just one complex ticket, possibly spanning three months,” she explains. 

The issue? At first glance it might look like Designer A is overloaded and needs more support, even though Designer B has significantly more work.

Using Float, Feliciano is able to regulate her team members’ workloads

To avoid misjudging workloads, you can:

  • Use a dedicated resource management tool to assess work volume and complexity: Feliciano finds it significantly easier to determine each person’s workload with Float providing a granular view of work allocations and their durations—much more effective than just looking at tickets in a project management tool!
  • Ask questions: speak with team leads and team members to understand each task’s complexity and time requirements. Those who do and manage the work can provide a clearer picture of the effort needed.
  • Review historical data: use a feature like the Reports tab in Float to analyze how long similar tasks have taken and how complex they were. This data can reveal that single tasks might occupy more of your team’s time than several simpler ones.

7. Provide opportunities to help your team expand their skills

Creative people thrive on pursuing their interests, experimenting, and expanding their skills. If you can support their growth and development, you’ll have a happier (and highly skilled) team. 

Jason Fisher, Co-Founder and Global Studio Director of Flight Story, a marketing and communications company, ensures that his team members keep growing by encouraging them to pursue work-related curiosities. 

“It’s easy to accidentally book one person exclusively for editing and another only for shoots,” he says. “However, if people prefer a mix of tasks, we schedule and manage their jobs and projects so they gain exposure to various aspects of their roles and different parts of the business.”

To help your team improve their skills, consider the following:

  • Create opportunities for skill expansion: like Fisher, actively support team members taking on new, challenging tasks within their department. Pair team members with more experienced coworkers to help them strengthen new skills.
  • Listen and observe: keep an eye on conversations in internal channels like Slack, where teammates might express enthusiasm about their interests and career goals. You could also ask for feedback from their managers, or, in smaller organizations, speak directly with them to learn about their aspirations.
  • Review project allocations regularly: use a tool like Float to monitor what your team members are working on and ensure they’re booked on projects that can help progress their careers

Help your team do their best creative work 

All the people planning pros in this piece have a trusty companion by their side–Float! 

While supporting your creative team is a tough job, proper resource management software can make it easier to keep your team happy and your projects on track.

Why don’t you give Float a try for free?