I once had a therapist who asked me if I were standing in the middle of a messy room, and had to clean it, what would I start with? My response was that I would start with cleaning up the big things. Clearing up big pieces of space at a time would help me feel accomplished, less burdened, and would help me see the smaller things better.
When I asked a good friend of mine the same question, he said he would start cleaning whatever was before his feet. Order didn’t matter so much as moving forward and making progress, after all, it all has to get done anyway! Hearing that from my friend was freeing. YAS! Why did my approach have to be so formulaic? (IF this THEN that). The pressure! Versus...just do.
New client onboarding. Typically, there isn't much time between when an agency and new client onboard and when the project work needs to begin in order to meet goals. There's a strong urge to share and transfer as much knowledge between the two groups as possible upfront.
A typical, formulaic, process-driven scenario of onboarding would include a brand debrief, a “deep dive” where you talk about Product, Strategy, Audience, Persona, Messaging, Campaign, Analytics, Media and Partners. And discussions about roles, responsibilities and process are had. (queue the Gantt charts, timelines and Team lists!)
Needless to say all the time spent preparing the support documentation, scheduling coordination, and leave behind docs for the many working sessions ahead.
Truth be told, there is benefit in having a more firm approach to project management and project prioritization as discussed here, Prioritization And Project Management: Building A Solution-Focused Environment, but maybe client onboarding can let loose a bit?
If we approach onboarding with serving the goal instead of the process, what would that allow you to do differently? For us, it's enabled us to build solid partnerships with our clients in a more creative, collaborative and fluid way. A more imaginative environment where ideas flow and synergies reveal!