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“Too many cooks in the kitchen” can lead to traumatic projects. You’ve probably been there. The client greenlights the project. Everyone is thrilled to get started. In fact, they are so thrilled it seems the entire company wants to have input on the direction and deliverables.

You might have seen this coming. The fact that 14 people were in the room during your proposal presentation should have been a sign that everyone and their brother was going to be involved.

As soon as the project begins, so does navigating the politics of all the input from the client’s team. You deliver the first design to your main client contact, Sally. She forwards the designs to the rest of the team and copies you on the email. Then it begins.

Joe sends you a message to make it “red.”

Heather replies and says to make it “blue.”

Jen says move the logo “higher.”

Bill says move the logo “lower.”

Add ten more emails to that list and you’ll have all 14 people’s contradictory feedback. Who should you listen to? Heather? Bill? Jen? Joe?

I endured this trauma several times before I changed my process to control it. Here’s what I did.

One Feedback Voice

When your client shows signs of having a lot of “cooks in the kitchen,” you need to require one person on their team to be the voice of feedback. Make sure everyone on the client’s team knows who that person is and follows the rules.

Use This Script

Here is a script you can use to help lock it all down with your clients.

“We’ve found that it is best if one person acts as the ‘feedback voice’ for your team. That person will gather feedback from all the people who want input and provide the feedback to us in one delivery.

When the person acting as ‘feedback voice’ sees conflicting feedback from your team (i.e. “Joe says make it red.” and “Heather says make it blue.”), they will be responsible to help Joe and Heather come to an agreement before delivering the feedback to our team.

This way we won’t be fielding conflicting feedback from multiple different people and the project will go much smoother for all of us.

Who will you choose to act as the voice for feedback from your team?”

Put It In Writing

After the “feedback voice” person is chosen, send an email to the group so that everyone knows what to expect. You can use this message as your guide.

“We are excited to work with all of you on this project. ___________ from your team will be the point person for gathering your feedback and delivering it to ___________ from our team in one single delivery for each round. Please be sure to resolve any conflicting feedback prior to delivering it to our team. This will help us all keep the project moving forward on schedule.”

I love “small things” that make a “big difference” in project management. In creative business, this is one of those things. I hope it serves you well.

Michael Janda

I am Michael Janda, an executive level creative leader with more than 25 years of experience in both in-house creative departments and agencies working with some of the greatest brands in the world including Disney, Google, Fox, ABC and NBC. I create books, courses, workshops, lectures and other training materials to help creative entrepreneurs run successful businesses.