EPIC Blog | What's Your Process? Q+A on Traffic with Lindsay Kellerman + Brittany Pawlowski

What’s Your Process: Q+A with EPIC’s Women of Traffic

author: Margaret Snyder

Written by: Margaret Snyder

Senior Copywriter


  • Best Practices
  • Culture

Life in the fast lane: Lindsay Kellerman + Brittany Pawlowski

On the day I reached out to Lindsay Kellerman, Senior Production Manager at EPIC, and Brittany Pawlowski, Production Manager and Producer at EPIC, to talk about the ins and outs of managing agency traffic, I got a glimpse into just how demanding their roles can be.

That day, Brittany was knee-deep handling requests for an internal team working off-site in Phoenix, and Lindsay had just discovered that the EPIC Scrum sheet, a Google Sheet shared by almost 80 users and the agency’s #1 traffic tool, had decided to corrupt and take Lindsay’s laptop with it. While all of this might have stopped production at another agency, at EPIC the obstacle was barely noticed by most. Brittany was successfully handling local requests and supporting her off-site team, and Lindsay was handling her requests via email and Slack through her smartphone.

I watched Lindsay’s fingers tap her phone as she responded to each request. Knowing that any chance for a full interview that day was long gone, I couldn’t help but ask the obvious question. “Lindsay, how many emails and Slack messages do you get on an average day?”

Lindsay stopped just long enough to flash a smile. “It’s not uncommon to be out a day and come back to 200+ emails,” she said. Later, Brittany confirmed that number was accurate, adding that she swears she hears phantom Slack notifications even on the weekends.

To give you an idea of the volume of projects that Lindsay and Brittany manage, at the time of this interview, they were tracking 982 projects across the EPIC production team boards. Thus, it goes without saying that EPIC’s women of traffic are beyond busy. But when you talk to them, they are delightfully pleasant, calm, and helpful. This leads me to believe there must be a secret to traffic management at EPIC. Let’s dive in and find out how these two keep it all moving and keep it together while doing so

For readers who don’t understand the function of traffic management at an advertising agency, can you shed some light?

“The traffic department is the central hub of all projects at the agency,” Brittany explains. “It’s almost like we’re Grand Central Station. All projects come in to us, and then they go out from us.”

“Basically, we keep track of all active projects across all production teams, but we don’t manage the projects themselves,” offers Lindsay. “When a project is opened and submitted, we assign it to the right person based on skills, qualifications, workload, timing, and past project history. We have to know the skills of each production person so we know what can be assigned to them. It’s a juggling act, because it’s up to us to monitor people’s workloads throughout the day.”

Earlier we talked about the Scrum sheet, EPIC’s Google sheet system of keeping track of projects. In addition to managing the live Scrum sheet, you two hold three Scrum meetings per week to review all of the projects on deck at the agency. How did you land on that system, and why do you think it works well?

“The Scrum meetings have evolved so many times,” says Lindsay. She explains that for a while, the team ran through all of the active projects each day, but that seemed to be too much. “Then we started doing an hour-long meeting on Mondays, where we would go through each line on the Scrum sheet. This proved to be a very efficient way of letting everyone know where each project stood, plus we could easily make updates to each line. Our current structure of an hour-long session on Monday mornings and two 15-minute sessions on Wednesday and Friday mornings started last January. It works because Project Managers can give us a heads-up on incoming work, plus we can update the Scrum list and try to plan for the coming weeks.”

Brittany adds that it helps to have the Scrum sheet supported by a Slack channel. “Through the Scrum Slack channel we can get constant updates on projects! It’s a good way to keep everyone connected in between Scrum meetings,” she says

What does a good day in EPIC traffic management look like to you?

“A good day is balanced, not just for me but for everyone,” says Lindsay. There’s a good flow of projects in and out, and my email is steady, which means production teams are comfortably busy with work. Essentially, it means there’s capacity to take on more work if needed, but everyone has enough to do.”

What are some of the biggest challenges you encounter with managing traffic at EPIC?

Lindsay shares that unexpected projects can throw a wrench into production. “When something big comes in without warning, we have to find a solution, making it work with what we have (capacity, timing, budget, etc).” She notes that this type of “bombshell” project can sometimes take an hour to figure out where it will land. And saying no isn’t an option. Brittany and Lindsay are dedicated to finding a solution for everything.

Another challenge the two encounter is when team members leave them out of conversations. “We get that it’s easy to not go through traffic when something small needs to be done, but it can create havoc,” Lindsay says. “When we don’t know what we don’t know, things can get tough.”

What surprising skill of yours has come in the most handy when managing traffic and why?

Both Brittany and Lindsay admit that being multitaskers helps significantly in their jobs, along with the ability to keep a cool head. Lindsay says she is good at not wasting energy on worrying. “Panicking gets others worked up, and that’s not good for anyone involved,” she says.

In addition, Lindsay may have somewhat of an exceptional memory. “I usually know whose list a project is on, and I can remember what types of projects people have worked on in the past. I also have a ton of old emails to rely on. If I can’t remember a project, I can usually find the details.”

Brittany laughs and adds that being a bit of a control freak comes in handy. “I like that I can control the Scrum sheet and where projects land.” She also notes that her video background helps when team members are overbooked. “I love that I can take work and balance someone’s load.”

In closing, is there anything else you’d like to say about traffic at EPIC?

Brittany and Lindsay share that their ability to work together well is part of what fuels their success. Having worked for agencies with and without traffic departments, I can personally say that their command over project status is something to behold. When one of them is out, the other is covering. And when technology tries to throw them off, they always seem to find a way to keep it all moving.

One of the last things Lindsay touched on tied into something many people have been contemplating—that is the possibility that automation could someday take her job. After all, in a world of spreadsheets, budgets, and deadlines, it might seem like AI is poised to pounce.

“With every project, there are a ton of variables, and often the solution is anything but predictable,” Lindsay says. “When the logical choice isn’t available, it takes a lot of work to figure out how to get a job done. I’m not worried about AI taking my job, because I don’t think it could do it. The human element, the creative problem-solving, the conversations … that’s what makes my job my job.”

Work Hard and Be Nice to People


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