Example of Operations Director Job Description

The Position

The Director of Operations oversees the overarching business management of day-to-day operations within the agency. This position helps set standards and acts as governance for day-to-day project, brand or vendor/supplier management. You oversee the management function of teams, excel at managing complex projects, advocate for multi-disciplinary working and a champion for the client project experience.

The Role 

The purpose of this position is to work with agency leadership to define, plan, execute and implement on-going refinement of integrated operational practices across all agency sub-teams This includes development of processes and procedures, collection and analysis of metrics related to operational efficiency, resource & talent models, selection and oversight of supporting technology, organizational planning, budgetary planning/management, and operational efficiency reporting.

The Director of Operations works with XXXX and XXXX to maintain and manage the day-to-day work of the agency. They ensure that operational excellence is maintained around the coordinate the day-to-day agency efforts on all accounts. 

In this role, the Director of Operations insures that the agency provides:

  • Work that meets and exceeds client’s expectations.
  • An environment where great creative can happen.
  • Deliver a consistently superior client product.

The Requirements

  • Bachelors Degree in Marketing, Advertising, Digital or Broadcast production.
  • MS or MBA preferred.
  • Knowledge of creative agency operations.
  • Minimum of ten years experience as an operations lead. Experience with agency environments that have a heavy in-house development & production environment (digital, production, broadcast, post) is a plus.
  • Knowledge and understanding of a wide range of interactive technologies, social platforms and is in expert in the integrated and interactive development process.
  • Goal oriented, success in managing through ambiguity and change in a fast paced, complex environment.
  • Strong analytical, strategic thinking and communication skills – have the ability to synthesize, develop and present clear and concise recommendations.
  • Strong analytical, strategic thinking and communication skills – have the ability to synthesize, develop and present clear and concise recommendations.
  • Client-facing experience.
  • Experience working with clients to develop and negotiate contracts, project scopes and budgets
  • Ability to lead the day-to-day operations of creative production environment.
  • Has a background in operations, agency finances and/or client services.
  • Experience in recruiting, hiring, managing, developing and motivating.


Major Contacts

The Director of Operation’s position requires ongoing and in-depth interactions with the following:

  1. Internal:  The Director of Operations reports to XXX. And works directly with the XXX. The Director of Operations has overall responsibility for leading the day-to-day operations of the agency. Run operational management of company including project management, (TBD administrative, IT), production and estimating services.
  2. External:  The Director of Operations will have direct client contact, client procurement and outside vendors or production companies.

Responsibilities and Duties

The Director of Operations has four areas of responsibility (specific duties of each are explained below)

  1. Operational - Planning, Analyzing, Evaluating; 
  • Actively research, develop and maintain best-in-class operational practices (for large multi-disciplinary creative teams), including:
  • organizational planning and alignment
  • roles and responsibilities
  • operational budgeting and financial management
  • processes and procedures for planning through development and production
  • operational tools and training
  • operational performance measurement and reporting
  • technology solutions for integrated financial, content, asset and project management.
  • Maintain and grow strong relationships with all internal departments including creative teams, technology teams, marketing teams as well as industry partners. 
  • Collaborate with the Agency Leadership to implement appropriate operational financial models for the organization
  • Develop, implement, and maintain consistent time-tracking procedures for all team members
  • Establish and maintain a system for tracking detailed information about all projects and internal initiatives, including data on:
  • types of work performed by all sub-teams
  • volume of work (projects)
  • tier of work - as defined by level of strategic impact and level of complexity to develop and execute
  • estimated and actual time spent on projects (at task level)
  • estimated and actual cost to develop and execute creative projects
  • Maintain, monitor and report on specific operational metrics (including staff utilization/productivity, accuracy against estimates, project production costs, and error rates) that show performance against targets
  1. Team Leading, Coordinating, Managing
  • Provides leadership within the agency for daily operations.
  • Monitors department budgets and staffing resources. 
  • Promote communication and information flow within all levels of agency operations. Act as a guiding force for internal operations (XXX).
  • Initiate, plan and drive (creative, project management or financial) acceleration projects to final stages of completion.
  • (Establish yearly and quarterly operational change management goals and metrics)
  • Sell change upstream to executive leadership
  • Promote communication and information flow within all levels of the agency. Act as a guiding force for internal agency managers and staff.
  • Develops operational procedures and establishes agency processes with agency partners. Establishes broad policies and objectives and insures they are being executed.
  • Ensure executive-level and financial support for any necessary additional change management resources required to improve and grow the team (i.e. additional or changes to head count/contractors, technology and training)
  • (Work with agency talent leadership to Oversee the development and delivery of training to staff on internal processes and standard operations procedures (SOPs))
  • Appraises and evaluates overall operations on a regular and systematic basis and reports results to the agency partners.
  • Establishes workflow and policies that enhance communication and productivity in the agency. 
  • Works with agency talent partner to establish and monitors staff and manager development and to provide adequate development plans for employees. 
  • Maintains communications with appropriate agency and client personnel to ensure positive workflow. Escalating exceptions and issues to Leadership level as required
  • As required, educating clients in agency process and managing their needs and expectations.
  • Advocate for master agency plan, workflow procedures and internal systems.
  • Drive projects to final stages of completion by keeping the team both on track and highly motivated.
  1. Operational Excellence
  • Act as leader to ensure all agency work is up to the standards of the agency from an operational, production and financial responsibility governance standpoint.
  • Work with leadership, talent development and with HR to ensure job roles, titles, job requirements, salaries and performance measurements reflect the needs of the team, and are consistent with corporate and industry standards
  • Establish agency resource management to; Regularly evaluate the teams planned project volume, then analyze the information and compare it to standards from data collected in project tracking system to forecast staffing levels and skill requirements
  • Run operational management of company including (TBD, project management, office management, administrative, IT, and production services.)
  • Promotes and provides proactive agency communication.
  • Partner with agency management team to execute goals and objectives.
  • Motivate teams to deliver.
  • Develop new agency partner relationships.
  • Initiates and leads all appropriate departmental meetings.
  • Implement policies and procedures.
  1. Financial & Administrative
  • Check point for agency project financials. 
  • Monitors agency resources and financial objectives.
  • Works with agency leadership to meet financial goals. Maintains agency XXXX reports vs. actuals.
  • Reviews and maintains XXXX reports with accountant.
  • Reviews all agency contracts and estimates.
  • Reviews all agency billing.
  • (Establishes HR procedures and monitors issues.)
  • Works with account executive to insure proper billing and invoicing.
  • Reviews WIPs and final billing reports. 
  • Strong business and personal ethics
  • (Responsible for approving all agency vendors & final approval of invoices.)
  • Develop standard procedures for outside services (production) vendors:
  • vetting and selection
  • on-boarding and set-up, including legal and accounting requirements

New Ways of Working, Mean Rethinking Talent

One of the last components of building an agency model that supports your agency’s model are the actual people that work within your agency. It’s not all about what type of project manager you have in your agency that supports one process or another, it’s what type of people you have in your agency that can also support and be a part of your agency model.

A lot of the value an agency can provide to a client is based on the people in the agency. This is where ideas, speed, innovation, and technical know-how comes from. 

Your Project Leaders are the Firm’s Process & Governance Champions

Integrating project management and the creative process

Managing the creative process is more than just setting and following the rules of typical project management procedures. As a creative industry, you would think that agency’s would be better at identifying that the reason for tension and conflict is often created by the formality and rigidness of processes that we put in place to help us be more efficient.

I often look back at my time working at both small agencies and startups with great nostalgia. For those of us who have spent time in similar small organizations, we know what it’s like to have that small company, “we can get it done,” team spirit. Or at least what’s it like to work with your slightly awkward extended family

Pulling it all Together to Define your Firm’s Foundational Model

If you are a new agency entity, your foundation building is going to be a lot simpler than changing an existing agency’s model. 

Building something new or from scratch can also be pretty similar, the one constant you both have are your people.  What may be different is how set everyone is in their old ways of working and a willingness to do something different. For management, we know that we need to have a business plan and some strategic idea of where we want to go.

Ed’s Guidelines for Managing Creative Firms & Teams.

Learn to talk about what you do, and how you do it.

It doesn’t matter if you are an agency owner, an account person, a project manager or a developer, everyone in the agency needs to be able to talk to a client. You should be able to tell them why you are working a certain way, and why your way of doing things is important to your process. 

Creative projects, technical or not, require a high-level of client/agency trust. When everyone in the agency feels comfortable enough to talk to a client, then both sides can be at ease and have a clear understanding of expectations...