PSOhub Blog

4 Signs Your Agency Needs a Traffic Manager


In the professional services world, growth can happen faster than expected, which is great news for budding creative agencies. 

Growth means adaptation, however, and adaptation isn’t always easy for teams that suddenly have more people to work with, and more clients to please.

This is the moment a traffic manager is going to come in handy. 

The traffic manager is the person whose primary objective is to keep all projects on time. The person whose job it is to anticipate problems with resource allocation before they happen.

Sensible, organized, and savvy, the traffic manager role is all about keeping work on schedule. The best agency traffic managers will help keep both automation and spirits high among employees, helping to make their lives easier. Your best and brightest can then focus on creating awesome experiences instead of managing traffic all the time.

When your agency is growing and scaling, a traffic manager can become invaluable to keep processes moving. They’re much like air traffic controllers, analyzing and timing different paths to ensure that everyone is on schedule.  

Is it time for your agency to onboard a traffic manager? Keep reading to find out. 

What does an agency traffic manager do?

An agency traffic manager is responsible for making sure work gets completed efficiently from closed deals through to delivery. 

This detail-oriented individual will oversee work across teams and projects, primarily through task management and resource management. They’ll be the ones to assign tasks, promote collaboration, and track resource utilization.

During resource planning, a traffic manager will take the reins, analyzing capacity and keeping track of it throughout the course of the project or service.

In short, this role will be the person who makes the schedule and tracks the progress of the work to deliverables in hand. The traffic manager will plan, orchestrate, and supervise the workflows of creative teams to be as productive and as profitable as possible


  • Build out a schedule by assigning tasks and deadlines
  • Balance workloads to make sure projects and services are on time
  • Help create estimates
  • Fine-tune the system of delivery
  • Promote collaboration among and across teams
  • Check alerts often
  • Track resource capacity 
  • Monitor the progress of tasks and projects
  • Coordinate and communicate across teams to make sure work flows smoothly
  • Provide status reports for management and owners

Traffic manager vs project manager

The traffic manager and project manager often have overlapping roles, but they’re not the same thing. The project manager is responsible for individual projects, whereas a traffic manager has to deal with the processes that affect all teams. 

So while a project manager will be more ingrained in the minutia of individual projects, the traffic manager is primarily concerned with work getting done efficiently and on time in all departments.

That said, there’s an obvious overlap. For example, in many companies, the project manager will be in charge of resource planning. But if you hire a traffic manager, this task will be offloaded to them. 

In a nutshell, the traffic manager is in charge of planning and scheduling work, while tracking progress to make sure deadlines are met. The project manager is more concerned with the actual work at the micro level, making sure that the quality of deliverables and client expectations are aligned.

Does your agency need a traffic manager? Here are 4 common signs:

1. Deadlines are being missed.

By far and away, missed deadlines are the #1 reason to invest in an agency traffic manager, since their role primarily revolves around making sure deadlines are met. 

The major concerns of a traffic manager are first, deadlines, second, scheduling, and third, tracking. The birds-eye nature of the role helps them keep a better eye on workflows and even individual tasks to make sure work doesn’t get clogged. 

And if someone gets overloaded, the traffic manager should be able to see it coming with resource allocation tracking. 

At the end of the day, the traffic manager’s role is to make sure deadlines get met at all costs, so they’re more apt to intervene sooner when a potential problem arises. 

2. Your business is growing.

Once your agency has about 10 employees, milestones and deadlines are more likely to slip through the cracks. The tipping point to hire a traffic manager is about 15 people. When you get to this juncture, it will be necessary to bring someone on board whose primary role is making sure work flows smoothly and things get accomplished on time. 

And while the latest apps and software can definitely help make your agency more efficient, if they’re running wild in the hands of your creatives and account managers, they can drain billable time. The traffic manager can use these tools to manage the agency’s workflows, but also intervene personally when there’s a problem software can’t necessarily detect or solve. 

3. Creatives are doing too many administrative tasks.

It’s easy to let the techy ones on the creative team do admin when you’re just starting out. It’s common to have creators assign tasks and deadlines, run reports, and more for startup agencies. 

However, this is a slippery slope that eats away at your potential billable hours. Plus, these kinds of tedious tasks aren’t what you pay creatives for…

… They’re what you pay a traffic manager for! When you hire a traffic manager, admin-like task management gets taken out of the hands of your creatives, who can now get back to doing what they’re best at. 

So, if you have people on your team doing hours of weekly admin work just to keep projects on time, it’s probably a good idea to consider a traffic manager to carry the load. 

4. Breakdowns in communication, collaboration

If communication is frequently a problem between departments and you need someone to facilitate collaboration, especially with cross-functional teams, a traffic manager may be just what the doctor ordered. 

The traffic manager serves as the communication link between departments; he or she is the one who makes sure everybody has what they need to move forward and do their best work. They will act as a liaison that connects teams and assigns and reassigns tasks until there’s a collaborative harmony that everyone can get on board with.

Bottom line–

Traffic managers are responsible for keeping work flowing from account managers to client deliverables. They provide coordination between teams, making sure everyone has what they need to get the job done. 

The traffic manager’s key focus is keeping deliverables on time, which they accomplish through extensive resource planning and task management. 

Most commonly, agencies will want to consider a traffic manager when they reach 10 or more employees and/or are scaling with many new clients on board. 

Another big indicator this role is needed is deadlines getting missed, as it’s the traffic manager’s mission to prevent this from happening. 

If creatives are spending hours on admin-related tasks or there are frequent communication and collaboration problems across teams, hiring a traffic manager should definitely be top of mind to smooth things over by acting as a liaison.