Once your agency has mastered project management fundamentals, what’s next? Maybe you dream about finishing big projects in days instead of weeks, or of free flowing creative collaboration that’s not interrupted by client calls and emails. While I can’t guarantee you’ll leave the office every day with an empty in-box, continuing to streamline your approach to agency project management will make for happier team members and clients.
From time tracking secrets to simplified task management, here’s how to shift your agency’s project management into high gear by solving three common problems:
Problem #1: Project task management has taken over your email. Tracking project tasks and communication via email can lead to endless and unnecessary email chains that bury the important information at the bottom of your inbox. Did your client approve the latest version? Did your designer send a status update last night or this morning? What’s next on the project list? Are you even working off the most recent to-do list – or is that last Tuesday’s task list? Stop sorting through email chains and track project updates via a web-based app like Asana or Producteev. Bonus: both are iOS and Android friendly so you can track project tasks on the go.
Problem #2: You’re juggling four different projects at once– and tracking hours has become a task in and of itself. Tracking billable hours for multiple clients and projects can become a serious burden, especially when different projects bill at different rates. Worse, it’s easy to get sucked into one project at the expense of another. I like Toggl for tracking the time I dedicate each day to different projects. The insanely simple app organizes time by projects (“tags”), which makes tracking different billable hours a breeze. Color code your tags, add in sub-projects, and get a bird’s eye view of your personal productivity levels from the app’s dashboard. Plus, since Toggl is built for teams, your accounting department will love how easy it is to instantly consolidate everyone’s hours into a streamlined client invoice at the end of the month.
Problem #3: Half your team is swamped with work, and the other half is updating Facebook… because they don’t have any urgent assignments. When one project task spirals out of control, wouldn’t it be great if you could re-assign team members in accordance with task urgency? I know first hand how tough it can be to manage workflow when you’re in deep in the trenches slogging away on a deadline – and half your team members are freelancers working remotely who have no idea you need extra assistance! That’s why I like ActiveCollab’s fantastic timeline function. The timeline function gives me an instant overview of who’s working on what, which team members are at max capacity for the day based on task assignment, and who has time in their schedule to take on more work. The web-based app also makes it easy to delegate tasks and share files, so everyone can be on the same page whether they’re in the cubicle next door or three time zones away.
Writer Bio: Erin M is a freelance writer available for projects at WriterAccess.