Seven agency project management tips from the pros
Agencies in the marketing services sector might not think of themselves as hotbeds of project management, but all those research reports, ads and events require effective knowledge-sharing, approvals and processes with milestones that have to be met. That’s the same as any project that exists under the aegis of IT or operations.
But what agencies often lack is the same level of project management as their tech counterparts, which is why we’ve picked out some tips for doing it better:
1. Create a place to share knowledge internally
Agencies will save a huge amount of time for both existing managers and new staff members if they have their organisational know-how and processes organised in one easily-accessible place. Whether via clouds, intranets or dedicated systems, sharing knowledge is vital to the success of any project.
2. Create a place to share knowledge with clients
Agencies haven’t always made enough investment in creating effective ways of working together with their clients (or freelancers). Our research has found that almost three-quarters of organisations (72%) don’t have one place, such as a dedicated online environment, where they and their partners can collaborate to ensure their work is properly aligned and integrated.
3. Sign-offs matter: manage your version control and approvals
Managing the approval process is vital for agencies, especially as most projects have multiple stakeholders whose sign-off is needed at various stages as well as milestones that have to be met. However, very few agencies have dedicated software to manage feedback and version control.
The rest apparently rely either on multiple separate systems such as spreadsheets and cloud storage or on email trails. It’s inefficient and can lead to missing or incorrect approvals, which in turn can lead to lost clients!
4. Manage resources by role and project
Know who is working on what and who has the capacity to take on additional activity. You need to know where your resources and constraints are. More importantly, you can track billable hours more effectively.
5. Standardise your processes
Agency teams need processes that everyone understands and are easy for new arrivals to pick up. Convoluted systems for getting signoff or managing workflows can confuse your people – and worse, your clients.
6. Employ agile thinking
Agile marketing means working outside traditional boundaries, with methodologies such as Scrum becoming increasingly popular. The idea began in IT, but agencies can also benefit from an agile working approach.
That said, you’ll need expert guidance on which agile working package is right for you. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
7. Manage the metrics for every project
Every project an agency accepts has milestones, deadlines and constituent elements that need to be completed in order. Dedicated software tools are one of the most common ways they can control that workflow – as without it the whole project can collapse.