How to Deliver Better Projects (that seem impossible)

29-Jul 2016

Know how efficient your team is. See how profitable your projects are. Get rid of admin work. Gain transparency and visibility into your business. Automatically - and all in real time.

Sounds like the perfect recipe for delivering projects (especially the ones that seem impossible) right? That’s because it is, but oftentimes, even the best teams get bogged down by the pitfalls of “organized chaos”. With lots of tools in place to address different needs, everything seems like a well oiled-machine. It’s only when you take a closer look at your team’s workflows and processes, and even your company’s profitability, that you’ll notice some things just aren’t adding up.

Those gaps are what are holding you back from delivering outstanding (and highly profitable) projects. To help you out, have a look at three things we came up with that you can do to start delivering better projects (that seem impossible).

1. Clean up shop

Delivering outstanding projects to your clients is a challenge in and of itself, so staying organized is key. If you want to break down the barriers and have a seamless workflow to tackle the tasks at hand, you’ll need to streamline your processes and clean up shop. But what does that mean exactly? First and foremost, it means getting rid of the excess. Working with a bunch of tools that attempt to solve different problems can cost you big time when it comes to productivity. Things can fall through the cracks when your tools don’t talk to each other, especially when you’re working at a bustling agency, consulting or accounting firm. As Rebecca Angelos, VP of Operations at HDMZ describes upon starting at the agency, “there were a lot of systems; nothing was talking to each other… when you stepped back and looked at the business, it was chaos.” For you, this might translate into something like: everyone at your company using (a lot of) different systems that no one really finds helpful. Without a good system in place, you’re all forced to play catch up to figure out what’s been done or said with client work or accounts - and that’s totally inefficient.

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2. Connect the dots

If there’s a will, there’s a way - it’s just about connecting the dots, but that’s easier said than done. First, you’ve got to get rid of the excess and figure out where your company’s pain points are. Take a step back and look at your processes and workflows, talk to your team, and try to find the gaps. How easy is it for your team to communicate with each other on a given project? How do you loop in your clients with communications on client work? Are there overlaps? How easy is it for someone to pick up where another left off? Are your teams siloed? Does information easily flow downstream or are teams constantly tapping others for more information? Does everyone know what's coming down the pipeline or are finance and billing separate? How long is your billing cycle?

When you start asking these kinds of questions, you’ll begin to see where the gaps are - and how to bridge them. For instance, the team at HDMZ was using Basecamp to manage their projects, Salesforce to manage their sales, Quickbooks to handle their finance, and a plethora of other small tools to try and keep up with their business. These siloed tools led to things falling through the cracks because they didn’t work in harmony. When you’ve got persistent failures in internal communication, client work or projects can seem impossible. Picture this: your project management team is using one tool, but it’s not helping or useful to the team doing the actual client work. Maybe you’re using something like Basecamp to manage work, but a separate system to log time. This not only creates internal inefficiencies, but can actually implicate your high value clients when working on tight deadlines - ouch.  

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3. Focus on seamless communication

You can deliver the most outstanding projects when your communication is on point. Whether it’s communicating to new employees workflow processes to get them up to speed with minimal effort, or keeping your overall team in the loop by having all team and client communication easily accessible from one simple place, when your conversations aren’t fractured your output is better. How bout’ this: how often has it happened that someone goes on vacation, and all of a sudden the rest of the team is lost as to where they’re at in a project or client account?

“So many times people have gone on vacation and you are trying to figure out what the heck a client said” - Rebecca Angelos, VP Operations, HDMZ

Rebecca got fed up with the silos at HDMZ and implemented Accelo to streamline their workflows and processes. Now she says, “I can go in and find the client, and I can find the conversation and know exactly what happened”. At HDMZ, Accelo is the centerpiece of their business. Now all their accounts and sales teams aren’t siloed in Salesforce, and emails that are sent out go through Accelo (which integrates with Campaign Monitor and MailChimp). It also integrates with Quickbooks and Xero so transactions happen for everyone to see.

With Accelo, you can say goodbye to spreadsheet mayhem and scattered tools that don’t talk to each other. It’s smart technology makes it easy to manage all of your client work, from prospect to payment, in one simple place. With powerful features like automatic email sync, time sheets and smart triggers that forecast the future (and alert you when things go off track), you can make smarter decisions with confidence.

Accelo lets you focus on doing the strategic and creative work you love and takes care of the rest. Check out this one minute video and see how:

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