What It Takes to Achieve Project Success Today

Project Management Best Practices from Agency Leaders

4-Sep 2020
LinkedIn
Christa Balingit MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

To be successful in the agency world, most agency leaders will tell you that it’s imperative to understand the importance of effective project management. With so many moving parts, it’s easy to lose track of smaller tasks, experience scope creep, or deliver a project that’s unfinished or late. In today’s blog post, we chatted with agency leaders who share their best practices that can help you achieve project success. 

19 IDEAS 

19 IDEAS - a full-service agency that offers creative solutions in marketing, public relations, design, and web and software development - understands first-hand how fast-paced and chaotic the agency world can be. Rob Eisman, who serves as the Project Manager at the company, said his best practices center around accuracy, brevity, and clarity (ABC). 

“To do my job well, I must be accurate and strive to get the right information from the client, always anticipating the questions that my team will have so they can do their best, most informed work,” Rob said. “Accuracy can get lost in email forwards, references to documents, or long task descriptions, so I try to be as brief as possible with task information, focusing on what is really needed. I need to be clear with my directions, both for the work and where it is going next. With the task as the foundation for all work we do, effective communication at that level ensures good results.”

Here are a few best practices Rob uses to help him project manage seamless: 

  • Tell the truth: Relying on hopes and dreams when determining a work schedule, rather than the reality of the true deadline vs. the team's capacity, is no way to keep a team happy and have great work created. Fire drills crop up, but careful, honest planning fosters collaboration and creativity. Being transparent with a client early on sets expectations and also educates them on the realities of the creative process.
  • Be flexible with your approach: Clients have different levels of understanding when it comes to marketing and technology. Adapting your thinking and approach to their perspective will help you get the most accurate and thorough information needed for your team. The same goes for team members, whether it be their position, career experience, or familiarity with the work. Accommodating and adapting to the way they think helps you help them. 
  • Say what needs to be said: Conversations with clients about scope creep or with the team about missed deadlines are always uncomfortable. Keeping the client focused on contracted work and being honest about any added cost while keeping the team focused on the challenge of being creative with a deadline can reduce discord, stress and miscommunication. 

These are a few best practices that Rob implements into his day-to-day. Though the agency environment can be stressful, Rob and the team at 19 IDEAS have found a platform that helps support their work to help them succeed. 

“Our team's adoption of Accelo certainly keeps me and my team on track with my best practice goals,” Rob said. 

MO Agency 

As a digital marketing agency, the team at MO Agency is used to juggling several projects at once. The team is full of experts at Hubspot inbound marketing, digital strategy, web design, and content development. Chené Erwee, the Operations Manager at MO Agency, shares her project management best practices that she learned over the years: 

  • Ensure deadlines are achievable and realistic: Before committing to a project timeline, make sure you have given yourself and your team the proper amount to complete each task. Always build in some extra time as a buffer to confirm that you are delivering a high-quality product to your client. 
  • Establish a clear plan: Every month, make a point to finalize a project plan for the month and assign an owner for each task. This keeps everyone accountable for their work and decreases confusion around who is responsible for what. In the agency world, you need to be ready to pivot, but having a plan helps keep the team aligned on their goals.
  • Schedule regular scrum meetings: Earlier we mentioned the importance of checking in with team members. One way to achieve this is to schedule a regular scrum meeting with your team. Set aside a time to discuss project progress, roadblocks, and priorities for the day. 
  • Mind your team’s workload and check-in with their state-of-mind: As every agency professional knows, scope creep can cause extra work, wasted time, and frustration between your team and the client. Take the time out to review what your team is currently working on and follow-up to see how the project is progressing. During these times, we also recommend seeing how they’re doing and coping with the workload.
  • Take time to reflect: At the end of each project, take some time to think about the project as a whole. Ask the tough questions such as: what worked, what didn’t work, could the work have been done more efficiently, and what takeaways can you apply to the next project. Make it an open discussion among the team to get everyone's feedback. 

MO Agency also found success through Accelo by giving each team member a clear understanding of what they need to execute and by when. 

"The use of the team scheduling view in our morning stand-ups has assisted in ensuring that we are not overloading our team and that the work is being distributed efficiently, allowing for increased quality of work and a happy team," Chené said. "Accelo has many capabilities that assist with an overall project management view, from being able to track and measure project profitability, to ensuring the sales department have accurately scoped a project cost to ensure we price future projects correctly, all the way to employee profitability, providing us with the right insight in order to make the right decisions within the company."

If you’re interested in learning how Accelo can help support and improve your team’s project management practices, sign up for a free trial today! 

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