Blog Series: The First Step - Planning

The 3-Step Process to Run Your Agency's Operations Like a Well-Oiled Machine: Part 2 of 4 - Planning

26-Jul 2019

"Our projects ALWAYS go according to plan!" Have you ever heard anyone in your agency say this? Studies show that a mere 2.5% of companies complete 100% of their projects. So, unless you're in a very small minority who perfectly hit their initial targets, consistently stay within budget, and have no problem meeting original deadlines, then consider implementing changes to how your agency operates, starting with planning. 

Everything you do as an agency has to be done in partnership and/or in service to your clients. When bringing an array of participants from clients, internal team members, and outside collaborators, several external forces making it difficult to not stray from the game plan.  

You can't control the changes that will inevitably occur, but you can design a plan that'll help you tackle any of the hurdles and pivot when necessary. Whether you're a current Accelo user or interested in trying our software, discover several ways to leverage Accelo to help thrive throughout the planning process.

Improve the Way You Plan, Track, Communicate, and Collaborate With Your Team 

For starters, you can't plan a project without a set of tools that'll help you through the project obstacles and triumphs along the way. Instead of relying on spreadsheets or a tool that solely focuses on keeping track of your progress, utilize a system like Accelo that has the capabilities that support and enhance the way you collaborate with your teammates.

File sharing, time tracking, email integration, Gantt Charts, budget management capabilities are some of the top utilized and requested features when it comes to project management software. Accelo gives you the ability to seamlessly work with your team using these functions that mean the most to you:

  • File sharing: With Accelo, easily store and share files with your teammates across the cloud, giving you the power to work on the project no matter where you or your team are located.

  • Time Tracking: Accelo's time tracking capabilities ensure that you never have to worry about manually tracking. Instead, it automatically captures the work and time you put into your projects. Be sure to stay tuned, we'll delve deeper into time tracking functions in the last entry of this blog series!

  • Email Integration: This is another specialty of Accelo. Our system syncs with your go-to email account, e.g. G Suite or Office 365, and any client emails sent through Accelo get captured and any emails sent and received through Gmail or Outlook get pulled into a stream in Accelo, giving you real-time consistent insight into your client communications. With our integration, you can also sync your calendars and tasks to get the most out of them. 

  • Gantt Charts: Accelo's Gantt Charts not only provide great visualization of your projects and progress, but you can use a simple click and drag to link milestones and tasks to create dependencies for smooth workflows. 

  • Budget Management: Accelo makes it easy to define your budgets - assign time estimates, hourly rates and fixed prices to your Project's Tasks and Milestones. The system offers several options for defining your project's budget, giving you power and control over your budget throughout the project's duration. 

Adopt Structure and Flexibility Into Your Plans with Adaptive Project Management

Once your project planning platform and tools are set, which project management method do you plan to leverage? If you take on a more firm project approach you probably lean toward Waterfall Project Management, whereas if you prefer a more flexible style, Agile Project Management could be more your speed.

While both popularized methods have their advantages, they can also be detrimental to your projects and overall operations if you only apply one of them. We wanted to share a breakdown of each method to help you weigh your options: 

Waterfall Project Management
  • Benefits: Embraces concrete requirements, firm plans and distinct stages with the help of milestones, tasks with dependencies, Gantt charts, assigned budgets, set resources, and secure timelines for delivery. 

  • Risks: While this method incorporates a lot of the features that mean the most to you, it doesn't adapt well to change. This is especially challenging for agencies since no two projects or clients are ever the same, and there are many key players involved in each project. So you'll have to adjust the plans when conflicts and higher priorities arise. As changes occur, it becomes more difficult for the team to stay on task. It's easy for the plan to become outdated, and there's more potential for projects to fall through the cracks. 

Agile Project Management
  • Benefits: While following Agile Project Management, there's an understanding between team members that the plan will most likely change down the line, so it's not necessary to lock down all the components attached to the plan. Flexibility is key!

  • Risks: This go-with-the-flow mentality is enticing, except, if a plan especially key functions like the budget or milestones aren't solidified early on, this can destroy the economics of the projects and ultimately your business. 

Instead of having to choose between the two, Accelo introduced Adaptive Project Management. With this method you can reap the benefits of both popular methodologies and steer away from their risks. Have structured milestones and budget allocations in place (Waterfall method), and give your teammates the control to create and manage their own schedule and tasks (Agile method).

Drawing from both methods ensures a much more streamlined and systemized way to handle your project planning that gives your team the work autonomy they desire while maintaining your business' financial health. In the next blog, we'll further discuss how to track your team's utilization, understand how much of that is billable, and how you can instantly gain insight into their productivity. 

By utilizing the tools that matter most to your agency with Accelo, you can remain realistic and adaptive to reality when it comes to planning, as well as preserve and boost business profitability. Take the first step to enhance the way your agency operates by altering the way you plan and sign up for Accelo!

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