Tools for a Happy Agency Life Pt 2

In our last post, we talked about the importance of tools that help an agency’s team track time, communicate and collaborate. This week, we’ll dive into managing a large and diverse team as well as tools to share your process with clients you might not be able to meet with face to face.

Project Planning and Task Management
A list of to-dos and deadlines is something that no professional should ever work without. When you work with a group of people, this becomes even more important. Shared projects are built on tasks that are dependent on the completion of other tasks. Entire projects can come to a halt if one task is not completed at a specific time. 

Having a formalized system for tasks helps everyone stay on top of what they need to do and more importantly gives them an idea of how to manage their time. It also gives project managers the ability to assess the status of a project and allocate resources and support if a project is suffering. 

There’s only one really important thing to remember about task management in groups. Project-level task management should be specific enough that it helps move a project through its life, but it should not be so specific that it over-manages a professional’s day because each person works differently. If you ask five people how they manage their to-dos, you’ll likely get five answers; it can be an entirely personal process that they have refined over years. Whatever software or approach to task management an agency chooses to use to manage a project must have some flexibility to work alongside an individual’s process. 

Project Planning tools: Basecamp, Asana, Trello, FunctionFox, FunctionPoint

Sharing and Feedback
We can’t always have a client in a room when we need to share a project and get feedback so it’s important to find tools that allow this process to be worthwhile and carry the project forward. While an email with an image attachment may work for a small project, this approach can harm the success of a larger project if what is being presented needs a deep explanation or requires specific feedback. 

Online video chats with the ability to screenshare are a great tool to “in the room” with a client. It takes away the imprecise nature of writing and interpreting emails and gives everyone the ability to speak about a project. 

If chats are not possible, there are tools that allow agencies to share work online (password-protected) so clients can review, give feedback and even sign off on. Some even allow the ability to create markup such as arrows, boxes and text where the designers can point out and explain certain aspects of the design. This same feature also allows the client to direct feedback to the designer.

Sharing and feedback tools: Dropbox, Invision, GoVisually, Join Me

Assess your tools
It’s never too late to put processes in place which can help make your agency run better. Take a look at the tools that you are using and assess whether they are working well. If they are falling short, examine if you are using them properly or their features are not quite what you need. Make sure that your team understands how these tools work ; don’t assume that they’ll figure them out by themselves. Spend some time looking at some of your past projects and see where your project tools and processes may have hindered them. 

Is your process working or do you have any services that you love? Tweet at us and let us know! #yegdesign

Missed part 1? Read it here!