How Do You Project Manage Your Project Management?

Have a project management tool that doesn’t really project manage well?


Almost thought you could make it work?

Well, you’re not wrong this time.

I’m going to help you do it with these simple yet effective tips that were, until now, missing from your project management game.

Here you go . . . 

Get off those spreadsheets

Before we make project management easy as a breeze for you, there’s a confession: I abhor spreadsheets.

And think you should too.In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re better off without them. For the sake of your sanity, just get off the spreadsheets.

What are you saying, Juliana? Spreadsheets are great!” Are you saying this?

Well, I love them too – for data, but you don’t need them to manage your projects.

Why? Because they’re not scalable.

For one, they don’t allow you to generate reporting on workflow.

Secondly, they don’t allow you to generate the capacity of the workflows.

Which is why, it’s much better to have a project management system outside of your spreadsheets. 

Project Management Tools You REALLY Need

Is sending constant Slack pings and texting back and forth to get the right info driving you nuts?

Don’t fret. Let’s get rid of Information Overload with the cheat sheet below.

These are all the tools you want to keep handy that’ll make communication efficient and effective:

  • Project Management Tool — For service workflows, internal projects, repeatable tasks
  • Database — To hold all your documents, clients and deliverables, and a separate server, if needed
  • Wiki — A place where people can go and search for information on how-tos, SOPs, and templates with a table of contents
  • Communication — A place to chat with the team on things that are not task specific so that you don’t bombard your inbox
  • Time Tracking — To ensure you’re on time, and it’s best if it integrates directly with your project management tool

Project Management

Want to know what how to go from eh, this is okay project management to GREAT project management?

  • Clear and easy to see status — Whether it’s list, campaign or visual style
  • Reporting — To be able to sort for backlog
  • Templates for workflows — So that you’re not reinventing the wheel every time you do a repeatable task
  • Integrations — With your email, communication tool, CRM, etc.

Wiki/Intranet: Google Sites

A Wiki or Intranet is your internal resource of all your SOPs, how-tos, etc. that you can optimize over time.

Remember how training can help you increase 25% of employee productivity? This is the tool that lets you actually do that.

It’s also great when you’re delegating or hiring and want a tool to orient.

It’s wonderful by all means.

But ensure that it has a Table of Contents, so you know what’s there and what’s missing.

Treasure Hunt for Docs and Data


A treasure hunt for project management?

Yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds.

It’s the hunt for the stuff that makes your business repeatable and scalable.

That’s the real treasure of your business, and you need to centralize it so that everyone can use it.

So, grab all the:

  • Workflows: Delivery workflows, checklists (in spreadsheets, documents, whiteboards, notebooks, stickies or wherever else) and repeatable tasks
  • Docs: Decks, videos, sketches, client folders/doc management, internal files, misc servers, client/vendor contracts, etc.
  • Data: Data in spreadsheets, databases, SaaS cloud servers i.e. video conferencing, form/survey responses, dungeon drives, etc.
  • Client data: Passwords/security, deliverables, file versions, folder taxonomy, etc.


Be Like Nike. Just Do it. Do it NOW. I know you want to. 

If you’re hungry for simple, straightforward project management, this easy guide is your go-to recipe.

Roll it out ASAP with the following action items:

  1. Go on a treasure hunt for workflows
  2. Go on a treasure hunt for docs, data, and training
  3. Create templates of existing workflows and centralize ’em all

Get Our PM Checklist for Project Management Hacks, Cracks, and How to Avoid

Hire a project manager, they said.

It’s gonna be awesome, they said.

But the projects still miss deadlines, productivity is low, and the project manager? He’s just as overwhelmed and confused as everyone else.

What’s wrong, where, and how can it be fixed?

ScaleTime to the rescue!

What is Project Management?

Project management is the whole system of the business. 

Think of it as a shiny, well-oiled, and well-run machine — everyone from the production to client management and delivery needs it.

You could be that shiny machine. Or the people who are delivering. Or there could be several shiny machines in your business.

What it really means is that you deliver high-quality end products and results.

But, hey, when you’re a shiny machine, why would you need more of them?

Investing your time in delegating work that you can do beautifully is sheer nonsense, right?


Because when you create several shiny machines, invest enough time to run a few units through it, you are building a factory.

And then, my dear, you can stand back and watch things grow and be fluid.

However, there are several cracks you need to identify and work on to make these shiny machines.

What are these?

And are there any hacks to eliminate these cracks?

There sure are!

Let’s get right down to business.

Low Productivity

Business hitting the skids, even with the best of project managers in place?

Well, you need training to save your business and your grace.

Fun fact: Training increases productivity by 25%. 

What’s one of the easiest ways to create a training program?

 Make sure your project management, checklists, workflows, and everything that has to deal with your delivery mechanisms are on point.


Because when you plug someone into this wonderful mechanism, they’re going to be able to be 25% more productive than if you weren’t able to train them or didn’t have anything there.

And 25% is huge!

The Project Management Gap

When we think about business in its totality, we have different pieces. 

These could be people, processes, product and so on.But these are like renegade windup toys running into each other if left to their own devices. Without order to your project management process, chaos will ensue. And you can’t scale chaos. 

A client may say, “Oh, my God, can you just make this teensy tiny change?”

Well, that’s going to affect your project management, production, and delivery.

A client manager with new projects may say, 

Oh, so now we have three new projects, three new retainers, or three new engagements. 

But where are we going to fit them?”

That, too, is going to affect production and delivery.

A project manager (which could be the founder, gladiator, or anybody else who handles the projects) may say, “Crap, who’s doing what and when?”

If you fail to fit these moving pieces together like a puzzle, you have project management gaps. 

And these gaps are where money starts to leak.

But there is a road to freedom.

Get our Project Management Checklist. Just use the right project management tools, documents, workflows, and training, and you will fill this gap sooner than you think.

Project Management Syndrome

One of the biggest syndromes for project management (whoever is doing it) is having everything in your head.

You know that urge — “I must ask them, because what are they doing? What are they doing again?

You may find yourself connecting with everyone on whatever communication platform — slack, text, inbox.

Oh boy, is that overwhelming!

What you can do here is download your brain so other people can be held accountable without micromanaging.

And then, my friend, you will never have to default to uncertainty.

 Act Now — This Is HOW!

  • Create training protocols to increase productivity
  • Fill the project management gap with tools to get on the road to freedom
  • Download your brain to break free of the project management syndrome

That’s it. Identifying your project management cracks and knocking them out with these project management hacks is that easy.

Need some help with project management? Don’t forget to grab your copy of our Project Management Checklist to get out of the weeds. 

Client Kick-Off Meeting Agenda: Nail Down Scope and Banish the Creep

Picture this: You’ve got a fantastic client closed. You’re psyched to get started and hand the project off to the account manager. 

So, everyone can just jump right in and start cracking on those deliverables, right? 


What exactly did sales promise to the client? How can your team deliver on those promises if you just jump right in? Do that, and you’re missing a crucial step in the delivery process. 

Finding clients is tough. Retaining clients? Easy to mess up. So, what to do?

The answer lies in a client kick-off meeting.

A client kickoff meeting agenda clears the air between sales, the account manager, and the team assigned to the project. 

The result? 

Promises delivered and happy clients. Let’s get the scoop below. 

What’s a Client Kickoff Meeting?

A kickoff meeting is the first official meeting between the client and the project team. Consider it as a date where you want to know as much as you can about the other person (here, the client).

Apart from defining the whats and whys, it also explains the hows, giving the project a clear direction.

Why do you need a client kick-off meeting agenda anyway?

Kickoff isn’t just a step to take before project completion. It defines the project and gives it a direction that’s often missing (even after a client is acquired).

The right setting and attitude play a crucial role in holding this meeting successfully.

So, besides a comfortable environment, choose a confident mindset too. And, let the project roll with a bang.

Kicking it off with the right agenda

While every project is different, it pays off to have a well-defined structure before starting a project. 

Here’s the client kick-off framework I swear by:

Step #1. Meet and Greet

Greet the client with all the courtesy you have in the world. 

Remember, the first impression is the . . . yeah, you know that already. So, begin the meeting by congratulating all and thanking them for their time to be present there. 

A simple thank-you can be a fantastic ice-breaker and conversation-starter. Use it well.

Step #2. Review the Onboarding Form Responses

Take a moment to revisit the client onboarding form and recount the project background. It’ll help in getting a better understanding of not just the objectives, but the project pain-points too.

Step #3. Service and Scope

Rallying for scope consensus is the cornerstone of a successful kickoff. 

Inform the client about how your business and service works and agree upon the project scope. 

Go through the timelines, estimates, statements of work, etc.

Step #4. Team Introductions and Role-defining

Introduce who’s who on each team and map roles to assign deliverables.

Step #5. Questions and Answers

Next, let the client ask you questions about a particular process or raise concerns they want you to troubleshoot within a platform. Discuss and clear misunderstandings. Leave nothing to imagination or guesswork. 

Step #6. Keep Things Moving

Share sales tips or any other relevant info that’ll keep up the meeting’s momentum and fill those awkward silences. 

Step #7. Collaboration and Communication

Fix a collaboration process with no loopholes in the communication and reporting framework. Strongly consider using cloud-based tools to make your life easier and collaboration smoother.

Step #8. Next Steps

Come up with a project mission statement, if possible. Ensure that each attendee knows what comes next and what’s expected of them to drive the project to fruition. Set-up full project clarity before impatience takes over the meeting. 

And yes, it means you can and should ask that intern to sit back, until everyone’s on the same page. 

No leaving the room without a clear-cut action plan. 

If you want to avoid failing to deliver on promises, and bridge the gap between sales and the project team, then schedule a client kickoff meeting. 

It’ll give your account manager and team members the clear-cut action plan they need to deliver. And your clients will thank you.

  1. Schedule a meet-and-greet and thank everyone involved.
  2. Review and discuss the client onboarding form responses.
  3. Define and align the service and scope with what sales promised. 
  4. Introduce the team and define everyone’s roles and responsibilities.
  5. Collaborate, communicate, and get started on next steps.

Are you ready to execute your projects like a pro and scale up your business like never before? Check this case study on how a divorced single mom of two turned her side project into a growing business.

Why Your Agency Needs a Client Onboarding Process

86% of consumers say they’re more likely to remain loyal to a brand if it invests in onboarding content — welcoming them and educating them after they’ve made a purchase. 

Did you know that more than half of consumers have returned a product/ service, 

simply because they didn’t know how to use it? 

Client onboarding is crucial for retaining customers and increasing brand loyalty. 

So, what does it take to have a supercharged client onboarding process in place? 

Don’t make it easy for your competitors to steal your hard-won clients. 

We’ll show you how to get started with a client onboarding process that’ll improve your customer retention rates. 

What Is a Client Onboarding Process?

Love it or hate it, client onboarding is the red-headed stepchild of your business. 

You know it’s there.

You know it needs a lot of TLC. 

But you still ignore it and put all your focus on the sales process instead.

And herein lies the problem:

Your customers deserve your attention even after you close the deal. 

That’s why client onboarding exists and is relevant.  

The client onboarding process is your ability to pass the baton from sales to production successfully. 

It’s the experience you give to your client as soon as you, well, onboard them. 

From the customer’s point-of-view, onboarding is the support they expect to get post-sale. 

But why does client onboarding matter?

A recent study by Wyzowl found that over 63% of surveyed customers believed the onboarding process was an essential part of their decision to partner with a brand. 

When customers feel unappreciated during the onboarding process, 

they’re likely to stop doing business with that company and take their dollars elsewhere 

— to someone who gives a damn. 

So, what does that mean for you? 

Those amazing customer acquisition strategies you’ve created won’t give your business a double or triple-digit revenue increase if your customer retention is low. 

To give your clients the confidence that they’ve put their resources in the right team, you need to spend at least half of your business development budget (roughly 10% of your revenue) on the customer experience.

The effects of this investment may not be immediate. 

But investing in customer experience can skyrocket your business revenue by 200%.

It’s that powerful. 

Remember, regardless of what you may have believed so far, client onboarding is your company’s backbone. 

Five Key Parts of An Effective Client Onboarding Process

Establishing an effective client onboarding can be overhauled in a few hours. Use these five simple steps to get started. 

  1. Client Intake  — Begin with the end in mind and make a list of all of the assets, things, or people you’ll need to create a fantastic client journey.
  2. Client Brief — Before your team starts working on a project, ensure they have a detailed understanding of the client’s requirements. A client brief is all the information on a project, from sales to production. The absence of an excellent brief risks failing to deliver what you’ve promised your client. So, make sure the client brief is accurate, detailed, and on-point.
  3. Welcome Kit — Acquiring a new customer may be exhilarating for a business. For a client, though, it may lead to buyer’s remorse. This is where a Welcome Kit, with a positive email, helps build trust in your business right from the start.
  4. Kickoff — Set the stage for the client’s expectations with a good project kickoff meeting. Ensure clear communication while introducing your team to the client and reinforce that the client has made the right decision by choosing you.
  5. Client Results — Client onboarding doesn’t end at the start of production. Map your client’s journey and measure the results against the promises you’ve made — regularly. During this process, cover all the touchpoints of your client’s journey for a seamless experience without chaos.

Supercharge your  Client Onboarding 

A quick reminder here — the moment you onboard a client, kick it into high gear! 

Keep that $$$ – attracting a new client costs five times more than retaining the existing one.

  1. Scope out client intake to get a handle on the people, assets, and steps to take for success.
  2. Give your team a detailed understanding of the project with a client brief.
  3. Build trust with your client with a Welcome Kit.
  4. Ensure clear communication and deliver on promises with a kickoff meeting.
  5. Map your client’s journey and measure the results.


View our Client Management Checklist to learn what client management systems you should implement after onboarding. 

Client Interview Questions & Insights

Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Wait, what?

Did he just say the most unhappy

What – wait, what about the others?

Well, they add to your learning curve too. 

Provided you know what they are actually thinking!

If you’ve been wracking your brain to find new ways to reach and connect with your target audience, interviewing your clients during the offboarding process can give you great ideas and insight.

A recent colleague asked, “But Juliana, how do you interview your clients in a candid way, that they spill the beans?”

Well, this is how. 

Scheduling an Exit Interview

I reach out to interviewees a week or two in advance, with a simple email asking their availability for a 25-minute interview.

Once I get a go-ahead, I ask them the following questions during the interview. Let me Disclose these are not my questions. These have been passed down from generation to generation of marketers like a fable and the source has been washed by the sands of time. 

They are still my favorite though. 

Before we jump to the questions, here are a couple of tips for you from a pro:

Pro Tip: These are time-tested questions that have helped me receive some of the best responses ever. Altering them isn’t recommended. At all.

Super Pro Tip: Keep asking “why” to get to the heart of the matter.

Client Interview Questions to Ask

  • Before we started working together, what were you trying to do? What were the challenges you had? What were you trying to accomplish? Why?
  • What were you frustrated by? What problems did we help you solve in your business? Why?
  •  What did you want? How do we improve your business? Why?
  •  What was your fear? What were you concerned about? What was your fear if you didn’t get what you wanted?
  •  How did the other people involved in the decision all feel about this? What did they want? What were they frustrated by? What did they fear?

Questions to Understand the Pre-Buying Process

While email marketing doesn’t really focus on these questions, you can use them for future reference, especially while conducting a sales call.

  •  What was most important to you when you were making a decision?
  •  What factors didn’t matter as much?
  •  Who was involved in the decision-making process? Who made the final decision or signed the contract? What was their title?
  •  Who else did you look at? What other companies did you talk to? What other ways did you look at solving this problem?
  •  Why did you decide to go with us versus other companies or alternatives?

Questions to Understand the After-Sale Process

  • What do you like about us?
  • How could we improve? Any feedback?
  • If you were to describe what we do to another company, what would you say?
  • Is there anything else you want to add or how we can be helpful?
  • Based on what you know about us, can you think of anyone else whom it might make sense for me to talk to?

To make the process simpler, I open a google doc on my screen before I start the interview and copy and paste the questions listed above.

I take as much notes as I can o catch the feeling that the customer carries for my brand.

Sup Up Client Insights

As it turns out, scheduling an exit interview with your clients helps in getting the much-needed brand clarity to drive more customers to your offerings. 

Conducting an offboarding client exit interview also enables you to figure out what your target audience genuinely wants — not what the industry says they do.

So, if you’re keen on capitalizing on consumer decisions and behavioral studies, begin the charity at home by interviewing your clients during the offboarding process. 

  1. Schedule your exit interview. Use the question “why” to dig for those nuggets of insight.
  2. Ask questions that uncover your client’s pre-buying processes, like why they chose your company over a competitor, and who was the ultimate decision maker.
  3. Uncover your client’s after-sale thoughts. Find out what they enjoyed about working with your company, and what they didn’t. 
  4. Use the end of the interview as an opportunity to ask for referrals. 

Oh, and always remember to thank them before starting the interviews and again while wrapping up. 

After all, they’re doing you a favor. 

So, be sure to treat it like one.

How to Find the Cracks in Your Client Process

CLIENT (internal dialogue): OMG they think I’m crazy. I just want it how I want it. Aaaaand it WILL most likely happen again! Oooops. 

YOU (internal dialogue): You are insane. I’m going nuts. I might kill you — but I won’t … because I need to pay overhead.

Take a mind reading microscope to the typical scenario of dealing with a tough client, and it looks something like the above exchange. 

If you’ve been in business for quite some time now, chances are you’ve met at least one such wacky client. 

They can be are demanding.

They can be are usually unclear with their requirements.

Or, they can be terrible for no reason.

You know the drill, right?

But when a client gives you a hard time, and there’s no silver lining whatsoever, what can you do to protect your sanity while getting the job done? 

You’ll want to identify the cracks in your client process. 


By improving your client onboarding process and tightening up the scope of your projects. 

Identify Cracks in the Client Process

Here are five ways you can find the cracks in your client process and improve your client onboarding and scope creation.

1. You’re behind schedule because of the client.

You have a lovely client. It’s a pleasure to deal with them. The only problem is the project delays. In fact, there are a lot of them. Why? Well, because of the client.

Sound unusual?

Trust me, it happens so much we call it “client dragging a$$ syndrome.”

Many of my customers ask, “Juliana, what can I do if I fall behind schedule thanks to client-induced delays?”

I suggest two solutions in this scenario:

  • Add a buffer to each project’s deadline
  • Charge a margin fee for any project extensions past the agreed-upon deadline 

2. Scope of work? What’s that?

You may have mapped out an SOW that’s a thing of beauty. 

But what if your client doesn’t understand it? 

Or, even worse, doesn’t follow it on purpose — thanks to the whole “customer-is-the-king” song playing in their head all the time.

Instead of giving in to their “special” requests as “extras” and working beyond the scope for free, be upfront. Set clear boundaries, and avoid that grumble later on.

3. It’s urgent! It always is!

Well, here comes the most dreaded of them all — the one who is always running on tight timelines and wants quick results. Make sure your onboarding process is competent enough to filter out leads that want you to work on ridiculously short time frames. 

It’s no good. 

Being on a client’s beck and call constantly never is.

4. Hey client, “You’ve got an email!”

There are clients who are too occupied to check their emails and messages. 

And there are clients who just don’t bother to revert. 

Either way, it’s annoying to work with a bad communicator.

Whether you need feedback or sign off, reduce the frequency of contact to weekly check-ins, and use online tools like Slack and Asana, if possible.

 5.  Too many junior cooks in the kitchen.

Too many people working on a project? 


Chaos and confusion abound! 

Goalposts change, quality decreases, and more time is spent organizing and sorting things out than on actual work.

While you can’t remove stakeholders from a project, crowdsourcing can allow them to be heard. 

Having a single point of contact for collecting and disseminating information can also prevent your project from becoming a fine kettle of fish.

Also, try automating the process. 

Assigning a single-point-of-contact and setting up automations can help everyone involved in the project. It’s a major step toward better collaboration. You can trust me on this (and on all of the other points too, btw). 

That’s the problem with a client process. 

You commit too much, you look needy. 

Not enough, you seem too laid back.

Clients commit too much, they’re lovely. 

Not enough, they’re busy.

Why, oh why, this discrimination?

Set clear expectations before you sign a contract

And create an unbiased onboarding client process that’ll help you identify red-flags while dealing with a potential overly-demanding client.

If, still, you happen to encounter a difficult-to-please customer, try one of the methods listed-above before giving up on them.

🤺Find, Fill and bulletproof the cracks in your process: 

  1. Set clear boundaries upfront about scope, and add buffers to the project deadlines
  2. Include margin fees for Client-Dragging-A$$ syndrome
  3. Filter out leads who want to work on crazy timelines
  4. Assign a single-point-of-contact
  5. Use automations

It may not be easy. But it’s worth it.