Project Management for Agencies

Feel like your projects are managing your team? Let’s wrangle that beast.

Poor project management kills quality, margins, and client retention, period.

And faking it until you make it just isn’t going to cut it.

Project management is a critical core competency and strategy made up of people, processes, and tools that agencies simply cannot grow without. Done right, it scales you into 7,8 and 9 figures.

Let’s S.C.A.L.E. your agency project management for maximum growth now

Where to begin? 

With so many tools like Asana, Monday, ClickUp, how do you know what’s best for your agency? And how do you ensure that your entire organization is using the tools so that you can budget, measure, and plan resources accordingly?

Because let’s face it. If everyone isn’t using the tools, no one is using the tools.

All that said, growth is very achievable and with a fully optimized project management machine in place, you’ll be in a position to onboard 2 or 3x as many clients at one time.

How? With S.C.A.L.E., our proprietary framework for pinpointing the bottlenecks, fixing them, and optimizing your internal and external business processes for maximum efficiency and growth.

Here’s how S.C.A.L.E. works to take your project management from meh to yeah!

S. See what’s happening

Every agency is different. The processes you use, either currently or ultimately, will determine precisely what you need from our suite of services to optimize your project management.

During the first part of S.C.A.L.E., we’ve got to see what’s hot and what’s not — where your project management is working and what’s falling through the cracks.

  • Are statuses being used so you can stay on track, on point, and with your head still firmly attached to your neck?
  • Can people find things or is it all a big jumbled mess of nope?
  • Can we measure team capacity accurately?
  • Do deadlines keep turning into just another week (or ten) lines?
  • Do clients consistently go over scope?

Once we figure out what you need to evolve and elevate your project management, it’s time to establish the baseline.

C. Create a Baseline

We all about that base up in this biznatch. You’ve got stuff that’s working, and some that isn’t. Before we can optimize anything, we need to know how well (or not so well) your current project management practices are going.

During this part of the S.C.A.L.E. framework, we take a temp check on the febrile dream that is your project management. Here, we establish a baseline for current practices, and we’ve only got one way to go from here — up.

Next up, we establish what’s working for your agency so we can optimize and amplify the good stuff.

A. Amplify how you do it

First and foremost, we aren’t going to come in and “blow it up”. We know you have a business to run and we’re jumping on a moving train. You won’t have to stop operations or deal with any sputtering in your revenue stream.

We’ll audit your current systems and processes, identify gaps and help you fill them on the fly. We’re here to enable agency growth, not stifle it.

With our tools, training, and support from our collaborative tribe of agency leaders we’ll:

  • Improve your current PM processes
  • Select and set up the right PM tools for your business
  • Establish rules and parameters for dedicated process communication channels
  • Centralize client and team documents so they’re easy to find
  • Create repeatable workflows so you’re not reinventing the wheel
  • Create easy handoffs and review processes to avoid a million meetings
  • Develop owner dashboards for team oversight without getting into the weeds

Oh, and we’ll help you understand how to set KPIs to measure the impact of all of this on your agency’s growth and performance. Awesome, right? Then you’ll have the ability to lead and delegate.

L. Lead and delegate

Bet you stumbled on this page because you’re sick of putting out five-alarm project catastrophe fires at 3 AM, amirite?

Life’s too short for all that. We will get your project management systems in place running smoothly and effortlessly.

But that’s not all. You’ve got a life to live outside the daily business ops.

In this step, we show you how to lead. We’ll figure out the best ways for you to implement your new project management processes across your team so they know what to do, what’s expected, and how to repeat at scale.

The key to this? Training your project manager or traffic controller so they have the right skills and tools to consistently deliver. We’ll show you how so you can finally get out of the way and relax.

E. Exit and oversee

This is the fun part. It’s the part where you get out of the way. And it’s the part you’ve been waiting for all along.

You get to fully enjoy your business and watch it’s growth from a distance because guess what? Your project management is now running like clockwork without you needing to adjust the gears all the time.

S.C.A.L.E your agency project management today.

Your agency can’t grow and scale without an airtight project management process in place. At ScaleTime, we’ll take what you’re doing, amplify the good stuff, and fix and optimize the not-so-good for maximum growth and revenue.

Well gee, ScaleTime. I sure wish I could get started today on fixing my project management processes. . . 

Oh looky here. Some project management resources for ya! And they’re free. Just click and get started.

The Agency Project Management Checklist

Gimme!

Video: The Basics of Project Management

Teach me, Sensei

Ready to fully streamline your project management processes? Experience greater agency growth and get some work-life balance into your life. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Let’s Do This!

KPIs for Growth: Measuring Project Management

“I love flying blind! Oh look, we’re about to fly headfirst into a mountain.” And it’s a mountain of misplaced expectations, lost brains, and absolute disorder. 

We all like and need certainty in our lives. And when it comes to scaling an agency, knowing where we’re winning and where we need a little bit of help is vital to agency growth. 

Hardly anything happens in a vacuum and effective project management is another one of those things. You need to make sure you’ve got the right tools and processes in place for scaling and growing. 

Because bottom line? You can’t scale chaos. 

So, how do you define KPIs for project management? It’s ScaleTime to the rescue to right your flight and steer you clear of the Mountain of Chaos. 

Check out our top growth KPIs for measuring project management tools to see just how well (or not) your current project management processes are working. 

Hold up — what makes a good KPI anyway? 

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator

Every internut (typo and it stays) guru and their uncle will throw a million KPIs you must measure or else!!! at you. But I want you to focus on KPIs that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Anything less, and you’re going to get overwhelmed. So let’s focus on the following to keep us on track. 

Growth KPI #1: Project Run Rate 

Gotta keep an eye on that budget. Success isn’t just about right deliverables, although that’s vital too. You also need to keep an eye on expense efficiency. 

Unforeseen issues can and often do occur during the course of a project. Project Run Rate can help you see how, why, and where budget shifts need to happen. 

Projects that keep running over budget are going to raise an eyebrow when it comes to your agency’s integrity. So, track the Cost Performance Index, or CPI KPI (catchy, right?) to measure how well you’re doing. 

Project Run Rate = Earned Value/Actual Costs

Earned Value is how much work’s gotten done at a specified cost. Actual Costs are pretty straightforward — they’re the money that’s already been spent on the project. 

If CPI is high (over 1), then you’ll finish the project under budget. Too low (below 1), and you’re about to go over. This KPI is vital to understanding your project’s health – whether it’s a one time project or retained services.

So, you’re 2 months into a 6 month project budgeted at 5k, month, you look at your data and you’ve spent 14k through two months. Houston, we have a problem. Time to look at managing your team’s time to get back on track.

Growth KPI #2: On Time Deliverables

Delivering on time is just as critical as staying on budget. Schedule Performance Index (SPI) helps you measure how well your team is sticking to the schedule.

SPI = Earned Value/Planned Value

Planned Value is the planned percentage of work you’re aiming to complete within budget. 

Say you’ve got a 10K budget and 40% of the project left to do. Planned Value is 4K. 

Use SPI to compare your actual costs and time and tweak the budget if you must. 

We often underestimate our timelines and how long a particular task is going to take. You usually can’t identify a creeping scope down to the last detail. 

This KPI will help you see where you have some leeway with timelines without jeopardizing the budget. 

You have a client who wants copy for their next email campaign. But oh yeah, could you just add in a few A/B split tests while you’re at it, too? For copy and subject lines? You’ve got the time for that, don’t you?

Dutifully measure this KPI, and you’ll know if it’s, “OMG, hair on fire! Must get done ASAP!” Or if you can breathe a sigh of relief. SPI helps you figure out your project management priorities and if you have some breathing room in the schedule. 

Growth KPI #3: Resource Capacity

Resources are finite. 

Does your team have the time needed to hit milestones by their due date? What about changes in scope? Does your team have the bandwidth to accommodate?

You must have the right amount of resources (people and their time) to complete your projects on schedule and within budget. That way, you’ll have a happy customer, and happy employees, at the end. 

When you’re short of crucial resources, projects are painful. 

You’ve might have been here before. You didn’t adequately onboard your client (no worries we’ve all been there, done that). Now they’re asking for “little” extras that are really adding up, resulting in an out-of-control, ballooning project and stressed employees. 

You have to measure your resource capacity to prevent these kinds of problems. 

So project managers, measure your resource capacity KPIs for maximum performance and resource efficiency. 

When you set this KPI, make the target realistic. No one goes full-throttle, 100% productive throughout the whole day. We all need a coffee break (or five) at times.  

Measuring this KPI has several different benefits:

  • You can allocate resources properly
  • Determine any hiring needs
  • Set an accurate schedule for deliverables
  • Determine an accurate project completion timeline

Resource Capacity = # of Project Team Members X % of Time Team Members are Available to Work

Use Growth KPIs and Go from Good to Gold

With the measurables of project management, you’ll:

  • More quickly and easily scale your agency
  • Increase your business integrity
  • Become more efficient, lean, and mean

Use these top three project management KPIs to keep your project’s on track, within budget, and your clients happy. 
Are you having trouble measuring KPIs and optimizing for growth? Reach out to us today.

How to Achieve Project Management Freedom

What do people say about you when you’re too much into your projects?

Do they think it’s a nightmare working with you on projects?

Well, $hit.

As a founder or a project manager, you may also want to achieve enough freedom for innovation, creativity, and personal judgment by stepping aside from the projects.

But striking the right balance between involvement and flexibility so that your team enjoys working with you (and you get a breather) isn’t easy.

If you can’t wait to get rid of the problems, the setups, the processes, the never-ending communication, I hear you.

Trust me. I understand being tired of the constant need to be involved in the business and the desire to step away from it.

That waiting for the day when you’re no longer putting out fires.

I get it.

But, Juliana, how to achieve that project management freedom?

With the right:

Tools

Equip your business with project management tools that are worth your time and investment.

From project management systems to databases, time tracking software, and communication tools — you need it all to allow users to control their tasks, conversations, and projects better.

Documents

I’ve said this before, and I’m repeating it now: documents and data are the real treasure of your business.

You must centralize all the documents so that everyone can use them without creating further dependencies.

Get a hold of all your decks, videos, client folders/doc management, internal files, sketches, client/vendor contracts, misc servers, etc.

You’ll be one step closer to project management freedom.

Workflows

As for the workflows, gather everything you’ve got to figure out what needs to be created, what can go into standardization, and what into optimization.

To up your game, go by these rules:

  • Too many workflows? Play cleanup. Did you audit your workflow templates and found that you’ve got too many? See if a thing sparks joy. If not, get rid of it so that it doesn’t clog up your system.
  • Not any? Let’s go. And if you don’t have any, or if you’re missing a lot, let’s go and build them.

But know this: Building templates is a team sport — not something you can do all by yourself. Get your team involved.

Trainings

One of the reasons why it is difficult for a lot of people to delegate the project management system and train people is because a lot of it has to do with making decisions.

So, how to train alongside decisions so that you can delegate stuff well?

For external, such as client requests, have a decision tree around them to make decisions quickly.

For internal, create a change board for initiatives. Evaluate the idea, the resources that are necessary for it, the objectives, and the outcomes. Then accept or reject it.

For meetings, optimize them.

Because if you are in meetings all the time and they aren’t even useful, you’re reducing capacity. Don’t do that, my friend. Don’t do that.

 

Performance

Without metrics and people, you just got a lot of pretty stuff.

So, to ensure you achieve project management freedom, reward people based on their performances.

And create some hashtags as you do it.

Something like #beastmode, #awesome, etc.

That way, when you can look for a particular hashtag, and see who has achieved how many, you can be like, “Wow, Jenny has got 15 beast modes in the last month. Let’s incentivize her.”

You can do this to quantify performance, both on the positive and the negative side.

Ninja Your Project Management 

When it comes to project management, make sure that it all works like a lean, mean competitive machine, like a beautiful organism.

Achieve freedom by:

  1. Using the right tools
  2. Centralizing documents
  3. Auditing workflows
  4. Investing in training and making decisions alongside
  5. Measuring performance

Project Management Compass: How to Navigate the Workflow Waters

2.5%

That’s the percentage of companies successfully completing 100% of their projects.

Bummer?

So, what really stops companies from hitting the sweet spot when it comes to project management?

Maybe most of them just suck at the navigation of creating the project management process, a.k.a the project management compass.

So how to manage your workflow better and navigate the workflow waters?

By understanding the workflow cycle.

Brace yourself for some project management success.

Welcome… strategy!

There are few greater joys in the business world than a project well strategized.

Whether you’re a project manager, the founder, the coordinator, or a gladiator who has been brought in to do this — strategizing is the cornerstone of success.

Strategize well to know the who, what, where, when, and how of the projects, the clients, the engagements, the retainers, and everything you can possibly think of.

More power to the plan

Despite its ridiculously ubiquitous influence, planning isn’t given as much thought as it deserves.

Begin your workflow well with checklists, assign people to the tasks, and get the milestones ready.

Pay attention to who’s going to do what

There shouldn’t be any surprises when it comes to accountability.

Deploy the work right. 

And let people know who’s accountable for what.

Empower for high performance

Eh . . . I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news. 

But your failure to empower people to take up tasks means you’re failing at the project management process.

You must aim to empower people to take on their particular tasks and projects and string along with them.

Mark your calendar

Set aside time in the calendar to review the workflow as it’s happening and QA the deliverables.

So yeah, I know you personally may not be queuing the deliverables. But make sure that they are getting queued.

When processes are reviewed well, whether internally by the team or externally by the client, you ensure they don’t clog up production.

Keep up with the workflow

Track your workflow against your timetables, milestones, invoices, and anything that holds significance to your business.

And as you do it, you might as well have to babysit the project. 

That’s particularly true if there are dependencies in a project.

You have to make sure that people are doing what they said they’ll be doing.

Set the priorities straight

Once you feel that your workflow process is deviating the line, don’t forget to reprioritize things.

Whether it’s a client-led delay that’s making it impossible to achieve a deadline and pushing everything else off, or an internal anomaly — always make sure that your priorities are still in order.

Reweighting the projects, including scaling the new ones, is frigging crucial to your PM success.

Hey, what’s the scope again?

It would be great if a fairy workflow mother flew from the sky and set out a superb project scope for you.

But when it comes to rescoping your workflow, you’re on your own.

Remember that projects are kinda perpetually changing entities.

And you know what? 

Whatever it is that you aim to create and what you finally deliver could be drastically different.

Which is why you need to rescope projects as you work to achieve the results. S

o, you’re not left wondering —  what the heck happened?!

What TO DO Next

Frankly, I wouldn’t blame you for getting confused when it comes to navigating the crazy rollercoaster that is the project management process.

Between the umpteen tasks, the goal to create more capacity, and more profitability, things could go a bit haywire. 

So, take the follow action points and ace your project management process like a pro:

  • Strategize
  • Plan
  • Deploy
  • Empower
  • Review (Q/A)
  • Track (Babysit)
  • (Re)prioritize
  • (Re)scope

While you’re at it, check this case study of how one of my clients built a repeatable, scalable process. You can too!

How Do You Project Manage Your Project Management?

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

Ouch!

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

What?

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.

DO IT NOW! 

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

Project Management Checklist for Success [Free Download]

Hire a project manager, they said.

It’s gonna be awesome, they said.

Well, they were wrong.
Deadlines? Consistently missed. There goes another one.
And productivity is lower than a shipwreck.

That leaves two big questions: what’s wrong and how can it be fixed?

What’s wrong is you don’t have systems. Wishing and hoping that projects will magically start to run smoothly all on their own isn’t going to work.

But using the right project management checklist and processes will get your projects off to the races and on to the finish line with minimal hiccups on the way.

Repeat after me:

You 👏 need 👏 systems 👏 to 👏 scale.

All right, so what’s the big system secret to scaling in this particular scenario?

It’s a project checklist template.

Picture it — deadlines consistently hit.
Increased productivity.
Happy PMs and staff.
Is it too good to be true?

No! You just have to put the systems and tools in place to get it and scale.

Ready? Let’s go.

What is Project Management?

Project management is the way your company gets things done. In the words of Project Management Institute, “project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.”

So yeah, systems and tools. Like I was saying.

Anyway, when it works well, project management is the shiny, well-oiled machine you need to get sh$t done. It streamlines your deliverables process, makes projects more successful, and keeps everyone sane.

So, how do you improve your project management process? Take a proactive approach, and watch your agency grow. Here’s how to make better project management happen.

The Project Management Plan Gap

Your business is made up of many different moving pieces.

These include people, processes, products, and more. Left to their own devices, though, these moving pieces are like renegade windup toys running into each other.

Unless you bring some order to your project management process, the chaos will never end.

Clients be like, “Hey! Can you make this small change?”

It sure seems innocent. But it’s the start of the dreaded scope creep *gasp*. Before you can say it’ll cost ya, you end up with too many deliverables to fit into your finite schedule and bandwidth.

Result? A negatively impacted production and delivery line.

Here’s the thing.

If you can’t find a way to make all the moving parts fit together, you will end up with big, expensive, time-consuming project management gaps.

But good news, mate. The fix is in. A checklist will give you streamlined projects. Bust open roadblocks. And standardize processes and workflows across the board. Work smarter, not harder!
Download our free Project Management Checklist now.
Project Management Checklist

The 9-Step Project Management Checklist You Never Knew you Needed

No two projects are the same. So no two checklists will be either. As a general rule, though, here are the five essentials for a comprehensive, scalable, ultra-effective project management checklist:

1. Identify the Outcomes

First things first — identify the project’s goals, objectives, and the outcomes you need to attain.

project management

While you probably covered this during the kickoff meetings, ask yourself and your team the following questions:

  • What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?
  • How are you going to solve it?

These questions are simple. But they’re critically important in defining the project’s core deliverables and determining how you plan to solve the client’s problem.

Plus, these questions help establish a high-level vision of the project. That way, you’ll know which team members to loop in to get everything done.

2. Communicate With Stakeholders

Stakeholders are the people — internal and external — who have a personal interest in the project’s progress and success. Your job is to help meet stakeholder expectations throughout the whole project.

Depending on the situation, stakeholders may be:

  • Clients
  • Consultants
  • Project sponsors
  • Vendors
  • Internal management
  • Department leaders
  • Individuals contributing to the project

A good project management checklist should include a plan for each of the project phases. The checklist should have a plan for meeting and communicating with stakeholders. And it should also include a way for your team to identify and understand stakeholder priorities.

3. Clarify Requirements

The next step on the checklist is to outline all specifications and requirements for a given project. This will depend on the type of project you’re working with.

In general, though, you’ll want to consider a few key points:

  • Success indicators — How will you know whether the project was successful?
  • Tests and specifications — How will tests be administered?
  • Reporting metrics and formats — for both tests and success factors.

Once you’ve clarified requirements, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of your project’s performance and communication plan. This ensures you’re not missing any critical details that could otherwise derail a successful project.

Remember though, no two projects are the same.  Adjust these checklist details accordingly so they fit your project and team. The end goal is a clear vision and path forward.

4. Create a Project Plan

All right, you’ve done your research, outlined the requirements, and gotten your little duckies in a row. Pour yourself a drink and get comfy. It’s time to make a plan.

While most of us tend to think in terms of the project timeline during the planning phase, I recommend not starting with the project schedule.

Here’s why.

Before you can schedule project deliverables, you have to identify what those deliverables are. This is the time to get granular with things like specific steps. Understand the small parts that come together to form your completed project, and outline those milestones first.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how the hell do you expect to get there? Pinpoint your destiny, in this case, deliverables, then plan and schedule them.

5. Budget it all out

Once you’ve finished your project plan, it’s time to think about dollars and cents. At this phase, you’re working with a time-based estimate of what you think the project will cost. Ideally, the project stakeholders will give you a rough estimate to work with.

“But we don’t live in an ideal world!”

I know. The news reminds me everyday. If you don’t have a rough estimate, or your estimate is super rough, here’s what you need to do.

Identify the different elements and resources you need to gather to make the project work. Use that info to create a budget that’s as accurate as possible.

Budgets can be tricky things. Remember, they have both direct and indirect costs. Your budget might include things like labor, travel, digital and hard goods. Include it all.

6. Assign Resources

During this step, you’ll allocate resources to start getting work done. This means assigning tasks to team members and setting milestones.

As you assign tasks, take a few things into account:

  • Each team member’s skills, previous experience, and roles within the company
  • Their availability and bandwidth to take on new projects
  • The ultimate turnaround time and the deadline for the job

In addition to assigning tasks to team members, this is the step where you’ll think about equipment, software, and schedules.

Take a look at all your resources and ensure you have everything on-hand to get the job done. In rare cases, you may need to hire new talent, order more inventory, invest in new software, or take other steps to up your resources in preparation for the project.

7. Build Your Schedule

Congrats and give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve determined what needs to be done and what resources you need to do it.

So what’s next? It’s time to schedule the project accordingly.

Are you using a task management platform like ClickUp or Asana? Cause, you should be. That’ll make it much easier to schedule out projects.

When scheduling, keep these in mind:

  • Start and due dates
  • Estimated time for each project
  • Time tracking functions for each team member
  • Dependencies

Pro Tip:

Use Calendar or Gantt Chart view to keep everything organized, and for more advanced project management, plan for resourcing and capacity. Prevent employee burnout and make sure all the stuffs are distributed amongst team members.

8. Establish a Communication Plan

Prevent project communication from turning into an Abbott and Costello skit. Establish a communication plan next.

During this part of your checklist, you’ll establish expectations surrounding project updates, check-ins, and communication.

Depending on your team and preferences, this could take the form of daily Slack check-ins, weekly meetings, or bi-weekly status updates.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all rule for how frequently you should communicate, you want to make sure it’s enough to keep all the stakeholders and team members involved in the project up-to-date.

This frequency may scale up or down as the project progresses. So don’t be afraid to update accordingly.

9. Watch Your Progress

You’ve put all the plans in place, now it’s time to watch it roll.

If you’re using a project management platform, you can set up features like Critical Path (in ClickUp) or task urgency (in Asana). This will help you keep track of what’s done and what needs to be finished.

No matter how you do it, make sure you have an established process for tracking your team’s progress. It’s the best way to keep things on track and avoid running through your deadlines.

Simple Project Management Starts Here

Your project management process doesn’t have to suck. Instead, focus on:

  • Creating training protocols to increase productivity
  • Filling the project management gap with tools to get on the road to freedom
  • Downloading your brain to break free of the project management hamster wheel

Now you can keep your peeps accountable, protect scope and establish a high performance culture.

That’s it. Promise.

Identifying your project management cracks and knocking them out with these simple 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.

The Ultimate Hack for Improving Client Engagement

Luuuucy… You have some splainin’ to do!!! (Did I just age myself with this reference?)

I’m about to hop on a call with a client that may or may not have done their work for the meeting (ahem).

I ask myself: “Where are they in their business? And what’s on the schedule for today?”

But first, let’s rewind a few months.

I used to track my client engagement on a spreadsheet that I called Actions2Scale (fancy right?) in google drive. It had all the components I needed:

      • Meeting dates
      • What was accomplished during each meeting
      • What the deliverables were
      • Any notes my client or I had

The problem was that as a consultant, there are a lot of tangible worksheets and documents that my clients and I share, and since my average client is with me for about 7 months, this spreadsheet inevitably grew long, confusing and not easily searchable. Not only that, but with the mish-mosh of documents in google drive – we could never find anything quickly!

Since most of my clients are visual thinkers, I thought I would give Trello a shot. And boy am I happy I did! Here’s what it looks like:

ScaleTime Roadmap Trello

1. Creating a Visual Roadmap

The first thing I do with my clients now is create a roadmap with all the modules of our engagement on the first few lists.

Keep in mind that pre-Trello, there was no visual roadmap for the client to know where we were going. No matter how much I listed out the milestones and talked about the direction of the engagement and what we were going to do next, there was NO VISUAL REMINDER.

It was like being on a road trip with my client, who kept innocently asking “are we there yet?” every 5 minutes.

In their defense though, it wasn’t their fault!

The problem was they didn’t know what had already been done, and what was still left to do. For the productivity geeks out there – I implemented some kanban-esque methodology. Fortunately, in Trello when we are done with a topic I can change the color (nifty right?). Take a look:

ScaleTime Trello Program

2. Forget About Client Amnesia

Client amnesia is a common condition in which the client can’t seem to remember the amazing work we’ve done together.

Symptoms include saying things like “I love this system – it literally takes me 2 minutes to do a proposal. Oh, was it you that helped me implement this?”

This used to raise my blood pressure and frustrate me to no end. Now, I just point them to the Trello board as I gleefully put my feet on my desk. After all, it’s a great way to show a historical record of everything that was accomplished. All without saying a single word. Not bad if you ask me!

3. When Clients “Hijack”

This doesn’t happen as much in my practice anymore (thank the lord!), but in the past I had clients take over the session with “emergencies” or what they thought were urgent questions. In other words, “Drop everything and help me now!”

Ever since I started using Trello however, clients can see for themselves when a task moves from this month to next month for example. Suddenly the urge to hijack a session is trumped by the urge to complete what they started.

Tweet this: A client’s urge to hijack a session is trumped by the urge to complete what they started.

It’s a beautiful thing, really. The psychology of wanting to see the white cards turn blue ( labeled complete) and knowing that this particular urgency will be covered in a systematic way puts a cease and desist on wasting time. (Can I get an amen!?)

4. Say Goodbye to Inbox Flooding

With Trello, there is simply no flooding of inboxes with back and forth updates, deliverables, homework, pre-work, or any kind of work really. It’s all in a nice checklist where clients can reference their tasks whenever they want, from anywhere in the world.

I’ve actually had clients text me in their PJ’s just to tell me how much they enjoyed checking a few items from their list.

Do NOT underestimate the need to complete things!

5. Delegating Tasks Has Never Been Easier

My clients can now share their board with their staff to strategize or delegate the work, and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Nuff said.

6. Get Organized!

Out of all the benefits, one of my favorites is never hearing this question: “Where is that document again?”

Whether your documents are located in dropbox, a company server, or google docs, you can link to them inside the topics in Trello. Everything has context and searchability.

Yeah baby!

To sum up, here are all the benefits of using a project management tool to manage your client engagement:

      • Clients have a visual roadmap
      • Client Amnesia cured
      • No more session hijacking
      • Inbox flooding eliminated
      • Easy to delegate tasks to team members
      • Great way to organize documents

So let me ask you… How are YOU tracking your client engagement, and giving your clients direction in the process?

I recommend Trello (obviously), but I’m also open to learning about other options that would incorporate some or all of the concepts I discussed in this article.

I would love to hear from you either way!