A couple of months ago, I met with Client Services and Project Management (PM) to discuss the consideration of potential PM tools that would help improve efficiency and efficacy of the agency-client relationship that is borne and concreted upon as we work on our our client projects.
I started by identifying the pain points that client services and project management felt existed throughout the life cycle of a project; these included:
1] Documentation and version control between client-agency too-ing and fro-ing
2] Multiple rounds of feedback and drip-fed feedback
3] Sign off to allow progression from one project stage to the next – internal and external
4] Expectation management as a consequence of visuals/scamps/ideas
5] Reference back to verbal conversations/feedback/requirements – he said, she said syndrome
6] Awareness and sensitivity of client reputation
Due to the nature of agencies and the way in which they work, our needs are different from the needs of larger, somewhat corporate companies who tend to use massive solutions such asMicrosoft Project, Matchware MindView, Project Kickstart, RationalPlan Multi Project and Basecamp.
But based on the pain points identified, I had a trawl and found a collection of PM tools currently on the market that may be suitable for an agency such as ours; these include:
1] PBworks Introduces Agency Edition for Advertising, PR, Marketing, and Design Agencies
“Agencies can use PBworks Agency Edition to:
Create a social environment for internal teams and external clients to collaborate more creatively
Manage complex client projects by coordinating activities and providing greater transparency to clients and management
Connect a geographically distributed team with shared online workspaces, integrated chat, and web-based conference calling
Enable a repeatable creative process by standardizing processes and workflows
Maintain a searchable knowledgebase of past work and best practice
Control access and privacy settings on per page/file/video basis and change them as needed during the course of the project”
“…understands the creative firm. Not that we walk around the office without our shoes on kind of understanding. No. More like understanding that traffic wants seamless web-based project management, account service needs templates for quicker job setups, accounting longs for easy-to-find electronic statements and creatives, well, they just need to do their web-based timesheets and expense reports. And that’s why we developed Workamajig®, the leading web-based project management software for the creative design industry. By the way, did we mention we were 100% Mac Friendly?
What is it?
As web-based job tracking and integrated project management software, Workamajig® streamlines entire ad agencies and creative firms, from new business and sales leads to staffing and creative execution, and all the way through a project’s cycle to accounting and financial reporting. It makes your business make sense.
Who is it for?
Anyone that does anything in a creative ad agency or creative firm, in-house marketing department or group. Or even an aggregate, for those that are fancy or in reach of a thesaurus. Since Workamajig® is customizable for different companies and those companies different employees and tasks, it becomes the perfect project management solution.”
3] Designed for the advertising, interactive and design industries, Streamtime
“…enables complete traffic and production management, signaling an end to job bags and hand-generated invoices and timesheets.
From the accounts team to designers, both at their desk and, using Streamtime’s iPhone application, on the road, Streamtime maximises workflow, taking productivity and creativity to new levels…”
4] Synergist has been developed as a complete job bag system for creative agencies
“Whether you’re a design agency, advertising agency, pr agency or full service agency, Synergist offers the functionality you need in a modern interface that can be accessed by Mac, PC or Web Browser.
Synergist is a proven agency software solution for improving the efficiency with which you handle all day to day activities including enquiries, estimating, timesheets, purchasing, expenses, billing and reporting. In addition the CRM functionality automates the creation and capture of all client communications including email, giving you a single repository for all job / client related information.
Our experience in the design agency / marcoms environment goes back over 15 years giving us extensive knowledge of agency software implementations. Client feedback from over 10,000 creative users ensures Synergist has the proven features you require to manage your jobs efficiently, whilst leaving you time to focus on creativity. “
5] Useful PM tools lists