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Finding a Project Management software for Agencies

Get organized or you are (in a) soup.

Ask any agency team member, ” How is Life?”. Chances are that you would hear the above.

Agencies are crazy maddening places. I do not have data handy. But, I would not be surprised if a global heat map of stress, would highlight agency offices across the world. I may be exaggerating this, but it is the truth. Always-on deadlines, goof-ups, coordination, client emergencies ensure that everything is in a state of turmoil, all the time. Being organized could definitely mellow down the stress rate.

project management software for agencies

In comes, project management software for agencies.

A ‘flexible’ project management software could drastically improve the quality of life of agencies and its team members.

But deciding on a project management software isn’t easy. On the weekend, I spoke to an agency partner running a 75 person strong team that decided to change its existing project management software (a leading software product) to a new age product built specifically for agencies. {‘Built specifically for agencies”, you must be kidding me}. On the last count, there must have been as many agencies in the world, as the number of people, each with their own quirks and requirements.

The title of the best guide to selecting a project management software for agencies might read like this, “The 10,000 + X must-have features in an agency’s project management software“.

Having said so, deciding on an appropriate project management software is key. At Inbound Mantra, we are currently working on 3 different project management software products to determine what makes sense for an agile inbound marketing agency like ours. We are using the following framework to take a logical decision. The emotional people that we are, I do not know if, in the end, the decision is an emotional one. Until that moment, the following framework applies.

Framework to choose project management software for Agencies

The framework is shaped by two key Vectors – Client Deliverable and Agency Imperatives.

Client Deliverable

No client, No agency. Right. Well almost. This is pretty much the scenario, all across.

Client delivery is sacred. Any software product for project management has to institutionalize delivery on client objectives. Period. It is a non-negotiable requirement. Even if such a project management software enforces processes, different from those normally adhered to.

Clients are typically interested in two things – outcomes and/or output, depending on the terms of the engagement. Thus, clients would like to see outcomes, the output of the highest quality in a timely manner. This will keep the clients in good spirits. But, to truly enchant your client, you would like to do what we would like to do – show them how it is done, in a transparent and open manner.

The agency project management software has to enable this enchantment. This could be a real-time project access facility to clients and through periodic reporting dashboards.

From a feature perspective, an email integration is vital to address the communication requirements of (some) clients.

Agency Imperatives

This is a long list, usually derived from three key factors.

  • Animating the team
  • Growth and Scale
  • Resource Loading

Animating the team

The increasing participation of millennials in today’s workforce is a reality. By virtue of their early and continued exposure to technology, their expectations in terms of UI and UX are hygiene. Any software intervention has to address this aspect.

At the same time, the project management software should provide for collaborative learning and working possibilities even amongst team members, not part of any formal project teams

Growth and Scale

While growth is simple to understand, I would like to touch upon scale. As the agency matures, there appears a pattern in all the projects. An agency project management software should not only aid the recognition of this pattern but also replicate it across new projects such allocation of resources happens automatically in an optimal manner.

Resource Loading

Determining optimum resource loading has always been a challenge. Lot has to do with correct measurement. Agency leaders swear by the loading metric. How else would they price their offering to be competitive and at the same time generate respectable margin?

Vector Number 3 – Flexibility

The traditional agency model of fixed retainers for a defined output is undergoing a change. Some critics have rightfully pronounced it dead. The increased client pressure on performance is compelling agencies to reorient. This is also influencing how work is being done, right from campaigns to program management.

In this milieu, it is conditional that any agency project management software provides for enough flexibility to enable any new business orientation that the agencies may take in line with internal and external business environment.

The author Rajagopalan C is a Director of Inbound Mantra, a HubSpot Inbound Marketing Agency. 

Also if you like this read about Our latest & best project management software

Harshendra Singh

Harshendra Singh is a Bachelor of computer Science. He is currently working as a software engineer at Pragmatic Learning Pvt. Lmt. He aspires to make his name in the field of artificial intelligence.

2 Comments
  1. Thanks for sharing this. I like that you pointed out flexibility as one of the keys to project management software nowadays. In an ever-changing world of business, it's important for companies to be able to fit management software to their specific needs to deliver what their customers are looking for.

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