Choosing the right project management tool for your agency

Why you should invest in a project management tool?

Many agencies still use a combination of Excel, WhatsApp, Slack & Email to manage their customer projects. While it's okay to continue using these to manage your client projects while you are just getting started, sooner or later, you will need to invest in a good project management tool for your agency.

Using a project management tool comes with hosts of benefits:

  • It helps create an organized & structured approach to manage your projects
  • To help ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page in terms of deadlines, deliverables, and expectations
  • It helps keeping everyone in your team accountable, including your clients.
  • To keep track of time spent on tasks and projects so you can bill clients more accurately & more.

Post pandemic, most teams are working either remote or in a hybrid manner where your employees & clients are scattered around geographically, sometimes in different time zones.

A good Project management tool helps bring your agency closer. It helps having meaningful & structured collaboration with your team members as well as your clients.

So the question is not "if" you should start using a Project Management tool, it's "when" you should start using one. As a thumb rule, the earlier you start, the sooner you will be able to have a structured approach to managing your customer projects.

How to decide which Project Management tool to use?

The space for Project Management tool is heavily crowded. There are hundreds if not thousand plus companies offering various tools that serve different categories of audience.

Some of the top names are Asana, Monday, Click Up, Basecamp, Notion & Teamwork.

Most of these tools are great for managing internal projects, where you need to have all your team members working on a project in the same place.

As an agency, you need a Project Management tool where you can effectively collaborate with your clients, offer them a delightful experience of working with you, keep your team members & even your clients accountable & gather the project and customer insights throughout the life of the project to ensure your projects are on track, delivered on time & within the specified budget & to measure the customer sentiments.

4 User types in an agency who are most affected by the type of tool you choose for customer project management.

There are 4 major players involved in making any project successful & each of these users have a different goal.

  • Project Manager: Primary goal is to be able to setup the project, invite team members, members of the client & set clear expectations in terms of what is the scope of the project, who is doing what & what are the timelines that needs to be kept in mind to make the project a success.
  • Project Members: Are primarily the agency users who need to know what tasks they need to accomplish, how long they have for it & ensure that they complete their work in time & with quality. They may also need to track time if the project is billed to the customer on time & material basis.
  • Client/ Customer or Stakeholders: Folks who are paying & have hired your agency to get the job done. They don't want to put the efforts to learn your Project Management System. Their primary objective is to ensure the project is on track & to track any KPIs as a direct result of the work done by your agency for them as part of this project (if any)
  • Agency Owners/ Founders/ Account Director/ Account Manager/ VP/ Director responsible for Client Success: Their primary objective is to ensure the customers are happy so they can become a repeat customer & life time value of the customers can be increased by upselling other services from your service stack.

When choosing a Project Management tool that's right for your agency, you need to consider these 4 users & their needs. Let's see what these users expect from an efficient Project Management tool.

What do these 4 user types need?

  1. Project Manager:
    1. Initial project Setup -Being able to setup a new project either from scratch or by using one of the pre-defined templates.
      1. Invite team members as well as client members.
      2. Set up primary Views-Decide if you want to use a List view or Kanban view or Use the Gantt chart to do a high level project plan.
      3. Rules & Automations -Set up Automations to automate repetitive tasks to save time.
      4. Setup budgeting -Set up and keep track of the customer project budgets.
      5. Setup Overview & dashboards -Configure project Dashboard to see the project health in a glance.
      6. Setup timelines & success criteria -Define the start, end date of the projects along with key milestones and their delivery dates.
    2. Project progress tracking -See the list of pending, delayed tasks with the reason of delay so they can unblock team members and keep the projects on track.
    3. Project health tracking - Keep track of overall project health to ensure it's on track & within the budget.
  2. Project Members:
    1. Task Management -Breakdown your large projects into smaller sections and Tasks, assign tasks to one or more members so they know what they need to work on.
    2. Time Tracking -Track time spent against the tasks.
    3. Time Sheet Reporting -Create a weekly/ by weekly time sheet report.
    4. Unblocking users to keep projects on track -collaboration & accountability -Use task comments, mention other users, team & group chat, async video collaboration to leave video messages for better clarity etc.
  3. Customers/ Client/ Stakeholders:
    1. Project Progress -Customers usually want to see the overall project progress to get an understanding whether the projects are on track to meet their business needs.
    2. Project Status Updates -Weekly/ By-Weekly or Monthly project updates.
    3. KPI Tracking -Actual charts and graphs showing the overall project progress & it's ROI.
    4. Easy access-Most customers don't want to put the effort of learning the project management tool your agency decides to implement. This is why the project management tool you choose must have an easy to use Client portal that even non-technical customers can access & understand without having to spend a lot of time learning it.
  4. Agency Owners/ Account Director/ Head of delivery: An agency owner mostly needs answers to the following 3 questions:
    1. How's the projects we are doing for customers going on?
    2. Does any project needs me to intervene?
    3. Are the customers happy with the work we are doing for them? Will they become repeat customers & bring in referrals to generate additional revenue?

Choose a Project Management tool based on your user's needs.

You need to pick a project management tool for your agency based on these needs of different users.

While Asana, Monday, ClickUp are all great tools for managing internal projects, they are not best suited for agencies doing client projects.

Most generic project management tools are created for managing internal work & they don't cater to the needs of these 4 users specifically in an agency.

None of the above tools have

  • A dedicated client portal for your customers
  • Clear distinction between who is an agency user & who is a customer user
  • Granular control over what customers see/ don't see
  • Private chat to ensure parts of your conversations remain internal
  • A status update module to keep all client updates separate from your project tasks. An easy to understand view for your customers where they don't need to learn how to use your project management tool just to see the updates on their projects.

You need a project management tool that is developed specifically for agencies doing client work. This is where we developed Anywhere.

Anywhere, the go to Project Management tool for agencies:

Anywhere is a modern, cloud based Project Management tool created specifically for agencies doing client work/ customer projects.

Some of the benefits of Anywhere for agencies doing client work are:

  • Custom built Project Management Software for client work
  • Get an overview of all active projects from your Dashboard including insights on customer sentiments.
  • Answer questions like: What's the status of that project? What the customer thinks about us? & Will the customer become a repeat customer?
  • Track customer NPS, CSAT & feedback on the dashboard throughout the life of the project.
  • Customers don't become part of your workspace but get access to a dedicated & branded customer portal where you control what views they see.
  • Your customers don't need to put the efforts of learning another PM tool & it works great even with non-technical customers.
  • Easy to share customer updates so the customers can see the updates without the rest of the noise & clutter
  • The customer portal is zero-login i.e. your customers can access it with a click of a link without the need of Sign Up/ Sign In. Create an update, share the link with customers on email, WhatsApp, Slack or anywhere else & your customers see the updates with one click.
  • Customizable project overview shows the health of a project including overall status, number of completed/ pending tasks, overdue & blocked tasks with reason.
  • Smart filter views. Save time by saving commonly use project filters to see filtered tasks with ease.
  • Async text & video collaboration with your team & customers with option of Private Chat. Hide parts of the conversations you don't want your clients to see.
  • One of the best support teams across all other tools with live chat based support with 5 minutes response time.
  • No need to hire an external consultant to setup & learn your workspace. Easy to get started by you, your team & customers alike with different onboarding experience for all.
  • White glove support in onboarding your team and migrating all your existing projects, tasks & customers from Monday to Anywhere without any additional cost. Worth $2240 for free.

Try a 14-day free Anywhere trial today.

Image credit:
Image by jcomp on Freepik

Get an Infographic version of this article

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.