You might have heard the word "project management" a few times in recent years, and you may have even tried to find a tool that can help you with your projects. However, it is essential to understand why generic project management tools are unsuitable for your client work or customer projects.
The apparent problem with generic project management solutions
It is essential to know that generic tools are not customized for your business or industry. This means they offer more than you need, increasing the learning curve and time for adoption by you and your team.
When using a generic tool, there's no guarantee that it will be able to meet all of your needs as quickly as possible and if something goes wrong with it (such as a bug), there's no opportunity for support from an actual expert who can help troubleshoot issues until they're resolved.
The workflow for managing Internal projects is different than the one needed for customer projects.
Managing an internal project is different than managing a client project. Internal projects tend to have informal communication, often relaxed timelines & a variable budget. However, a client project can have a strict schedule, budget & requirements.
Moreover, some customers want to be a part of your project management process, adding them to the same workspace where your team is managing projects for them is not ideal.
- You probably don't want your customers to see all project data.
- There are parts of communication in the project that is only intended for your internal teams working on it.
- Having a customer become part of the same workspace makes it a little more formal & your teams lose the internal informality.
- Not every customer would invest the same effort in learning a project management software as your internal team will.
- Most customers only care about a timely update from your teams. They really don't want to track every single task associated with their projects.
It is crucial to have good communication between your clients and yourself. Communication is the key to success, as it helps ensure that both parties are on the same page and understand what needs to be done. When there's no effective communication going on, it can lead to misunderstandings, which will ultimately cause problems for both parties involved in the project. There are several ways through which you can ensure this happens:
- A generic project management software doesn't offer specific ways to keep your customers updated. The primary workaround is to invite them to the same workspace as your team, which raises the above mentioned issues.
- Using external communication mediums such as Email/ Slack/ Zoom/ MS teams etc., makes the communication scattered, which makes it really difficult to keep a record & track of everything that has been discussed with your customers related to a project. This dilutes accountability.
Client Work requires a tool that covers all aspects of the project lifecycle related to customer projects
Client work requires a tool that covers all aspects of the project lifecycle. They have no way to communicate with clients or other stakeholders in real time, which makes it difficult for teams to collaborate effectively on complex projects.
A Project Management tool that caters explicitly to customer projects needs to have the following elements.
- Overview=> Project overview for project lead/ manager to quickly see where they are with their project. What are some of the tasks where the team needs help, are they stuck on some tasks & if yes, why? This ensures that your Project managers can quickly help unblock them, ensuring the projects remain on track.
- Task Management => The requirements from any project must be broken down into actionable tasks assigned to one or more team members. A flexible task management solution helps your team members know exactly what they need to do, by when & what's the acceptance criteria for a given requirement.
- Calendar=> Any modern PM tool needs a visual calendar to help teams ensure they can see the upcoming milestones & keep the project on track. The calendar also helps them manage their time well.
- Time tracking => At times the projects are priced based on the number of hours of effort spent on it by your team; any good PM tool should have time tracking & reporting capabilities for this reason.
- Docs=> Be it requirements, a Scope document to decide what's in the project's scope & what's not, or any other documents related to the project should be available in the same workspace.
- Files=> Almost all projects require an exchange of files between team members & customers. A file management tool baked into your projects and helps keep all project-related files in one place.
- Customer Portal => This is essential for any project management software that you use for managing client work. Your customers are not interested in learning how to use your project management software. They don't have time to set up & remember one more set of credentials just for this project. All they need is away to see the updates on significant milestones related to their project that your team is doing for them & a way to communicate with you so they can help answer any questions you have, quickly raise any questions, or discuss new ideas that they have.
While there are many project management software available out there that you can use to manage your client work or customer projects, they pose their own challenges because they were not developed keeping client work in mind.
With Anywhere, we are trying to solve this. Anywhere allows you to manage your client work/ customer projects efficiently and end to end with all the components discussed above. Anywhere offers customized views for all 3 major stakeholders of any customer project.
Agency Owner : As an agency owner, you have visibility across all your customer projects, so you can see where exactly each of your customer projects is & which one (if any) needs your urgent attention.
Project Managers : Your project managers see their own Project Overview that answers questions like which tasks are delayed or stuck & which need their urgent attention to keep the projects on track.
Customers : Finally, Your customers get a dedicated customer portal where they can see the overall progress of their projects & at the same time, communicate with you right from the same portal.
Register for a demo to get your free trial today.
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