In the fast-paced world of project management, success is often determined by a well-structured system that guides you from client onboarding to project launch. In this blog post, we’ll take an inside look at an effective project management system. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out, learning from the mistakes and successes of others can be invaluable. So, let’s dive into the three crucial phases of this project management system: Onboarding, Team Assignment, and Workflow.
Onboarding: Setting the Foundation
The journey begins once a deal with the client has been struck, the price is agreed upon, contracts are signed, and the project is a go. Here’s where the first critical steps come into play:
Establishing a clear payment schedule is vital to ensuring everyone is on the same page. In the past, a 50% upfront deposit followed by the remaining 50% upon project delivery was the norm. However, this approach can sometimes lead to complications, especially if clients are slow to respond or provide necessary content.
The solution? Progress billing! Break down payments into 50% upfront, 25% at the 75% project completion mark, and the final 25% upon delivery. This approach safeguards your profit margin and prevents financial stress.
Before diving headfirst into a project, strategic planning sessions with clients are essential. These sessions are divided into a kickoff meeting, where you outline the project’s end result, and a brief review, which follows a week or two later. These sessions help align everyone’s expectations and lay the groundwork for a successful project.
Team Assignment: Building a Dream Team
The next phase involves assembling your project team. The size and structure of your team will vary based on your agency’s scale, but here are the core roles:
Project Manager: The liaison between the team and the client, responsible for managing the team, ensuring they have what they need, and maintaining communication with the client to keep them updated on progress.
Creative Director: Oversees the creative direction of the project, ensuring it aligns with the brief. They also step in to fill gaps and keep things on track.
Fulfillment Team: The individuals responsible for executing the project, from design to coding. They work closely with the project manager to complete tasks.
Workflow: Navigating Project Execution
The final phase revolves around effective workflow management. Tasks and milestones are at the heart of this phase:
Tasks are the building blocks of your project. They should be broken down from the project’s overarching goals and have associated due dates. The project manager collaborates with the team to create a task calendar.
Milestones represent key project checkpoints where it’s essential to meet with the client for feedback and updates. One crucial milestone is before starting the revision cycles.
Staying Out of Revision Cycle Hell
Revision cycles can be a project manager’s nightmare if not managed well. To avoid “revision cycle hell,” it’s vital to:
Compile Feedback: When clients provide feedback during the project, resist the urge to make immediate changes. Instead, compile all feedback in a designated section.
Pre-Revision Check: Before entering the revision cycle, contact the client and review all feedback. Ensure everything aligns with the initial project scope to avoid extra costs.
By following this approach, you not only save time but also keep your clients happy and within budget. This practice benefits both your team and your clients, reducing frustration and ensuring smoother project execution.
A well-structured project management system is the backbone of any successful agency or project. By implementing a clear onboarding process, building an efficient team, and streamlining your workflow, you can minimize errors and stress while maximizing client satisfaction. Remember, the key to success is constant improvement and adaptation, so always be open to feedback and new approaches in your project management journey.