3 Tips to Help Designers Use Project Management Software

Right brained learning for left brained software: If your agency is like most, there’s a project manager, a traffic manager and slough of designers that they’re trying to keep organized.  The project manager and the traffic manager are usually left-brain dominant, ie. analytical and organized, while the designers, with their creativity and imagination are right-brain dominant.


Analytical designers want to know how, when, and what steps to take to achieve the predicted result.  They like things organized in squares and boxes.


Artists like to know the why, the big picture, the emotional payoff for something, and want to paint abstracts on the walls.

The challenge comes in getting the free-form artists to organize themselves enough to, if nothing else, enter timesheets in your project management system so that the company can track profits.  This isn’t natural for most artists and many agencies find it a struggle getting creatives to use project management software on a regular basis.

Tips to Get Designers to Do Their Timesheets

  • Take the approach that it might be fun. Turn it into a game. For example: everyone who completes all their timesheets for the day wins a Starbucks card.
  • Tell them the why – but without using analytical numbers.  Why DO they need to complete timesheets?  Other than “so you can get paid” or “so we know how much money the company’s making” (most will know that on a subconscious level but it won’t be a motivator to learn a systemized approach to anything).  Instead, how about: “so the company can buy more swag to show off our brand.” or “ So we can make a fancier advertising campaign to appeal to larger firms.”
  • Make it easy and assure them that it’s a quick action to compliment their work within the company.  Walk them through the process if needed. Refer to icons, images and colours (rather than text and links) for increased comprehension.

Agencies generate profit because of great creative work and great organization at a higher level.  Help your designers understand why using project management software is important to the overall company picture, help them use it in the easiest manner possible, and let them get back to being creative.

Chris Wilson

Founder & CEO

Chris started Function Point over 20 years ago in his basement as a way to help professional service agencies run their businesses more efficiently. Since then he’s grown FP into an international success, working with over 600 agencies from around the world and continues to run the company from the head office in Vancouver, Canada.

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