How Top Draw Uses FP to Avoid Productivity Pitfalls

This article was written by Kimberly Misutka, Project Manager at Top Draw Inc.

When you are a project manager in a digital agency, time is your currency. Time is a way to measure success as well as employee productivity.

More Granular Management of Employee Tasks

Just a few years ago, we were managing projects in bigger tasked chunks per department. Staff had to self-direct on how to accomplish each section of the project, and in the end, the project managers were left with inaccurate data on how we spent the budget. By managing things at a task level, it’s easier for team members on a project to see what tasks are due that week, and quickly prioritize and fit them in. A key part of managing your team’s work this way is communication. At Top Draw, if an employee is about to reach budget for a particular task, they are supposed to check in with the project manager to see if we have wiggle room in the budget.

Managing Timelines

With our previous project management software, whenever there was a delay in a project, changing all my team’s tasks was a major headache. I was usually at work on the weekend to go through our employee’s workload one at a time, keeping track of it all on Excel. One thing we do with Function Point is manage our employee’s tasks within each job’s . This is probably my favourite aspect of the platform because each job’s timeline is so easy to adjust with the ebb and flow of the project. If a client delays a project, you can simply adjust the timeline and estimate for which resource it affects with the click of a button. This then cascades into all the other tasks that have been scheduled.

What are some barriers to productivity that can be solved using a project management software?

  • Lack of constructive feedback
  • Team member burnout

Feedback On Lessons Learned

Our team has regular project debriefs after the launch of a new website to make sure we are giving each other regular constructive feedback. This is also a great learning opportunity to see what we did well as a team and identify areas we can improve.

We also review the ‘estimated’ versus ‘actual’ in the FP financial tab of the job details, and try to understand what caused actuals to go over what we had estimated. This helps us identify risks in future projects. We are able to identify tasks that took longer to complete than anticipated and identify efficiencies by comparing these against other completed jobs.

Preventing Burnout

At Top Draw, we meet with our respective teams once a week and review what’s coming in the week ahead. We use the tasks section to quickly check how many billable hours each team member has been assigned to, whether they have too many overlapping deadlines, or identify if overtime is necessary. Previously, this was also done manually in Excel and it took me 3 hours to do EACH WEEK! Now we just manage it in FP.

Productivity barriers exist within every company. As project managers, we are now able to control potential pitfalls to productivity by monitoring the actual time accrued in a project compared against the original estimate, encouraging constructive feedback, and preventing job burnout by properly scheduling our resources.

Check out the Top Draw case study to see how Function Point helps deliver real-time visibility so that Top Draw can read a timely pulse on project health and workload capacity.

Top Draw Inc. is a web design and online marketing company in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Comprised of pragmatic creatives & practical strategists, our project teams are structured to work collaboratively with our clients. Everyone participates, shares knowledge and contributes to the success of the project. That’s what we call ‘For the Win.’

Find out how FP can help your creative agency by talking with one of our software experts.

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