Prep Your fp. Project Management Software For 2015

It’s almost 2015 and it seems like every year goes by faster. It’s easy to let the holidays sneak up on you. November 1st comes around and I catch myself saying, “I can’t believe stores have Christmas decorations up already!” Really Marc? You can’t believe it? That’s funny because they go up at the same damn time every year.

Then December 1st comes around and I’m thinking, “I have 3 weeks to shop for presents, that’s lots of time”. Spoiler alert…it never is. I’m always the guy lining up at the store on December 24th. Unsurprisingly, I’m never alone in that line. It seems like many of us have similar problems when preparing for the holidays.

Many agencies that I work with also have similar problems when preparing for this time of year. January 1st is a great time to have your project management software cleaned up. It’s refreshing to get rid of the clutter. But you shouldn’t look at January 1st as the day that you start cleaning. January 1st should be the day that you have it all done by. If you take the time to clean things up before January 1st, it will be easier to practice good habits moving forward. Here are a few things you should do:

  • Review your list of active clients and mark any that you’re no longer working with as inactive.
  • Pull up a list of all tasks that still have an active status (Assigned or In Progress in fp.) and mark any that are no longer being worked on as Completed.
  • Pull up a list of all your estimates that are still pending (In Review or Submitted in fp.) and mark any that will never go forward as Declined. If you find any estimates that have open jobs but are still in pending status, mark them as Approved.
  • Pull up a list of all your active jobs by selecting “Find Active” in fp. Make sure that all of their statuses are accurate and close any jobs that have been completed.
  • Review your job statuses. Do you still use all of your custom statuses? If not, mark any unused statuses inactive in the admin section.
  • Review your unbilled expenses. Although I bet this isn’t a problem for many agencies, it’s still good practice to review. If you happen to find some old ones, then congratulations, you just found money.
  • Do a review of your agency’s timesheets. Run some reports and look for holes. Do you have any staff that are repeat offenders for missing timesheets? It might not be worth it to ask them to fill out all of the missing timesheets for the year, but January 1st is a great time to speak with your staff about developing good habits for tracking their time.
  • Review your unpaid invoices. Did you miss any? Probably not, but now’s a good time to make sure.
  • Review your rate categories. Do you need all of them? I’ve worked with a lot of agencies that have long lists of rate categories with many that are seldom used. Now is a perfect time to clean up your rates. Please, get rid of any rates that you don’t actually need. Consolidate as much as possible. Check out this blog for more info on rates and billing: Are You Charging Enough at Your Agency
  • Review your alerts. Do you receive too many? Do you not receive any at all? Make sure that the alerts you get are the ones you need.
  • Setup PTO (Paid Time Off) tasks. These are tasks assigned to every staff that are due on the last day of the year (Dec 31, 2015 in this case) and have estimated hours equal to the amount of paid time off a staff person is entitled to in the year.
  • Review your custom dashboards. Do you have custom dashboards that you never look at? Delete them. Make new ones. Experiment and see what works for you.

It’s tough to find the time to accomplish these things during the holiday season. I know this. However, it’s still the best time to do it. Your New Year’s resolution shouldn’t be to clean up your project management software, it should be to keep it clean. Put in the legwork now and you’ll be glad that you did.

Check out this whitepaper from the American Association of Advertising Agencies for additional tips to consider when developing a project management structure for your agency:

agency project management

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