Productivity and Ballet? Tips for Adopting an Agency Management Tool

Nobody likes to feel dumb. I can relate. At 29, I took my first ballet lesson. I did everything wrong: my ribs protruded, my back curved, my arms sagged. It seemed like every other move was a mistake. The biggest mistake I made, though, wasn’t sticking my bum out when I was supposed to tuck it under. It was giving into the fear of looking stupid, which was what kept me for so long from even trying a class.

Implementing new creative project management software is like learning new a new dance. It can make your agency move like music, but first, you might have to leave your comfort zone. That’s why the biggest mistakes advertising agencies make when adopting productivity software involve things they don’t do.

Mistake 1: Not Using It

My colleague Marc wrote a great post about how adopting workflow management software is like joining a gym. It’s not enough to pay the monthly fee; you’ve got to actually use it. Gyms can be scary for people who aren’t familiar with them. All those strange machines. All those well-built people. All those crazy-eyed aerobics instructors. Once you get into the habit of going, though, you’ll usually find the people are quite nice. It even starts to feel like a community.

Just the thought of learning new software – no matter how intuitive it is – gives some people the heebie-jeebies, but sometimes it’s friendlier than you expect, especially if it comes with a training package, which brings me to mistake 2.

Mistake 2: Not Getting Trained

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first hour sharpening the axe.” Adopting workflow management software and getting trained on it is like sharpening the axe. Some people don’t take time for training because they think they’re too busy.

Training lets you take full advantage of the system, which means you’ll spend less time managing your projects, and more time actually completing them. It means investing a little time up front to save a lot of time later. Or, you could just keep hacking away with that dull blade, which brings me to mistake 3.

Mistake 3: Attachment to Old Methods

Yes, it’s fun to be good at things. If you’re good at using Microsoft Word, it might be tempting to create all your estimates with it. If you’re good at Microsoft Excel, you might feel like using it for your schedules. You’ve probably got the hang of email, too, so you might enjoy using it for your client communications. If you’ve always done things a certain way, you might be reluctant to experience the unsteadiness that comes with change, but it’s the only way to grow.

After six weeks of ballet class, I’d stopped walking with the hunch of a desk monkey. I felt stronger. I could feel the music and move with it. I had fun. Sure, there were still times when I felt like a dancing wallaby, but it didn’t matter, because I was where I wanted to be, doing something I’d always wanted to do.

Adopting new creative project management software can be like that. As you move away from old tools and into a new system, you might come face-to-face with the fact that your workflows are perhaps not as graceful as you’d like them to be, but stick with it. Get some training. Before you know it, you’ll be moving beautifully.

This article was contributed by former Function Point team member, Amanda Truscott.

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