A key competency that digital design agencies have is the creativity of your people. When your creativity and ability to come up with great design ideas is all you have to sell, you don’t want to do anything that could jeopardize your team’s ability to innovate.
However, for your agency to continue growing successfully, it’s essential to put some kind of framework around that creativity so you can harness it reliably, deploy it judiciously and, most importantly, get paid appropriately for the services you provide.
The more creative your team is, the more important it is to provide them with a framework to help get the best value from their time. You don’t want to stymie their ability to think freely and broadly; after all, that’s what makes them most valuable to your business. But, you also need to ensure they’re not wasting their time on the wrong things.
This is where a centralized project management software solution can help. These solutions bring all your project-related information into a single place, letting you manage projects more effectively, allocate resources more efficiently, and run your agency more profitably.
There are five improvements that centralized project management software can help you achieve at your digital design agency:
1. Avoid reinventing the wheel
One of the key ways to run a profitable agency is to ensure all staff members are working as efficiently as possible. When creatives are reinventing the wheel with every project, you miss out on the economies of scale that come with repeatable processes.
By having a record of workflows and procedures that can be repeated with similar projects, your creative team can be freed up to focus their energies on coming up with unique ideas for clients.
2. Manage deadlines effectively
Creativity can’t be rushed but, when there’s a deadline to hit, it’s important to make every minute count. If you have a team of people working on one project, it’s easy for the details to be overlooked. A centralized project management solution can help ensure everyone is on the same page, working towards the same deadlines.
By tracking projects more closely, breaking them down into their component parts and assigning responsibilities to appropriate team members, you can make sure that everyone in the agency is focusing their talents on where they’re most useful.
3. Price your projects appropriately
Once your agency has started growing, you are likely to have a good idea of how much to charge for different types of projects. However, if you’re basing your pricing on gut feel, estimates from designers, and a cursory glance at previous quotes for similar jobs, you could be failing to account for all the costs involved. You could be underquoting for jobs only to find yourself regularly over-servicing your clients. And that’s no way for a growing agency to be profitable.
Instead, you need to make sure that every component of the job is accounted for and priced to ensure profitability. That means you need a solution that can manage all of this for you so that you don’t have to guess what to charge a client.
A centralized project management solution can track every element of a job and compare the original estimate to the actual cost of completing the job. That way, even if you do underestimate the cost of a job, the system will help you make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.
4. Manage your team’s capacity more efficiently
When all you have to sell is your team’s time, you need to make sure you’re managing that time effectively. You don’t want team members sitting idle and, equally, you don’t want some team members working late into the night for prolonged periods, risking burnout and fatigue.
Finding the ideal balance of keeping the team busy without overwhelming your people can be tough. Add into this the need to balance the cost of your staff with the income they can generate, and the equation becomes even more complex.
A centralized project management solution can help you see at a glance how much capacity your team has to take on new projects, where your resources should be allocated, and what rates you should be charging.
5. Unleash your team’s creativity
When project management is done right, it creates an environment where each member of the team can contribute according to their skills, talents and preferences. In agencies where time is spent putting out fires and no one knows who is responsible for which elements of a project, it can be almost impossible for creative team members to do what they do best. Instead, they find themselves spending time trying to figure out budgets, chase quotes from third-party suppliers, or simply waiting for someone else to complete a part of the project so they can start their own portion.
In agencies that use centralized project management software, this isn’t an issue. The solution brings the necessary structure to the project, making it clear what needs to happen and when, and whom is responsible for which elements. This leaves your creative talent to focus on coming up with killer ideas for your clients.
How to achieve these benefits
When considering a centralized project management software solution, it’s crucial for digital design agencies to be aware that there are solutions available that can suit their needs very closely. It’s important to choose a solution designed specifically for creative agencies. To find out how Function Point’s centralized project management solution can help your digital design agency continue to grow effectively, request a free demo or download our fact sheet today.