Project management and productivity aren’t exactly the most attention getting topics. Blog posts about these things usually don’t get the same amount of views or comments as SEO related content, or marketing/sales related content.
Maybe it’s because a lot of people are still in the beginning stages of growing their business.
Or, maybe it’s because they don’t really understand the importance of process, and building systems to scale their business.
In this post you will learn:
- What Project Management Platform I Recommend
- How To Automate Project Management
- Different Productivity Hacks To Free Your Time
- How To Build Systems with Fulfillment to allow greater scale
- And More
Getting Started with Project Management
How many of you are using email and skype as your primary form of managing projects?
What about bloated and bulky platforms like Basecamp, where you spend more time doing project management than is probably necessary?
See, one of the biggest problems in focusing on project management, is you often spend more time learning the software and inputting tasks for your team than it’s worth.
I remember using Basecamp, and wasting hours each week. I remember using a few other platforms too, with complex features, and time consuming tasks just to be able to stay organized.
Well, eventually I discovered Teamwork for project management and haven’t looked back.
Quick Notes on Teamwork
- There’s a free forever plan for 2 projects, unlimited users.
- The pricing they show on the site is bloated. There’s also a $12/mo plan for 5 projects at once, $24/mo for 15 projects and then you get to the main pricing for higher demands in project quantity.
- If you handle higher end projects, usually one or two at a time, then the free forever plan is perfect.
- Once you finish a project, you “archive” it, and it frees up another project spot.
If you see the pricing on their site, they don’t include the cheaper plans, here are a few of the cheaper plans:
There’s much more to detail, but you can find that out on your own.
For the purpose of this post, the productivity hacks are to be used with Teamwork. It’s possible you can achieve some of these hacks with other platforms, you would just have to figure that out without my help!
Project Management Hack #1 – Creating Task List Templates
One of the worst things about project management, is that you often have to create the same tasks over and over again, for every new project you have.
Whether it’s SEO, or Web Design, chances are you do the same stuff no matter what type of project it is.
With Teamwork you can create task list templates.
For example: Every website design project has certain tasks you need to do before you even start on the site.
Step 1: Create a task list
Step 2: Save your task list as a template
As you can see, if you create a task list, you’re able to save the task list for future projects. You also see the option to add tasks from a previous template you created.
Of course, in my very basic example of 4 tasks, that’s not exactly a huge time saver. Maybe saves a minute per project. However, for a more detailed task list, which you will surely have, it could make a HUGE difference in time saved.
With SEO, the benefits are even greater. Sure, what is required will differ project to project, but no matter what, you’re going to have the same macro tasks to complete.
For the starting web/SEO company that manages 5 projects a month, you can expect time savings of about 12 hours on a yearly basis.
Project Management Hack #2 – Email Compliments Project Management
Okay, so anyone that has ever used project management platforms before, understands a few annoying issues.
1.) Most platforms allow client uploads of files.
That’s a feature, not a problem right? The reality is, most clients aren’t going to be savvy enough to get around the platform. You spend more time telling them how to access their client login, and helping them do something that is supposed to make managing the project easier.
2.) Clients send emails with information and ignore the platform.
If you’re using a platform for your team, then you have to keep track of the emails, create notes in the project management platform, add tasks based on the email contents, save images or files then upload to your PMS (I like that acronym, Project Management System).
That’s a lot of added work. We’re talking hours per week wasted on organization and mundane tasks.
Luckily, when you use Teamwork, there’s an easy solution.
Step 1: Find Your Project Email
Every new project in Teamwork has an associated email address where you can just forward emails a client sends to you. When you forward the email, a new task gets created in the system.
You can actually use different emails per project, it is based on your existing task list. So click on your task list options, click post by email, and you get something like this:
Step 2: Assigning A Task Through Email
The next thing you do, or would want to do, is to assign someone on your team to complete the task.
This is actually very simple.
For example, lets say your client sends you 50 images that he or she wants in a portfolio / photo gallery. You have your VA or one of your workers that normally handle that sort of thing.
You forward the emails with the files attached to your teamwork email address associated with a task list, and in the subject line, include the title of the tasks and you assign the task by using @name in the subject line.
You can even assign priority in the email. Once again, using the subject line and adding !, !!, !!! as symbols of priority. !!! being the highest priority.
The Biggest Benefit of This Feature
If you offer hosting and maintenance, and offer unlimited content changes or additions to a photo gallery, it can be difficult to fulfill those changes unless you have a system in place.
For managing on going changes to client websites after the project is complete, you should set up a new project, title it “YOUR COMPANY NAME Ongoing Changes”
Now, you will want to create a task list, even if it is empty, for each client you have. The title of each task list should be your client’s business name.
Doing this, allows you to send the email with the requested change to the appropriate task list, and assign the task to whoever you want, all without having to even login to your PMS.
Overall – This method can save an agency with 5 projects each month, about 5-7 hours on a monthly basis. Time savings could be even greater assuming a larger base of existing clients and hosting/maintenance plans.
Just a quick note: I like to use evernote to keep track of the task list emails so I can quickly access without having to log into the PMS.
Project Management Hack #3 – Utilize Calendar SMS / Email Reminders
Okay, so maybe this isn’t as related to project management as it could be but it is useful nonetheless.
In Teamwork, you have the option to use a calendar for events that aren’t project related. For example, you could use your calendar to remind you about a meeting with a client, or a reminder to pay your hosting bill if you’re not on automated billing.
You can choose to have reminders sent via email, or via SMS to your smart phone.
The most useful way to use this for projects, is for those offering hosting and maintenance services to their clients. If you’re not offering this, check out NameHero for their reseller plans and get started.
What I’ve always liked to do was to have one of my team members handle all the back ups of sites. Once a month, but there were always other tasks on my mind, and it was hard to plan and schedule these tasks in the middle of other projects nearing deadline.
Having a recurring calendar event for that worker, and sending email reminders and SMS reminders, allowed us to keep everything backed up, plugins updated, and make sure maintenance is done on all the sites. Spend 5 minutes setting up your calendar reminders for the year, and you’re good to go.
SMS reminders work in every country, so it will work even for your outsourcers. Teamwork has written additional information on this if you need help setting it up.
There are many more things I could have mentioned in here, but for the sake of brevity and to make sure everything in here is actionable and useful, I decided not to include other tips.
Anyway, I hope these tips can help out a few of you that are in need of assistance with project management.
Implementing just these 3 project management hacks, will save a lot of time and allow you to start setting up systems and processes that allow you to scale your business.