If you feel a shudder when someone utters the phrase “project management,” you’re not alone. Managing projects can be overwhelming, making project kick-off intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
At Onramp, we’ve got a process for project management that helps us stay on top of client deliverables. That’s not to say we’re experts in the subject, flaunting PMP certificates and fawning over Gantt charts. But over the years, we’ve developed real-world expertise, and we know what works and what doesn’t. We even have tips for keeping your project timeline on track, and in budget.
Flexible and organized management is the key to any successful project. Establishing clear goals and approaching planning in a systematic and transparent way helps to move a project along, and eliminates frustration.
Here are three essential tips to get you off to a strong start on your next project:
Right-size your teams: Too many people can lead to inefficiencies. It’s the “too many cooks” conundrum:
opposing opinions and disagreements can derail a project. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, organizes teams
based on how many pizzas can feed them; specifically, teams should be able to be fed on two pizzas
(about 5-7 people). It sounds comical, but the logic is sound. A smaller team can be more effective in leading
the project to success. Also, appoint one person to enforce deadlines—even if that means having to
push the CEO to complete a task —and provide clear, focused updates.
Start small and expand: There are many choices when it comes to planning tools—don’t feel you have to
start with the most robust of them. Instead, think scale. A basic tool such as a Google Spreadsheet
provides transparency regarding status and updates to stakeholders. Other tools to consider include:
- Trello: This free tool allows for you to set up projects, group them by deliverables, and assign them to users. It’s a great place to start when formalizing project management in your organization, and is one we utilize at Onramp for our clients to see where a project stands.
- Intervals: We use Intervals for internal project management and tracking. Users can enter time, and set up clients and projects. It even syncs with many invoicing/ accounting tools for ease of billing. And, we can expand our use to other Intervals tools as we onboard new clients.
- JIRA Software: While this tool is best for software projects and the technical side of website development, you can also use it for project tracking. Agile reporting provides access to project information in real time, and Jira excels at this. While Jira may be a bit more than you need in your organization, it’s a good example of the features available in these tools that can be considered in the future.
There are many great project management platforms out there like BaseCamp, Asana and LiquidPlanner,
just to name a few. Check out several different tools to see which one feels like the best fit for your team
and your current needs.
Streamline processes with third parties: Partnering with a company, contractor or freelancer shouldn’t be
a barrier to project management, even if they have their own tools in place. Although Onramp uses tools for
internal and external project management internally, we also use our clients’ processes. Having a
conversation at project kick-off regarding project tracking helps determine which tools will work best for that
particular project. If you prefer to use your own, most tools allow you to set limits around third-party access
Remember: project management solutions and processes are key to making projects move through your company in an organized manner, but they’re not one-size-fits all. You may have to try out a few before you find what works well for you.
If you have a marketing or design project in mind, drop us a line and let’s chat about your needs!