Written by Vesna Savic, Community Manager at PopArt Studio
Here at PopArt Studio, a full-service digital agency from Novi Sad, we handle a lot of complex projects that require a lot of planning and extensive client collaboration. However, that’s not always easy, especially for our project managers. At least, it wasn't until we discovered ActiveCollab.
Managing projects takes a lot of work
Our workflow has remained the same since we started the agency in 2009. In the beginning, it worked great but once we started having more and more clients, our project managers had trouble keeping everything together:
Here’s how our typical process looked like:
- clients call our project managers
- we hold a meeting and give an offer
- after the client agrees, we delegate tasks to our staff
- clients provide feedback as the project goes along
- we make the changes
- our manager takes notes of all everything that needs to be tested, changed, or rearranged
Our team consists of a project manager, several web designers, a front-end developer, and a couple of backend developers. As our business grew, our project managers had to learn how to cope with extra workload as well how to mediate between clients and employees.
Since our team extensively collaborated with the client’s - and there was a lot of people involved - our project managers had to cope with dozens of different opinions. After each phase, they had to ask for approval each time there was a change.
Some solutions we tried
In digital agencies, a lot of processes happen simultaneously. In order to keep everything on the right track, having a project management software is a must.
At first, we used OneNote for making notes, but our files and project documentation ended up all over the place.
We also tried Basecamp and Redmine, but they haven’t met our expectations. They might’ve worked if we had a much smaller team, but ours was constantly growing. We needed a solution that actually works - something powerful, yet simple.
One day, we discovered ActiveCollab and it was exactly what we needed.
How ActiveCollab improved our workflow
What first appealed to us as designers were ActiveCollab’s modern design and user-friendly layout. After that, we started to explore all the features it offered.
ActiveCollab is packed with useful tools which enabled us to:
- Assign tasks quickly
- Communicate better as a team as well as with clients and their team
- Get regular reports about finances and due assignments
- Track time and expenses to make sure we don’t go over budget
- Know what’s ahead thanks to daily reminders and a calendar
- Get instant feedback from the clients
- Find the right task by using filters
All these features helped us improve our client communication and made our project manager’s life much easier.
By tracking how tasks are assigned and to whom, our project manager can determine the workload of each team members so no one is overworked. They can also check which tasks are assigned to which person.
Our project manager no longer had to search for information by going through his email inbox or notebook. With ActiveCollab, he could easily keep track of the project’s time frames and deadlines, and keep the client updated.
Thanks to ActiveCollab, we no longer have to worry about someone forgetting something, getting confused, and wasting time on unnecessary task. ActiveCollab proved to be a great tool that helped us create and maintain processes that will help us work better in years to come.