Planning a project for a new client can be a difficult task for your agency. Too much detail can mean you’re committing to more work than is manageable, and too little detail can mean your agency team struggles to understand exactly what is required, and by when.
Today I’m looking at the biggest mistake that digital agencies make with their project planning, and how your agency can simplify the process using good resource management practices.
The #1 Mistake Agencies Make with their Project Planning
The biggest mistake that digital agencies make with their project planning is going too in-depth with their plans, laying out all the individual tasks that will be completed as part of the project. For this, many agencies rely on Gantt charts (or similar waterfall project management methods) for planning out their projects in a linear, highly visual way.
However, this is a very complex way to do project planning. Because Gantt charts are so in-depth and prescriptive, they quickly become irrelevant once a project gets underway, and need changing to turn the project concept into a reality.
How Resource Management Can Help to Simplify Project Planning
Using a resource management tool to plan your agency’s next project can help simplify the project planning process. Instead of focusing on the work to be done, in terms of precise tasks or milestones, you shift the focus onto the key resources required to successfully complete the project.
Get a High-level Overview
A resource management tool provides you with an overview of agency activity: this sets it apart from a project management tool which goes into much more detail about individual tasks.
Giving you at-a-glance insight to your existing agency projects and deadlines means you can plan out a feasible timeline and scope for your new project, taking into account other demands on your team’s time.
Understand the Human Constraints on Your Project
Most project plans focus on the tasks and milestones that your agency employees need to complete during the project. However, the most important factor that affects the success of a project is making sure you have the right number of appropriately skilled people available to work on the project.
A resource management tool will give you that insight by helping you understand the human constraints that are limiting your project. With a resource management tool, you can see which of your team members are working on what project, so you can work out who will be available to work on your new project during its proposed timelines.
You can also match skills to your employees, so you can identify which skills will be needed to complete this project, and work out how to ensure these team members are available when you need them to work on your new project.
Centralise Information Relating to the Project
A resource management tool provides you with a central information hub to help you understand the constraints of this project. You can monitor your agency’s three key resources – budget, time and people – in one place, rather than having to cross-refer between calendars, budgeting tools, time-tracking tools and project management tools in order to plan and schedule your upcoming project.
This makes it much simpler for agency owners to check whether projects are on-track and on-budget, with one place to go for this insight, as well as making it simpler to plan the project in the first place.