Managing Web Design Projects – Process, Software and More

Managing multiple client projects can be difficult for even the most experienced project manager. When a design project starts, the manager doesn’t only concentrate on the aesthetic, there are various other factors that affect the success of the projects—project planning, resource allocation, scheduling, balancing budgets, etc. While many aspects of project management may seem complex, understanding of the fundamentals can make large difference to  project’s profitability. Because of this, it’s vital you head into your client work armed with the knowledge and tools to keep things on track.

To help identify project management tips that can keep your team on track, check out this guide and establish a solid foundation for managing your next client project.

Documenting

It is critical to document business objectives and requirements in a detailed scoping document. In-experienced project managers might omit this step, which can lead to costly project budgeting and schedule overruns. Do adequate documentation and planning up front to mitigate execution risks.

It’s crucial to involve everyone from designers, copywriters and creative directors to internal or external clients, so you don’t leave out parts of the process that you simply don’t know about. Include every single step and avoid the temptation to document the process you wish you had.

However, note that “highly comprehensive” does not always mean better. Keeping every task, irrespective of whether they are large or small, in a project plan results in micromanagement issues. Instead, build a plan to manage the tasks at a higher level and provide the resources detailed task checklists that they can self-manage and give you the rolled-up status for your schedule.

A project management tool such as TeamWave can be used to store the document via file manager to ensure that the all the team members are on the same page and it is easily accessible for quick reference.

Starting off correctly

With a sufficiently detailed document, it should be easy to transition into kicking off the project with your team. According to the finalized project plan, carry out the following activities.

  1. Breakdown of tasks. Include all the steps to get from starting point to finishing point. For example, your website design project can have several high level task groups like information architecture, wireframe, graphics, conversion to HTML/CSS, etc.

    Each of these steps should have an established process. For example, IA can involve different steps like business intent, user intent, content organisation, relationship and navigation. In these cases easy to use PM tools like TeamWave would allow you to create the task groups and individual tasks.teamwave-projects

  2. Team roles. Now that you have broken down the tasks into smaller tasks, determine who on your team will do what. Include internal QA tasks that precede sending deliverables to the client for approval. Also be sure to include client tasks, such as reviewing and approving initial mock ups.

  3. Due Dates. Your project plan should include deadlines for you and the client, broken down for each deliverable.

  4. Dependencies. Make sure your team knows what pieces depend on other pieces to be finished before they can be implemented, so all of the different parts can come together smoothly.

Communicating updates and conducting demos

Always start with internal communication, i.e., conduct short internal meetings for updates and finalize next steps to keep the complex project moving.

Next step is communication with your client as it is critical throughout each project cycle. Inform the client and stakeholders about the expectations from them in order to keep the project moving along to meet the deadline. Then, during the course of the project, send reminders to the client of upcoming milestones. Whenever there is any delay or bottleneck, communicate the details to the client immediately.

It’s also a good idea to give clients/stakeholders product demos as you progress. Demos allow decision makers to see for themselves if the project seems on track, ahead of schedule or behind schedule.

These type of meetings can be swiftly scheduled and the members can be notified via TeamWave’s event scheduling feature — from one-off meetings to daily stand up meetings.

Collaboration and feedback

Your project management application should have the functionality to invite the clients into the project easily so that certain deliverables can be shared with clients for feedback. There must be provision to keep specific tasks private in the project that would be only visible to the internal team.

Your team members  should also be able to comment on the tasks to provide inputs and brainstorm by creating messages with respect to the project.

TeamWave Discussion Board
TeamWave Discussion Board

Billing

If you’re billing the client by milestones then be sure to add the milestones on the project calendar so that your invoices get regularly cleared. On the other hand, if you are charging clients on the basis of the number of hours, then make sure that the team members are regularly logging the billable hours.

Time logging in TeamWave

TeamWave’s time log feature lets you track time and reporting functionality allows you to quickly download the time spent on various tasks (which can be imported to invoicing app). Also, the milestone scheduler reminds you when the timeline approaches the pre-specified date.

Contingency plan

When managing deadlines and projects, consider potential resource and technology challenges that might emerge. Ensure that there is time allocated for undiscovered work and develop a contingency plan for it. Lots of projects assume an ideal path, but do not plan for unanticipated and undiscovered work, which is bound to happen.

Similarly, it’s important to keep an eye out for potential conflicts that could interfere with your project, such as other projects requiring your resources. Learn how team members can handle at once, because giving someone more than they can handle will jeopardise deadlines.

Going beyond the norm

While generic project management apps allow you take care of the above-mentioned factors in some way, the need of the hour is to approach project management in a holistic manner. Essentially, project management should be considered as an integral part of other business functions like CRM and HRMS. For example, while starting a project you would ideally want to transfer some of the crucial files (including requirement documents) that were associated with the deal while your sales team was pursuing the client. Apart from that if there are opportunities for up-selling or cross-selling, then it is best to keep the deal in CRM app linked with the project. This will keep your sales team and delivery team on the same page minimizing any possibility of missed opportunities for revenue generation. Moving to the people management aspect, there is a close connection with HRMS — you would want to track the feedback given by the client for a team member along with adherence to the timeline while completing different tasks. This can be highly useful during the performance appraisal period.

This is where TeamWave comes into the play; you not only get all the benefits of a project management app via an intuitive UI and power-packed features, but also get to use CRM and HRMS app via native integration (owing to the unified nature of the platform). In terms of pricing, the whole platform including the three apps costs $3 per user per month in case of annual subscription which is a fraction of other stand alone project management apps.

Takeaway

Sometimes managing a web design project can be too overwhelming. But, you can keep everything streamlined by following a process and selecting the correct project management app. Start with clear expectations, do the preparation, keep communicating, and stay focused, and your projects will get completed one milestone at a time.


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Basecamp vs Asana

Project management software is a must for any process-driven company and two of the most popular tools in this space are Asana and Basecamp: they help your team get organized with task groups, progress tracking, and facilitate collaboration. While both Asana & Basecamp offer an exceptional user-experience, they have not been built with an holistic approach to help small businesses.

TeamWave is a complete platform to manage &  streamline everything (including projects) in your company: Project Management, CRM & HR. Moreover, TeamWave is at par with other popular tools in terms of usability and features.

Here is a detailed comparison of Asana, Basecamp & TeamWave:

1. Features

All the apps provide similar features – task management, reporting, document management and messaging. However, there is big difference in implementation and especially user interface of Asana when compared with TeamWave and Basecamp.

Client/Vandor Collaboration

Working with third party users is one of the crucial aspects of project management. In case of Basecamp and Asana, you can add client users by inviting client to your projects (requires multiple steps) which means you are required to mange the users as well. For example, in case your client’s employee leaves their organization, you’d have to delete the user.

TeamWave has a specialised workflow for vendor/client collaboration. Just invite just one person from your client’s team and they will be able to independently add/manage their entire team, from an independant TeamWave account with all the features. There is no need for you to manage their employees!

Time Tracking

TeamWave offers time logging as an out-of-the-box feature. You can log time spent on each task and compare that with the estimated time. Download the time log report with a few clicks (individual projects/all the projects) and upload it to any invoicing app.

But, in case of Asana and Basecamp you need to depend on third-party integrations with apps such as Everhour and Hubstaff to achieve the same functionality.

Reporting

Both Basecamp and Asana are limited in terms of reporting. Asana gives you one type of project progress chart and  Basecamp also follows the suite requiring multiple steps for visualizing and generating reports. For example, if you want to see the work load of a team member you’ll have to click on ‘Reports’, search the team member and click on ‘Run a new report’.

Note that both of them don’t have holistic view of all the team members, projects and time logs.

TeamWave’s project reporting gives you quick insights by allowing you to access pre-built reports and create custom reports as well. Here are some of the most important questions you can answer instantly:

– Which project is in a critical state with respect to overdue and total tasks?

– Which project is contributing the most to the total number of overdue tasks across all the projects?

– Which project has been continuously contributing more to the billable time log?

– Which user has maximum work load? Who has the most number of overdue tasks?

– Whether the time logged by team members has been consistently increasing or decreasing?

You can also create custom reports related to time log by selecting billable/non-billable entry, organisations, users and projects.

Third-party integration

Both Asana and Basecamp offer sizeable number of integrations ranging from reporting and time tracking to file sharing and communication. However, the primary reason behind these integrations is the lack of comprehensive functionalities that an all-in-one app for small business should provide out-of-the-box.

With TeamWave, although you have the native and tight integration of other essential apps like HR and CRM with Project Management, there are other popular third-party integrations such as Slack, Google Drive, Zapier, MailChimp. Here are some of the benefits of the application suite:

  • Sales and Projects: Important files can be copied from deals to projects (example: requirement document) with a few clicks. Comes in handy when you commence project delivery after winning a deal.
  • Project and HR: Project admin can keep track of the performance of the employees along with appreciation received from clients and log them as private notes in the HR app. During appraisal these notes can be reviewed for better decision making.

Also, the well-documented API allows you to build seamless integration with your business process.

Usability

While Basecamp has been generally known for its simplicity, Asana users traditionally experience steep learning curve. In fact, sometimes with the growth of the company users find Basecamp over simplified for a project management app. With TeamWave, the balance between usability and comprehensiveness of workflow/feature has been carefully crafted. It essentially provides the ease of use of Basecamp while delivering the power-packed features of Asana — the best of both worlds. 

teamwave-projects
TeamWave’s Project Management App

2. Pricing

Basecamp comes with one package ($99 per month) and a free trial for 30 days. Asana’s ’Premium’ package starts at $9.99 per user per month and offers unlimited dashboards, advanced search, custom fields, private team and project. They also have ‘Enterprise’ package which provides advanced admin controls, customized UI to match your branding and same day customer support.

TeamWave has straightforward pricing – $3 per user per month (paid annually). Moreover all the plans get all the features and apps – absolutely no restriction. Coming to the crux of the topic, let’s see how pricing differs for a company of 20 people across the three apps.

tw basecamp vs asana

3. Customer Support

Both Asana and Basecamp provide support via email and ticketing system. In case of Asana, same day response is only available with enterprise tier. But, at TeamWave, we’re just a chat window away—everyone gets priority support. Send us a message whenever you’re in need of some clarification or facing difficulty. You can also log support ticket, browse our knowledge base and watch video tutorials.

Over to you

To sum up, TeamWave offers a unified platform of three essential apps (Projects, CRM and HR) required to run a small business with right balance of ease of use and robustness of features at much less price. Evaluate the options to the fullest potential before finalizing the app that will  drive productivity and bottom line of your business.


teamwave-project-crm-hr

Integrated CRM and Project Management Software – Benefits of a Unified System

Every “services” business that is required to manage client projects, must have a holistic view of customer lifecycle. Important aspects include: tracking leads, managing sales activities, creating new projects and managing existing deliverables associated with clients.

Traditionally, organisations have taken a siloed approach to business management. Applications are developed to handle only one function of the business. These applications are not “designed” to connect the dots between closely associated business functions because they start with a fundamentally flawed premise. So, many interlinked departments such as Project Management, HR and CRM need manual data entry to close the gap.

Benefits of Project Management and CRM apps

Project management is quite straightforward — the app is supposed to streamline the process of delivering tasks from start to finish, leading to completion of project. Project management software helps companies keep track of resources, manage personnel, arrange meetings, and keep up with deadlines (among other things). CRM apps help companies build and maintain relationships with potential and existing customers. A mature CRM app combines customer relations, marketing, and sales functions. The ultimate goal is to increase the revenue from the clients via various modes of account expansion.

Features of Project Management and CRM apps

Very few vendors provide an integrated CRM and project management software. Primarily because these two types of apps have different goals.

Let’s look at some unique features CRM software offers:

  • Managing sales pipeline
  • Tracking Q&A
  • Tracking interactions
  • Follow-up tracking support
  • Tracking customer referrals
  • Tools to offer quotes or proposals
  • Managing client engagement

Here are the things project management software offer:

  • Tracking goals and meeting deadlines
  • Tools for more effective collaboration and communication between team members
  • Support
  • Managing project portfolio
  • Managing finances and budget
  • Tools to plan the project
  • Gantt charts
  • Generating reports

There is no overlap between CRM and PM software. The key difference between CRM and project management software is the timeline. CRM is a perpetually ongoing process to any business. Project management, on the other hand, happens with specific timeline (with some exceptions). At first, it might make sense to keep the two separate. But, there is actually a lot of value in combining both apps:

Why Opt for an Integrated CRM and Project Management System

In a typical business setting project managers, marketers and customer support teams have to continuously exchange information between departments. If this exchange of information would rely on the individual apps built for specfic function, this can become inefficient and error-prone.

Integrating CRM and project management systems thus eliminates silos and gives visibility to these departments that exchange information. Let’s consider a scenario, a marketing agency company is building websites for its clients. The data for this project, such as budget, progress, deadlines, are kept in a project management database. The other needed data about customer orders, sales, contact info and such are kept in a different CRM system. And different people will have access to these systems. The sales reps will have access to the CRM system, while only the project managers and relevant team members might have access to the project management system. So, if the sales team wants to plan for cross-selling a solution (example: SEO service) to the clients who are at the end of development project, they will have to be constantly in touch with the Project team to track the progress of various projects and create sales activities accordingly. But, wouldn’t it be great if all the departments would have access to key information at a central location!  Smoothly moving from a won deal to delivery of the project in the same app without re-entering any data  and avoiding data loss.

Key advantages of integrating CRM and Project Management apps

  • Increase collaboration between separate teams
  • Unify task completion based on client initiatives
  • Better manage the workforce by having access to deadlines and reminders
  • Gather customer related data for better customer service
  • Connect customer feedback to project managers
  • Cost effectiveness by eliminating additional fees associated with managing separate systems
  • Manage customer lifestyle in a single system
  • Higher ROI

Ultimately, a business can focus on business growth by retaining data in one place.


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