By Jordan Trigilio | 7 minute read
Jordan Trigilio is a Partner with Movement Strategy, and VP of Operations sitting in our New York City office.
Movement Strategy is a social media agency in Denver, LA and NY and we are vast in our versatility. One project we’re a brand event planning company, the next, a social content studio, the one after that, a media buying firm, and often, all of those (and more) at once! Hey, if you have the range, you gotta flaunt it. However, that operational flexibility does present its challenges, namely on the project management side.
Because we cover such a wide array of marketing tasks, we need to keep our team supplemented with tools that give us the information necessary to make smart operational decisions every day. Without giving away our full recipe, I’ll offer a taste of a few essential ingredients we use to stay on top of all the multifacetedness. Here’s our ultimate Project Management stack:
At the core of our project management practice is a tool called Asana. It’s the lifeblood of our task-management process, as it flows through nearly every team and phase of a project lifecycle, carrying important information and actions to all employees. We use Asana to on-board clients, house pertinent brand documents and information, create timelines and task-lists, visualize priorities and GANTT flows, and integrate various third-party tools with ease (i.e. Dropbox, Google, Harvest, etc.).
The biggest advantage Asana has is its adaptability to breakdown project management. When work ranges from large-scale experiential pop-ups to quick-turn event coverage to various social strategies and creative services (there we go flaunting that range again), Asana keeps us agile. We’re able to move nimbly no matter the scope, customizing features to fit any project/client-based need. It strikes the perfect balance between letting you customize each team or project, while also providing templated features for speed and efficiency.
Simply put, Asana allows our team to manage multiple projects at once and operate at 10x our size given the features and the processes we’ve deployed. The key is ensuring all active Asana members (beyond project managers) are trained on the tool and know how to use it. Sigh. Who knew it was possible to develop a crush on software?
Movement Tip: as powerful as the tool is, make sure to set up operating principles, create best practices and properly on-board each new member using the tool.
Having the right tools and the right team for each project is great, but that process should be refined with proper resourcing and time management. We use two powerful (and often linked) tools called Harvest and Forecast to track, analyze and forecast how our team spends their time. To extend the anatomical metaphor, these are the brains of our people and time management operation.
We track non/billable time daily at Movement Strategy, across all clients, projects and detailed tasks. We then analyze it on a regular basis to ensure we are appropriately servicing each client to the levels we scoped and agreed upon. We’ve built out a process using Harvest that makes time-tracking and reporting easy across the Movement social media agency Denver, LA and NY offices. Better still, we’re able to leverage the Asana integration to synergize two tasks. Lastly, we use snapshots from reporting dashboards directly in Harvest, which let us deeply filter emerging trends and create custom pivot tables.
More importantly, we sync it directly with a sister-tool called Forecast, feeding through all projects/tasks, teammates and budgets established in Harvest. Once there, we use Forecast to quickly map out our team resources and time in the future (i.e. 4-8 weeks out), and plan where departmental hours will go for each project. This helps us keep a birdseye view on when shortages might occur.
If you’ve worked in this industry long enough, you know that your actual team hours can often veer from what was projected at the onset of a project. Priorities may shift, projects might scale, and the team may strain. But with the right tools and processes, you can flag this and course-correct wherever appropriate.
Movement Tip: analyzing time-tracking data is critical, but only if the team’s inputs are accurate. Reminding/helping people to use the tool until it becomes second nature is often more important than the tool itself.
Ah, the money. Everyone loves it until they have to keep track of it. Fortunately, we have a bookkeeping software that keeps track of all our overhead and client financials, and third party tools like Expensify help with our credit card classifications and reimbursements. But perhaps the most important tools for our financial analysis and planning are the proprietary models we create and customize internally.
We use a mixture of Google and Microsoft apps to create multiple linked models in three categories: client financials (rate cards, estimates, staffing plans), analysis (reconciliations, burn reports, etc) and projection-based models (revenue, operating expenses, P&Ls). The reason we’ve created these models internally is for connectivity: we need our rates to feed into our estimates, to feed into our projections, to feed into our burn reports and reconciliations, and so on. Most importantly, we need to be able to update these on a daily basis.
Movement Tip: for as much time as you spend analyzing financials in the past, double that time for thinking about spending in the future.
The Best Tool = Good People
There are often two philosophies when it comes to the right tools within project management and operations: you either consolidate to something that does it all, or fragment your stack per tool-specialization and function. The important truth in both of these is ensuring you have the strongest people to manage your tools and processes. The rest is just personal preference. Fortunately, we have some very strong tools, and even stronger people at Movement Strategy. 🙂
Movement Strategy is a social media and digital marketing agency for leading entertainment & sports, lifestyle & ecommerce, and food & beverage brands.
© Movement Strategy 2019
© Movement Strategy 2019