How to manage projects in your PR agency

MANAGING PROJECTS IN A PR AGENCY

PR agencies will have a group of clients that they perform a range of tasks for and typically these tasks are referred to as jobs or projects and are considered discrete pieces of work that are scoped, delivered and invoiced for. As these jobs form the key way in which an agency earns money it’s obvious that you’re going to want to ensure that the process is well managed! We’ll be taking a look here at what a job management system can offer a PR agency and how that can help with the overall performance of the agency.

Implementing and properly using a job management system is really important for profitability for a few reasons:

  • It helps your team know what to prioritise
  • It stops work from slipping through the cracks (e.g. what was Sally working on before she went on leave?)
  • It will give you mission critical information on how your business and staff are tracking
  • It gives you a snapshot of all current, future and past work going through your agency

In our experience we have found that agencies without these systems tend to be flying a little blind and this is no way to ensure profitability.

There are a few software solutions out there, all the good ones are cloud-based meaning no need to worry about installing anything or compatibility issues. The two main ones we see clients using are Harvest and WorkflowMax, but there are loads of options out there. My personal preference is WorkflowMax and it is what we use at the office – it isn’t the prettiest of the bunch, but for pure professional service businesses such as PR agencies it works a treat.

Regardless of which you choose, a good system will handle the following for you:

  • Client database – the system will store all your client details and will typically have basic file storage though mostly you’ll link the system to your existing cloud-storage solution for document storage.
  • Jobs – these will be attached to the clients and can be setup quickly and easily using templates. The jobs will have various stages to them, milestones, etc. which can all be setup as part of the template.
  • Timesheets – to record time against a job as well as other non-chargeable tasks such as admin or training.
  • Invoicing – this can be done straight from the job management system. The invoices and receipts will sync between the system and your accounting software which saves time and gives your team access to the info they need (and nothing you don’t want them to see).
  • Reporting – the system will then allow you report on all of the above. This gives you the power to answer questions such as:
    • Which clients are the most profitable?
    • Which jobs were profitable? Which jobs did I lose money on?
    • How much time are my team spending on training each year?
    • What did Sally bill for the business last month?
    • Which team member is the most productive?

A good job management system is neither expensive nor time-consuming to implement and manage. I would argue that it’s impossible to run an effective agency without such a system in place. And remember that these systems are only as good as the people using them – rubbish in rubbish out – so ensure you have a ‘champion’ in the office to keep the system tidy and functioning properly.

Key takeaway

You need accurate information about how your business operates in order to make effective decisions. Which clients to keep? Which staff to reward? Without a system like this you’re just operating on gut instinct which may not always be as finely tuned as you think. A good job management system will complement your financial record keeping system to give you almost all the data you need to run your agency effectively.

If you’d like to discuss the implementation and effective usage of a good job management system please get in touch today. We’d love to help.