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Agency Project Management – The Complete Guide to Scaling Comfortably

Scalability is the only way to keep your business growing. 

If your growth has been stagnant for a while, there’s a high chance that sales will begin to drop very rapidly, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself in the red. 

rapid drop in sales

Scaling a digital agency is quite different from scaling a product-based business. 

Managing different projects often becomes difficult, especially if you don’t have the resources available to maximize profitability. That’s why it’s so important to establish processes to reduce those growing pains. 

In this post, you’ll discover a step-by-step process to help you manage projects and scale your digital agency effectively.

Establish Clear Roles and Responsibilities

Successful businesses place one thing high up on their priority list: they are very clear in their communications. 

Every member of the team knows exactly what they have to do, and when.

Digital agencies today follow an incredibly dynamic business model, with clients requesting a wide range of features as the project progresses. If team members aren’t sure of what they have to do, it’s always going to be difficult to scale.

You’ll find yourself spending hours assigning specific tasks or juggling priorities. 

breakdown of weekly activity for team members

Source: Asana

Establishing clear roles and responsibilities is critical if you want to scale your agency rapidly. It’s one of the biggest challenges for growing teams, especially when you’re hiring new members. It can lead to wasted efforts and result in serious production bottlenecks, especially if two people on the team end up doing the same task. 

If there’s confusion, you’ll end up losing time having to explain these things. 

Create a Team Charter

A team charter is simply a document that outlines:

  • The responsibilities of each team member
  • The constraints they might face
  • The available resources

It provides a clear picture to every team member about what the objectives are – and how each member can contribute towards achieving them. 

Doing this will eliminate any confusion in your core processes, and reduce bottlenecks.

team charter example

Source: SlideTeam

Use the Right Tools to Help You Scale

As your agency starts scaling, you’ll want to consider investing in the right tools. 

Most digital agency owners use anywhere between 5 – 10 different subscription-based services at the very least to manage operations. 

Even then, they spend hours each day just sifting through emails and creating tasks for others. As your business grows, you’ll want to consider investing in the right tools, and switching to services that offer a more cohesive workflow. 

The general workflow for many small agencies goes like this:

  1. They receive client instructions via email
  2. They create tasks using a project management tool
  3. They assign these tasks to a specific team member
  4. The team member uses another tool to track their time
  5. The team often communicates using a workplace communication tool 
  6. The designs are handed over using another tool and client feedback is received (possibly through yet another channel!)

As you can see, this isn’t really a scalable process. 

To begin with, there are several steps that you’ll eventually need to add to the process, including QA testing, bug reporting, and tracking. 

For longer projects, you’ll also have to create roadmaps and milestones.

milestones roadmap

Source: PowerSlides

The process becomes costlier and more inefficient as your projects begin to grow.

Process-driven teams scale easily because they are efficient. 

(Just re-read that sentence again. It’s critical.)

If you can find tools that let you bunch several steps into one, go for it. 

When we built Atarim, that’s what we were going for. 

We created a tool that allows agency owners to work with their teams, communicate, leave feedback, track time, and streamline the whole process of project management.

The result being that you can shave off extra, repetitive steps and scale FASTER.

Create a Lead Qualification Process

One of the things that you’ll need to focus on to maximize growth is to establish a proper lead qualification process. 

lead qualification process

Source: GetProspect

Unless you’re able to identify leads with higher chances of conversion through a proper lead qualification process, you’ll waste your efforts. Instead of investing too much time and effort in an opportunity that never materializes, you need to define controls and establish a proper sales funnel. 

This way, you’ll be able to qualify leads as they slowly move through your funnel. 

If you don’t know which prospects make for the best sales targets, you’ll end up wasting lots of time and effort. Your ROAS (Return On Advertising Spend) will continue to spike, and it’ll significantly affect your growth prospects. 

One of the best ways you can use to qualify a sales lead is to use the BANT method

BANT sales process

Source: HubSpot

This is a series of questions that will help you better understand different leads. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Budget: Will the prospect be able to afford the average price of the service you’re offering?
  • Authority: Does the prospect have the authority to make a decision? Or do they need to refer to someone else? 
  • Needs: Does the prospect even need the service you’re offering? Or are they just browsing or still considering whether to buy?
  • Time: Is the prospect ready to make a purchase now, or will it take them a while longer?

This simple set of questions can help you better understand your prospects. 

If a prospect seems viable based on these characteristics, you’ll have a better idea about how much time and effort to spend on acquiring their business.

Track KPIs and Review Performance Reports

You can’t scale your agency unless you track KPIs and review your team’s performance. 

You need to change your attitude towards project management in order to scale and identify efficient ways of working. 

data driven decisions

Source: Millimetric

If you aren’t keeping tabs on key performance indicators or don’t have any milestones set for different projects, you’ll always find it difficult to attribute relevant successes and eventually replicate them. 

There are several key metrics that you should track in your digital agency, including:

  • Total number of qualified leads
  • Total number/ratio of conversions
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Cost of consumer acquisition
  • Average profit margins for different services
  • Average time worked by each employee 

Foster Collaboration Between Teams

Working in silos can lead to serious issues, especially since work often overlaps between different departments. 

Fostering collaboration and communication between teams can help you:

  • Maximize profitability
  • Complete projects faster
  • Reduce resource consumption

It’s also a key tenet of successful project management. 

When teams are in the know about what others are working on, and can easily review what stage the project is at, it becomes easier for them to pitch in when necessary.

Plus, it removes production bottlenecks, and teams can communicate more freely.

Use Integrations to Automate Tasks 

Automation doesn’t just help you save money – it also helps you save crucial time that you could spend on more important tasks that generate greater profits. 

automation statistics

Source: PaperForm

We believe that businesses that fail to change their ways find it difficult to scale quickly. 

If you run a small team, you need to think about bringing on a new player: automation. From automatically assigning tasks, to using integration tools such as Zapier to connect to other apps – you can save a ton of time (and money).

At Atarim, we understand the true power of automation and appreciate its effects. That’s why we have native integrations for all major project management apps.

generic integrations Atarim

With Zapier, you could supercharge workflows and get a lot more done with half the effort. 

For instance, you can configure Atarim to automatically send emails to clients when a task status changes. This is just one simple example of Zapier Integrations for Atarim that you can use to customize workflows. 

We’ve built a few automated workflows in Atarim, where tasks are automatically created when a client leaves a comment and more. 

Atarim automation

Document and Detail Process Workflows

As you start to scale, you’ll also bring on new employees to your team. 

Explaining processes over and over is time-consuming and affects performance. Instead, the best thing that you can do is document workflows. You need to break down tasks and clearly instruct members of the team about who to contact when handing off a project at a specific stage. Also, as your agency continues to scale, needs will change. 

You will have to incorporate new roles, introduce new processes, and remove those that have become unnecessary. By documenting workflows and making changes based on the needs of your agency, you will be able to onboard new employees more effectively. 

Plus, everyone will know what to do without you having to constantly instruct them.

Use Atarim to Supercharge Your Agency’s Growth

With Atarim, we believe that you can overcome most of the scalability challenges. We designed Atarim after evaluating the needs of our own agency.

visual feedback and agency project management tool

We wanted to create a visual feedback tool that brings together features from different platforms, and packages them into one single platform. 

From time tracking to reviewing team tasks, and from gathering content from clients to allocating tasks to team members, Atarim simplifies the entire process, cutting the fluff and delays, and helping you get more done, in less time. 

project stages in Atarim for agency project management

It’s not going to solve all scalability issues, but it’ll definitely make them easier to handle. 

Many agencies prefer Agile development techniques because it’s faster and reduces development cycles, but that also leads to several challenges that you may want to prepare for. 

Atarim's inbox for agency project management

With Atarim, however, it becomes much easier to manage remote teams, onboard new clients, and work consistently to maximize output…

…all of which eventually translates into greater revenue. 

Scale Rapidly with Effective Project Management

Most web design agencies often run into scalability challenges as they start onboarding new clients. It’s often difficult to carefully balance bringing on more resources and accepting new projects. 

Uncertainty, ambiguity, and complexity in project management are quite common, but as long as managers continue to refine processes and maintain transparency, it puts the agency in a prime position for growth. 

And that’s exactly what our tool can help you achieve! 

Atarim can help you centralize all communications, assign tasks to team members, set deadlines, and eliminate any guesswork. Plus, with our time tracking feature, you’ll know exactly how long each task took, so you can discover your rates, make better time estimates, and prevent selling yourself short.

Also, you can leverage the point-and-click collaboration to allow clients to point at what they’re referring to and immediately leave feedback, say what needs to be changed, and so much more. The great thing is, clients firmly believe you’re using Atarim’s tools for their sake, as it makes their life so much easier! (Don’t worry, we won’t tell them if you don’t…)

If you want to eliminate most scalability challenges such as confusion, communication issues, or poor resource planning, give Atarim a shot for free now.

  • Integrated into the leading visual collaboration platform trusted by 13,000+ agencies (web dev, design, and beyond) worldwide.
  • Supporting project delivery for 1,200,000+ of their clients and stakeholders.
  • Deliver projects in weeks instead of months.

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