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Project Management for Creatives Used to be a Huge Pain: Here Is How We Are Solving It

Joanna Marlow
April 11, 2022

As you can imagine, the creative process is what matters the most to teams working on creative projects, leaving the project manager with the difficult task of handling all the admin work.

Before project management tools like Rodeo became widely available, creative agencies scrambled to make projects and admin processes run smoothly. Of all the different types of creative agencies across the industry, most struggled with the same project management challenges.

Challenges with project management in creative agencies

So why was project management often a bit messy for creative agencies? Let's take a look at some of their main challenges:

#1 Managing everything with spreadsheets

A lot of agencies didn’t have a system in place to help manage their projects, especially the ones just starting. Instead, they tried to establish somewhat of an overview by entering all related project information into spreadsheets. There would be one sheet to enter worked hours into, another to plan tasks, another to calculate profits, and so on. 

Manually creating and inputting spreadsheets inevitably leads to human errors or–in the worst-case scenario–someone accidentally deletes all the work! Plus, constantly maintaining a spreadsheet has a massive impact on day-to-day activities and productivity.

Are errors in spreadsheets really that common? No doubt about that one! As information is entered and changed manually, this system is very susceptible to human mistakes.

#2 Using several tools to manage the process

To avoid spreadsheet blunders, some agencies already understood that intuitive software works a lot better. With tools on the market designed specifically for tracking time, planning tasks, and sending estimates or invoices, for example, the process was much simpler.

However, this also meant many companies ended up using a plethora of different tools and solutions, which became confusing in the long run. Not only would they have to constantly switch between tools, but the combined cost could quickly add up. 

Another challenge was that all these separate tools could not communicate with each other back in the day, which isn’t very handy. Nowadays, stand-alone solutions are often designed to integrate with other tools and programs. This still comes with some potential disadvantages, however.

#3 Measuring profitability of projects

Without a system in place that manages each stage of the project cycle–connecting all information–there was no way to find out whether projects were profitable or not. 

Oftentimes, quotes sent through to clients were based on a wild “guess” of how many hours the team required to complete the project. There was no method to accurately estimate how much a project would cost, or how to calculate the profit margin to add on top.

As a result, agencies struggled to identify projects that weren't profitable, sometimes even losing money on them.

#4 Unkown team capacity

While juggling multiple projects, it was often unclear to managers if the workload was distributed evenly among team members. While some team members were overloaded with work, others could have potentially been able to take on more. 

Having a system in place that visualizes the capacity of the team would also allow organizations to know exactly how many projects they can take on, or if it’s time to hire more staff. But while companies were relying on the guessing game, distributing workload and subsequently meeting deadlines was a big challenge.

How Rodeo helps to solve project management challenges for creative agencies

The concept for Rodeo was developed in 2015 by Pieter Vos, the founder of financial services company Kop of Munt. The firm focused primarily on creative agencies, which is how Pieter saw an opportunity when realizing how many of them struggled to establish some kind of management system for their projects. 

The very first version of Rodeo’s project management tool was launched in 2016, an intuitive software solution based on the needs and wants of Kop of Munt’s clients. 

As the tool and its features were developed specifically for creative agencies, Rodeo is able to eliminate some of the most common problems these organizations face.

Manage your projects in one place

Instead of switching between various spreadsheets and platforms, Rodeo offers a solution for a single point of truth. 

The very user-friendly interface allows you to navigate through all phases of the project cycle, from start to finish, updating project information along the way. It even has a built-in messenger function that helps (remote) teams to–quite literally–stay on the same page.

Eliminating clutter, you can manage all your projects in one place with Rodeo. As long-time client Jessy van der Vlist of Sticky Chapters puts it: “Rodeo is the first app I open in the morning and one of the last I close at the end of the day.”

Rodeo Software projects overview screen

Save money by using Rodeo instead of several tools

Because Rodeo has all the features creative agencies need to support the project cycle, it can replace all the other systems and tools you use. 

In Rodeo, projects start with budgets and estimates, after which tasks and deadlines are set using the planner. The easy-to-use time tracking feature lets you track time spent on projects to make sure every hour is accounted for. You can also invoice clients right from the tool in a few simple steps. 

Finally, the reporting feature allows you to have a 360° view of your projects at all times. 

Could you imagine having separate tools for each of these features? Subscriptions alone combined may cost way more than expected when added up. 

"Now, we are able to pinpoint discrepancies exactly in comparison with our estimates and we have been able to increase the profitability of our projects by 30%”


- Axell Avalon van Staveren, Business Director of Digital Agency JaxX

Understand the profitability of your projects

No more second-guessing! Just let the numbers do the talking by consulting Rodeo’s comprehensive reports.

The Quick View function allows you to track the ins and outs of your projects while they are still running, showing discrepancies between budgeted and tracked hours in real time. The Closed Projects function will give you a complete overview of all stats after completion.

Besides worked hours, supplier notes and all other related costs can be deducted from the corresponding project’s budget too, giving you an accurate overview of the actual profit.

Once Rodeo’s reporting feature has collected enough relevant data, you will have so much information to base executive decisions on. You might even find out that some of your projects aren’t as profitable as you thought, just like our client Digital Agency JaxX.

Axell Avalon van Staveren, Business Director of Digital Agency JaxX: “Once we started using the time tracker, the reports gave us an accurate overview of how much time team members really needed to complete their projects. Now, we are able to pinpoint discrepancies exactly in comparison with our estimates and we have been able to increase the profitability of our projects by 30%”

Closed project report view in Rodeo Software

Know your team's capacity before taking on new projects

A huge advantage of Rodeo’s planning feature is the ability to assign tasks to employees based on their availability. With a clear overview of your team’s capacity, you will be able to divide work evenly and determine when you can take on new projects.

As your company grows, Rodeo can help you scale your business by showing when it’s the right time to start hiring more employees.

Do you want to experience for yourself how Rodeo can help solve these project management problems? You can start a free trial today (no credit card required) or schedule a free demo with one of our representatives.