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

April 11, 2022

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

As you can imagine, the creative process is what’s most important to teams working on creative projects, leaving the project manager with the difficult task of dealing with all the project admin. 

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.

Problems with project management in creative agencies

So why was project management often a bit messy for creative agencies?

Problem #1: Some were managing everything with spreadsheets

A lot of small agencies didn’t have a system in place to help manage their projects, they tried to establish somewhat of an overview by entering all related project information into a bunch of excel 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 deleting all the work! Constantly maintaining a sheet 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.

According to Forbes, research shows that 88% of all spreadsheets contain errors. And once an error becomes obvious, it’s very hard to find out where it started, or how to correct everything. 

Problem #2: Some used 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. 

Besides this, 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.

Problem #3: The profitability of projects couldn’t be measured

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 were unaware of projects that were not profitable enough, sometimes even losing money on them.

Problem #4: The capacity of the team was unknown

Juggling multiple projects, it was often unclear to managers if the workload was distributed evenly among team members. While some employees 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 problems 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 in 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 especially 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 programs, Rodeo is a true all-in-one solution offering 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 dashboard 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 timer lets you track time spent on projects, before using the invoicing feature to make sure every hour is accounted for. 

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

Imagine having separate tools for each of these features? As explained before, all these subscriptions combined may cost a pretty penny. You will be saving money by going for an all-in-one tool, especially if you tailor your subscription package based on different user profiles.

Know 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 out’s 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 the capacity of your team 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. 

Start a 14-day free trial with Rodeo

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