How to Decide When Your Agency Needs Project Management

How to Decide When Your Agency Needs Project Management

Update: 2021-03-14
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Is your team struggling to keep up with client communication? Having a hard time managing all parts of agency projects? Many agencies need project management dedicated to communication and details. How do you know when or if your agency needs a project manager? How can you find a great project manager? Having a project manager is crucial for some agencies and absolutely unnecessary for others. The challenge is determining your agency's need in order to grow successfully.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • When should your agency use a project manager?
  • When project management isn't necessary.
  • Finding the right project manager.

I talked with Bea Bonte, Co-owner of Hook Agency, a digital agency that provides services for small to mid-sized businesses in the construction industry. In less than three years, the agency has grown to a team of 12. Project management is part of Bea's job description. Hook also has a project manager for its website design team. Bea says it has been a learning process determining what types of services need project management and which don't.

When Should Your Agency Use a Project Manager?

Project management is a frequent topic of debate among agency owners, with strong opinions on both sides. However, Bea says the discussion really shouldn't be as much about whether you do or don't need a project manager. It comes down to the types of jobs where project management helps deliver the service more efficiently. For example, Hook uses a project manager for website design because it requires extensive information-gathering with the client. A project manager handles communication while the design team is busy on creative work. Large projects involving the output of different parts of your team are the type for project management. In those cases, the manager is able to coordinate the different aspects of the work.

While creative projects often need a project manager, Bea believes in letting her team communicate directly with the client as needed. If a designer has a specific question for the client, it does not make sense to run the question through an extra layer.

When Project Management Isn't Necessary

For small agencies and agencies that offer very specific services, it is often not necessary to have a project manager. For example, Hook's SEO team requires specific information from the client and without running through a project manager. The rule of thumb Hook uses in determining whether project management is necessary is whether the communication required will take too much time away from the work they were hired to do. If so, then it's time to hire a project manager. However, if there are instances where involving a project manager slows down production and delivery.

Finding the Right Project Manager

If you decide your agency needs a project manager, how do you go about hiring one? Bea says Hook places a higher priority on tenacity than on a heavy resume. She and her husband took a risk on an individual at the start of their agency who was so passionate about wanting to work for a marketing agency he was willing to work for free. He is now transitioning from the agency's SEO lead to the General Manager.

One of the most important things to remember when hiring a project manager or adding other new members to your team is finding a match to culture and values. New skills can be acquired, but finding someone whose goals and work style match those of your agency is a bigger task.

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How to Decide When Your Agency Needs Project Management

How to Decide When Your Agency Needs Project Management

Jason Swenk: Marketing Business Strategist, Agency Consultant and Advisor