Getting work organized as a digital agency is no easy feat. With constant re-prioritization due to multiple client feedback and iterations coming in daily, work can get overwhelming without the right tool. Sticky notes and spreadsheets aren’t the most effective way you could get organized.
The agile framework is ideal in the agency setting. Being able to organize work by weekly or bi-weekly sprints based on priority is the key for robust agency project management. With sprints, you are able a bird's eye view of your team's workload and re-prioritize as needed, when urgent deliverables arise. Successful agile agency teams can deliver multiple priorities on time, and showcase real business value.
On Tara AI, we've had multiple digital agencies and freelance teams successfully plan their tasks, projects and sprints to get organized with their clients. We’re putting together some of those learnings and sharing them with you.
Getting Started with Tara AI
Here’s a quick onboarding video to help you get acquainted with Tara’s basic workflows & terminologies as an agile project management tool.
Using Workspaces to Organize Work by Client
If your goal is to invite the client to collaborate with your team to manage projects and tasks, setting up different workspaces for different clients can help keep information, feedback and specs organized.
Each workspace is “standalone” to other workspaces, i.e. while you may have multiple workspaces for each client, they would not see the other workspaces unless they are specifically invited to join those.
This helps your agency and team keep track of work separately by client, without showing any other information about other clients. This is great for clients on retainer, where you will typically need a separate ecosystem for their work.
Each workspace starts off on our “Free forever” plan with single sprint planning and is limited to 20 tasks in the current sprint. As an alternative, you can also choose to bill the workspace directly to your client, for easier client management.
Using Teams to Organize Work by Client
If you are using Tara to get organized with your team internally without inviting your client to your workspace, setting up teams may be the way to go. This is useful for a medium to large sized digital agency who have teams split up by client.
By inviting account managers and the execution team into the workspace, you can split them by the accounts they handle and name those teams accordingly (i.e. Team Brand X, Team Brand Y, etc.)
Each team will have their own sprint boards, tasks and requirements separate from the other teams. You can use Requirements to store client specifications and tasks, and assign the entire Requirement to a team. By doing so, you will also be able to filter by Requirement on the Progress page, which makes tracking much easier.
Using Requirements to Organize Work by Client
In the agile world at its simplest, "requirements" is a document that is used to define features, service or function that a user needs.
For engineering teams, Requirements can be used as epics and Tasks can be used as user stories. However on Tara AI, the Requirements feature is more flexible than that.
For a smaller digital agency that does not intend to include the client in the workspace, you can simplify your workflow by creating Requirements and naming them after your clients or projects. You can then have tasks under these Requirements, which can be tracked under the Progress view (see below).
This is useful for one-off clients, single projects and accounts that do not require an ongoing sprint.
Once the project is completed, you can simply archive the requirement so you have a history of it, while keeping your Requirements list clean. Archived requirements can be accessed anytime and are not deleted from your workspace.
How You Can Make the Progress View Work for You
Building a successful agile team in a digital agency setting needs a reliable, yet simple reporting dashboard.
As a manager, the Progress view will help you oversee your team’s progress on a daily and weekly basis. If you decide to use teams to organize everyone’s work by client, then you can simply filter by teams handling certain clients, to get a granular understanding of the work progress.
If you use requirements to keep track of accounts, you can also filter by requirements, to view progress of tasks related to that requirement in the current sprint.
For digital agencies and freelance teams using separate workspaces for each client, each workspace will have an entirely separate progress view.
You can also use effort estimates to compare realized effort (the bars on the right side) with effort initially set before starting work. This will help you understand, as a manager, if work has spilled over, find blockers or surface any cause of delay that needs to be addressed.
After a couple sprints, Tara will start to give you an “Effort Estimate” to tell you what is realistically possible to complete based on your team’s past performance. This is a good way to track and eventually predict how much work your agency and team can take up on a weekly/bi-weekly basis.
You can then understand how many client accounts you can assign a specific team, giving you the predictability you need to manage your team efficiently.
Note that in the Progress view, you can also “filter by assignee” to see how many tasks are assigned under a single person and understand if resources are over or underused.
Using the Git Integration for Real-Time Engineering Status Updates
Whether you’re building apps or websites and you use GitHub or GitLab, you can sync your issues with Tara AI to understand true, real-time release status. Track engineering team’s progress on a PR and code commit level.
For digital agencies that build web or mobile apps for their clients, using the agile project management framework along with this feature will be very helpful in managing client expectations and reporting true progress.
To link Git data to a task, simply add the TASK-ID to the branch name, commit message, or PR titles. Read more on enabling the GitHub or GitLab sync here.
For engineering or developer teams that need to create a specific workflow, check out the Tara API. With the API access, you can build a workflow surrounding ticket management, sync to reporting tools or create powerful automations to support your team’s velocity.
Using the Slack Integration for Internal Task Updates
For digital agencies and freelancer teams that use Slack, you can enable our official sync with Slack and get real time updates on tasks, requirements and sprint reports. The integration also comes with handy Slack commands and shortcuts like creating tasks directly from messages and much more.
Read more on enabling the Slack integration here.
Using Labels for Categories
Tara AI has a labeling system that you can use to categorize tasks by type, status or priority. To activate, simply use hashtag (#) + label name. Some examples: #pending-approval, #design-stage, #proposal-stage, #P1, #P2, #Urgent etc. This will be useful in organizing priorities to ensure client projects and deadlines are delivered on time, more often.
Agile project management is the key to scaling your digital agency
Digital agencies and freelancer teams often have different workflows depending on the scope, project or client. Using agile can help your team manage client projects and work effectively. By staying organized as a team, you will be able to meet those tight client deadlines sooner, more often.
Tara AI’s flexible workflow can adapt to your agency's requirements. The simple and intuitive interface keeps your team on track, without the bells and whistles of other project management tools. Focus your time where it really matters.
Retaining a sustainable client base with a reliable agile project management software, will make scaling your digital agency easier, simpler and more rewarding.