The Best Project Management Programs for Creative Agencies
When the day comes to graduate past QuickBooks and paper timesheets, what’s the best project management software for an agency? We’ve worked at a handful of shops, using a handful of project management programs, and we’ve definitely got some recommendations after the experience.
Let us begin by saying that, more than likely, none of them have everything your agency’s looking for. None of them are intuitive. You need to start with a list of the most important features you’re looking for—like tasking, forecasting, invoicing—then play around by taking the free demos to see what fits best. And once you make that decision, you have to take the time to learn the program the way it’s supposed to be used. It’s the only way to ensure it’s helping you move ahead and not holding you back.
We’d love to make it easy for you and give you a list of features, pros and cons, and add-ons—but there are too many to count and, frankly, you don’t have time to read all that detail anyway. So, here’s our quick and dirty on the three most popular project management programs on the market for creative agencies.
MS Project – Way too cumbersome for an ad agency. Great for building buildings, large software projects that will take a year plus to develop, and people who love to take a few years to learn how to use it right. It has its place, just not at ad agencies.
Workamajig (Creative Manger Pro) – They tout it’s “Made for agencies,” and it works great. But you need to make sure you’re using it right, and the learning curve is fairly steep. Take the time to set it up correctly from the onset and learn it in detail. It becomes intuitive once you get over the learning hump. We appreciate that you can use it in as much detail as you desire—for estimating, for time tracking, for invoicing or as a combination of them all. A note though, since CMP’s switch over to the Workamajig format (Flash), it’s really slow to load compared to the original.
Basecamp – The most simple of all the “project management” software. And that’s because it’s really jsut a tasking tool. No bells and whistles like invoicing, forecasting, Gantt charts, etc. For what it is, though, we think it’s the best tool out there because it’s super simple to use. Just type in what you want and click and drag where you want it to be. A nice add-on feature is the time clock widget.
Agencies are looking for the “magic bullet” when it comes to project management software, but that comes with understanding exactly what you need your software to do for you. We say keep it simple, stupid. What do we need to do? When’s the due date? Is that really possible? Let’s get it done!