How to Achieve Cross-Agency Harmony for Web Design & Digital Marketing Projects

How to Achieve Cross-Agency Harmony for Web Design & Digital Marketing Projects

Recent studies have shown that agency growth is on the rise, and that means that more and more companies are utilizing multiple agencies for their marketing projects and web development. This is a good sign for the industry, but one of the major potential issues that often arises is project management synergy.

Project management for building a new website can easily get bottlenecked when there are multiple stakeholders involved; miscommunication and differences of opinions can happen especially when there are so many details and moving parts. Prior to launching a big cross-agency project, it’s always a good idea to ensure that project management workflow is established well before the project officially kicks off in order to get the most out of your marketing dollars.

In this two-part series, we’re going take a look at some of the project management principles you need to consider when managing a large team that oftentimes will never even set foot in the same room together.

Transparency and Scheduling

It takes work to stay in contact with one another, and a strict regiment of communication is valuable for a large team because it guarantees a certain level of understanding between agencies. The biggest cause for delays that we’ve encountered for cross-agency projects is lack of clear communication and documentation. First of all, a member of the team needs to be assigned as the project manager and main point of contact for each team member. This person will also oversee all of the tasks and to-do’s that are associated with your web design or digital marketing project.

This person would then establish a schedule for communication for all of your partners. Weekly conference calls can go a long way in preventing hiccups and miscommunication. Utilize collaborative workspace platforms like BaseCamp, Zoho, or Redbooth to centralize all of the project’s priorities and communication. You may also want to use a messenger system like Skype or Jabber to initiate group chats about your projects.

Prioritization and Dependencies

The natural next step for the project manager is to prioritize and schedule each stage of the project’s tasks across each agency from start-to-finish. In an ideal world, a workflow with dependencies will be established at the very onset of a new project so everybody knows the relationship between all tasks. It’s imperative that your various partners are aware of each other’s activities in order to avoid major mistakes.

For example, your copywriters and SEO teams need to work together to create their respective strategies that are in sync with each other’s goals. Let’s say your SEO team develops the keywords that are necessary to get your website proper traction in the search engines, and your copywriters have already written the META tags for the website, but completely leave out the right keywords that the SEO team spent many hours researching.

This example of improper task prioritization and scheduling may completely negate all of the work your SEO team as done. This sets you back in time, resources, and budget – let alone any of the frustration that comes along with this kind of breakdown. It happens more often than you think, so the proper time much be taken in developing a prioritization plan that also outlines both the constraints and rules for each agency.

The same goes for web designers and developers. They also need to be keenly aware of their respective priorities and dependencies. Creative differences aside, each team member must be aware of the other’s tasks through a detailed prioritization plan that considers the requirements of each team member. This allows each part of the team to be aware of the other’s expectations and deliverables to avoid any potential project gridlock.

Team Management

The goal in the planning phase is to head off all of the potential problems that can threaten your project before it starts. Getting everyone on the same page and familiar with the different procedures and processes – whether it’s project management software, conference calls, or just general expectations, is absolutely critical. The sign of a good project manager is one that can put together a set of guidelines in place to allow team members to work smoothly, ensure quality control, and not have to worry about communicative issues. If you adopt a synergistic philosophy and make it clear to your team, then there’s no reason why you can’t remain in lockstep when the project begins.

Stay tuned for our next post for how to keep the project running smoothly once it starts.

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