Today I want to talk about managing freelance projects better and give you an overview of what project management is and how you can use project management methodologies to improve your project manager skills.
Listen to me: Project Management. Gosh. That word is one of those crazy buzzwords of today’s business culture and the source of many other silly creations. I mean, what is a project, anyway? Have you ever been involved in a subproject and talked at the kick-off meeting about scrum or agile project management? Yes? Good for you. Then you know: Smart project management is not that easy. No, you’ve never been involved in project management? Very good for you. But maybe it is time to deal with it.
Project management steps
But no worries: You don’t have to use the fancy buzzwords to be a good project manager. Basically, smart project planning is nothing but common sense – and the ability to integrate future goals and present reality. And that’s where I want to help you. I have been managing projects since before they even have been called projects. Or how do think 007 has completed all of his missions? There you go: I helped him.
Mission or project – either way, the thrill is the same. Just think of the enthusiasm at the beginning, the hard times and crises in between and the elation when it is done. Mission completed. That’s what I love about projects: They require a team effort. Every team member does what he or she is best at – and together they fulfil their mission. Smart organization and communication is the key to get there. And that’s where I come in: zistemo is your project management tool that makes planning and running projects very easy. No matter how many projects you are juggling at the same time: Create your project plan automatically and stay on top of it all.
zistemo lets you communicate about anything – wherever, whenever and from any device. You’re sailing the Atlantic coast? Good for you. Whenever you are connected to the internet you can catch up on any conversation you want. You want to get some peace and quiet? Get offline and enjoy. You can come back to all the information you need when you’re ready again. And because the average project is not done in a day, I archive your conversations for you right there where you need them. So you won’t have to go over the same issues next month again.
Goals and Milestones
Everyone needs goals – projects are no exception. One single goal is not enough to make your mission successful: You need to define crucial tasks and milestones to facilitate communication and boost the motivation of everyone involved. That’s why zistemo lets you split your projects into tasks. Just assign goals, people and deadlines – and get started. And since I now that projects are agile, you can add and change these task whenever you want to. No need for the weekly scrum-meeting anymore: Thanks to the zistemo cockpit, you know which tasks cause problems and which have been easily completed. Always, in real time. Now you and your team can make the right decisions. Anytime.
Time Tracking = Time Management
Smart time tracking is crucial for your mission’s success. With zistemo, you not only get the exact schedule for each of your tasks and projects – you know who is working on what, when and for how long. Thanks to the automatic timer, your team members can log in, assign their time to a task and start working. Whenever, wherever. Of course these details can be added or changed manually – you probably won’t be able to log every single phone call otherwise. Now you know your personnel costs in real time.
The zistemo time tracking system provides you with detailed information on every second spent by your team members. Now you can identify the time-consuming tasks, and you know where every single team member really spends time: Maybe your copywriter fiddles a lot with SEO instead of writing convincing copy. Maybe it is the designer who finishes those texts – and human resources has been helping him with the logo. And maybe it suddenly makes sense to re-organize your teams: To assign a new task manager or re-assign tasks. A good project is only as good as its team. And good communication and smart leadership are crucial to generate a strong team. zistemo enables you to do both.
I’m sure you have been there: Your team is highly motivated to tackle a new task – and boom. That universal spoilsport kills all the fun: There is no money left. More often than not, projects fail because the money is gone before the mission is done. Either the whole project gets killed or the mission is being called completed without really being done (which I consider to be the bigger sin). A project that is failing because it fails the budget is close to worthless – to you, your client and your team. But no fear: I won’t let that happen. zistemo gives you total control over your budget, anytime in real time. You know your expenses and personnel costs, assigned to every project, every task and every client. One click and tracked time is transformed into an invoice, your client is billed and the money keeps flowing.
Invoices and estimates
Because zistemo assigns every task to a project and every project to a client, you can bill every tracked second and all your expenses immediately. Wherever, whenever. You know which invoices have been paid and which are overdue. Of course you can turn your estimate into an invoice within seconds – quick, swift and professional. You can see how accurate your estimate was immediately and can change the invoice accordingly. You can inform your client directly about any changes you made, and all your conversations are filed together with the invoice. Now you can solve any disputes with ease and peace – and your client relationships keep growing strong.
All the milestones have been reached, you stayed within the budget and your mission is completed: Time for celebration! Your team and you deserve it. But beware: After the project is before the project. And even if you have several projects to manage at once – I am here to help. Take your seat in the zistemo Cockpit and get total control over project goals, finances and personnel. zistemo makes you and your crew ready for take-off. Anytime. Anywhere. Together.
Enjoy the ride!