How many project management apps have you used so far? We have worked with five tools in the last four years. It was important for us to find the right tool, because as a marketing agency IF Solutions needs to manage web development, technical SEO, and digital marketing projects while allowing staff and clients to communicate.
Any company which is focused on good customer care and profitability needs to improve its process. To improve the process team felt the need for a better project management solution. The features that we were looking for in a project management app:
- Ability to create a project with milestones, tasks, and task dependencies
- Add as many guests and clients to projects as we need
- Ability to assign it to team members, assign dates, and resources
- Track how much time a staff member spent on a task
- Monitor tasks, milestones, and project progress with reporting
With the Nifty project management app, we had all these features and much more.
Nifty For Marketing Agencies
The following Nifty features fit the needs of our marketing agency and we use them every day:
- The Overview provides the bird’s-eye view for the whole account and projects.
- In the Overview, you can drill down to project milestones to see progress.
- The Workloads shows tasks assigned to staff members and help you manage the team.
- Each project can have a discussion board, which replaces the chat function. Nifty allows you to add as many guests/clients as you want. However, the team cannot chat with them directly. This is the tool that allows you and the rest of the team to share information with the client. All the important points can be pinned, so everyone can see them.
- Also, it allows you to convert any discussion point to a task. This saves a lot of time.
- When you want to connect with internal team members, Nifty offers a direct message feature. You can chat with one user or multiple users. This can be disabled if you use Slack or Google Chat.
- If you install the Zoom app in your Nifty workspace, you can directly start a Zoom call inside of Nifty.
- Project milestones overview allows you to see the entire project in a bird’s-eye view, see where you are.
- The second option is the timeline view, which is what IF Solutions uses. With this view, you can see the dependencies and delays of the project on one screen.
- The third option is the swimlane view.
The most important section of Nifty. There are a few ways to see your tasks (views in Nifty):
- This is the typical agile way of seeing tasks, like Trello. You can create columns to correspond to statuses (or any other way you want to organize your project), such as Todo, Start, Challenged, Review, and completed. At IF Solutions, we use Kanban and it allows us to move tasks among status columns.
- Swim Lane
- If you’re a fan of viewing your project in the swimlane, Nifty gives you that option.
- This is a vertical representation of the Kanban view. Great way to see all tasks and attributes (due dates, tags, etc.) in a Spreadsheet-like view.
Docs and Files
- Nifty allows you to create either a Google Doc, Microsoft Office doc, or a Nifty doc. A Nifty doc is a simple document/text editor, which is good to jot down notes. However, Google Docs and Microsoft Docs allow you the full features you’d expect from them, embedded inside Nifty. When you create a document in each project you can control who is going to see each document. With this, you can separate internal documents and external documents. The folder feature enables you to categorize and structure your documents as needed.
- The files section allows you to upload your files to Nifty, either to the project or directly inside tasks. All the files uploaded to tasks, discussions, and comments are stored in the project’s Files section. Just like the Docs section, you can organize the files using folders.
These features matched our needs, so IF Solutions signed up for Nifty. Once we signed up, we had to take time to figure out exactly how to set up Nifty.
Standard Operating Procedures
The team decided to create Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the services and internal operations. If you’re looking to create your own SOPs, here are the steps we followed:
- List all tasks for each service we offer.
- Write down who is responsible for each task.
- How many days or hours are needed to do each action.
- List any dependencies for each task.
- Create milestones by grouping the tasks.
- Finally, all the services were grouped based on the portfolio.
We created the following portfolios (portfolios are groups of projects inside Nifty):
- Website Development
- Digital Marketing
- SaaS and R&D
Once you have done the above actions the next step is to use your SOPs to populate Nifty and get to work. I will explain what process I have followed:
- Create the project and give it a name and an icon to make it look nice. Keep your environment professional.
- Go to the project’s home tab and add widgets you want to customize the project’s dashboard. This is a great place to see the overall status of the project and show it to clients.
- The next step is to create milestones for the projects.
- After adding the milestones, add the related tasks to the milestones. When you are adding tasks make sure to add a description or an explainer video. We record videos using Zoom and upload them to YouTube. Then add the link in the description section or embed them inside tasks. All the resources and assets must be added at this stage. Otherwise later when you or other stakeholders check the tasks, you might not remember exactly what was supposed to be done. Add task deadlines and set up recurring tasks, if you got any.
- After adding all the tasks, you need to add the dependencies and stages from the tasks section.
- If you have any assets upload them to the files section and link them to the tasks.
- The final step is to add the tasks owners and guests/clients, so they can monitor the work.
- Once you set up your portfolio and projects you can start the actual work. Now you are good to go!
Make sure all the stakeholders are disciplined and use Nifty whenever they deal with the project. Clients might want to use other channels to communicate, like WhatsApp chat, which makes the rest of the team blind to that particular discussion. In these situations, we copy-paste the chat to project discussions and ask the clients to use Nifty to communicate. At the start, it is difficult to keep up. However, when you get going you will get used to it and your productivity and client satisfaction will increase.