It’s Friday afternoon and your team is stressed out.
“Did Jan finish the artwork for the Johnson project?”
“How many hours did Luca spend on content marketing this week?”
“Does Kim know if Amal’s client has approved more hours for this task?”
There’s certain things that can be done every week at the last minute, but successfully managing your team’s projects is not one of them. Projects are filled with long to-do lists of important tasks that cannot be forgotten if the overall project is to be delivered stress-free, on budget and on deadline. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that leaving project management to chance is not an option, if you want your business to scale and flourish.
But it’s amazing how many business owners skimp on project management tools, in order to save just a few dollars a day.
If you’re a small business owner who is not convinced you need a project management system because you only have a small or medium-sized business, we’ve mustered seven Dilbert videos by the legendary Scott Adams, to help prove why you need project management software - even when you’re just starting out and your business is small.
1. Dilbert: The Business Plan of Profitability
You can’t know how to be profitable in the future if you don’t know what’s going on in your business right now. Without a good project management tool like Trigger to help you know the ins and outs of your business, you won’t know what’s working and what’s not working, you won’t know how to improve and you won’t be able to plan effectively to be more profitable.
Dilbert knows that. That’s why he delivers a ridiculous pitch to his bosses about achieving profitability in year three, when he’s had no good tools to help him put together his business plan properly.
2. Designed to Fail
Similar to writing your business plan, how can you estimate (or justify to your boss) an accurate budget for what you need for your project, if you don’t use time tracking or a project management tool to give you insights about how your business is currently performing?
One common piece of feedback we hear from our customers is that they have a tendency to be “too nice and overservice [their] clients”. This is a common mistake for agency and consultancy teams, especially when they do not have a good grasp on the budget and hours required for a project, and cannot guesstimate based on past experiences. A time tracking and project management tool can keep historical data and help you make ongoing improvements to your budgets and client quotes, based on what you’ve learned from previous projects.
3. Dilbert: Management Coordination
Coordinating managers, team members, clients, projects and tasks is difficult at the best of times. Not having a project management tool makes the process even harder and, like Dilbert, can make you want to give up before you even begin.
Whether teams admit it or not, it’s much easier to keep everyone on the same page if they are, literally, on the same page in your project management software. A central system where tasks are assigned with clear team member accountabilities, makes life so much easier to keep things on track and to know who to follow up when things go awry.
4. Dilbert: Changes
It’s a busy world. Clients are calling you, business partners are texting you, team members are emailing you and it’s hard to keep up. By the time you come up for air of an evening to articulate new tasks, your team members have already turned off Slack and gone home.
As a result, you find yourself giving your team their instructions on the fly and you’re never really sure if you’ve given them everything they need. This inevitably leads to confusion later, when tasks have not been completed because team members claim you never fully briefed them.
That’s the beauty of a project management system. Even if you don’t have time to fully articulate each task, you can log the task in your system instantly, assign it to a team member, give it a deadline. You can then ask the assignee to get more information from you (or your client) later so they can meet the deadline you set.
Because ultimately, conversations are one thing, but setting deadlines assigned to specific team members is a whole other motivator. No one wants to miss a deadline and you’ll likely discover that even if the task is not articulated in full, the initiative will quickly shift to the assignee to get the details and get the task done by the deadline - which takes the burden off you to remember everything on day one.
5. Dilbert: Waiting for the Word
Employers don’t like seeing employees sitting around and most employees don’t like sitting around either (when they’re waiting for instructions for their next project).
If you’re using a project management system where every single task is logged and prioritised for not just your clients but for your company’s internal to-do list (eg. everything from marketing for your own brand, to restocking the stationery cupboard), there’s never an excuse for having nothing to do.
6. Dilbert: Vicious Cycle
“Whenever I reply to email, it attracts more email. I’m trying to break the vicious cycle,” says Dilbert’s boss.
Project management tools can stop the endless flurry of back-and-forth emails. They can also keep all of the conversations in one place, so when you have a team member (like Dilbert’s boss) who refuses to reply to emails, or forgets where client emails have disappeared to, everyone else on the team can easily track what’s going on and know what needs working on next.
Tools like Trigger can also let you invite your clients into your project management system. This enables clients to view, comment on and be tagged in discussions that inevitably save them from overwhelming and/or lost email trails as well.
7. Dilbert: Only the Things that Matter
If you don’t use project management system with a time tracker, do you ever wonder where your hours go each day?
Do you ever wonder why Jane is working on social media when she should really be helping Vishnu on a more important project?
Project management tools help you prioritise tasks and focus everyone’s attention on the things that matter. If you don’t agree with how a task is prioritised on the system, you can quickly act (consult the team member assigned to the task or simply re-prioritise it on the system) before time is spent on tasks that don’t matter as much.
Want more Dilbert?
If you enjoyed these Dilbert videos, jump over to our second instalment, 6 Dilbert Videos That Prove You Need Time Tracking
If you’re still looking for more, visit the treasure trove of Dilbert workplace videos on the Dilbert YouTube channel here.
But be warned, they’re a little addictive, so watching them might not exactly help you get your projects and tasks completed on time today!