As your agency grows, managing your day-to-day workload can become increasingly complex. While your inbox and a simple to-do list might have worked when you only had one or two employees, the larger your team, the more room for error or miscommunication.
Project management software is the solution. These intelligent and flexible tools are designed to handle complicated project requirements, helping agencies do their best work every time by streamlining processes and improving communication. Whether yours is a digital, advertising, or design agency, you can benefit from using project management software.
What is agency project management software?
Project management software helps agencies manage their resources by giving them everything they need to plan effective projects and execute them without a hitch.
Unlike work management systems, which seek to improve workflows, project management software helps teams put those plans into action. Every tool will offer slightly different features, but a project management system should generally include schedule planning, resource management, quality control, and budget management capabilities.
Project or client management teams usually have a lot on their plates, from capturing requirements and tracking timelines to reviewing workload and allocating team resources. A good project management tool will help simplify those processes and more.
What to look for in a project management tool
The market is full of project management software boasting incredible results, but a large percentage of these tools are for general use and may not provide the specific features you need. Agencies operating in the marketing or ad industries should seek out tools that are designed to support file sharing, feedback loops, and team collaboration. We’ll dig into your best options a little later.
The best tool for your agency will depend on the work you do with your clients, your current workflows, and your business priorities. However, there are a few must-have features you should look out for, regardless of your agency’s specialty:
- Time tracking: You need to understand how your team’s time is being spent. A built-in time tracking tool allows you to monitor billable hours, workload distribution, utilization, and burn.
- Integrations: It's important that your tools speak to each other, so you'll want to find project management software that offers integrations to make it easy to send and receive project information from the rest of your tech stack.
- Task tracking: Whether you prefer a kanban board or a simple task dashboard, your project management software should make it easy to see who is working on what, which tasks are coming up next, where delays are occurring and what dependencies you need to keep an eye on.
- Customization: While most project management tools offer pre-made templates that can be handy for getting you started, you’ll need to be able to customize your software to align with your existing workflows.
- In-app communication: Collaboration is the bedrock of any successful agency, so select a tool that supports communication at a task, job, and client level.
- Great UX: Barriers to adoption, like poor UX or a lack of training resources, can make employees hesitant to use new tools. Slow load times, impossible navigation, and confusing layouts can negate the benefits of investing in a new tool.
The best project management software for agencies
Ready to find the right project management software for your agency? Let’s take a look at your options.
Forecast for intelligent management
Forecast enhances the project management process with the use of AI-powered assistance. Using its intelligent AI, Forecast helps teams integrate their project management processes to make planning, resource management, and timesheet completion more efficient.
Forecast helps to increase the success of your projects by learning from what has worked and failed in the past. Perfect for teams that love to plan, the AI helps you mitigate the risks of projects failing and enables more accurate estimations of time and cost. With collaboration, time tracking, and reporting all housed under one roof, your agency’s project management is about to reach new heights.
- AI-powered assistance
- Workload management
- Time tracking & resource allocation
- To-do lists
- Budget tracking
- Insights & forecast
- Project plans
- Gantt charts, kanban boards, and more
- Invoice creation & accounting integrations
Price: Starting at $29/seat/month with a minimum of 10 seats.
ClickUp for customization
Designed for virtual teams, ClickUp uses custom-built templates to create structure within businesses. ClickUp is built around tasks, which can be viewed in several different project styles, with built-in comments, to-do lists, assignments, automations, and time estimates.
- Scrum boards
- Reports & insights
- Drag and drop automation
- One-look code and deployment status
Pricing: Free for personal use. From $5 per user per month for small teams.
Jira for agile teams
Jira is touted as the top project management tool for agile software development teams, but can also be used by marketing teams. As Jira is designed for agile work, it’s incredibly flexible and supports the ongoing communication necessary for teams that adapt to frequent project changes.
- Multiple views & dashboards
- Task assignments
- Comments & assigned comments
- Time estimations
- Automations & dependencies
- To-do lists
- Email integration
Pricing: Free to use for up to 10 users. From $7.50 per user per month for larger teams.
Toggl for small teams
Toggl Plan and Toggl Track work together to help teams manage workload and track their time. Both tools are easy to use, with simple dashboards and drag-and-drop features, and are beautiful to look at (hello, design agencies). Toggl’s products are designed specifically for small teams, so large organizations looking for extensive features should look at Forecast or ClickUp. Designed with creative agency workflows and consultancies in mind, Toggl is simple and beautiful.
- Project & resource planning
- Task management
- Flexible tasks that store all information in one place
- Employee time tracking & budgeting
- Billing, invoicing & payroll
- Client access
- Mobile app
Pricing: Free for up to 5 users. Toggl Track from $9 per user per month. Toggl Plan from $8 per user per month.
CoSchedule for marketing teams
Marketing agency project management requires a specific approach supporting execution and planning. CoSchedule provides marketing agencies with everything they need to launch their best content campaigns, with a visual marketing calendar and marketing suite that boasts a family of agile products.
- Visual marketing calendar
- In-app collaboration
- Publish and remote via integrations
- Content optimization
- Workflow implementation
- Asset folders
Pricing: CoSchedule’s marketing calendar is free to use for one user, increasing to $39 per user per month when billed annually. If you want to access their full suite of tools, their sales team can help.
Need something task-specific?
Your tech stack doesn’t need to be limited to one tool. Why not supplement your project management system with one of these task-specific tools that support productivity?
Qwilr for smarter proposals
The first step in any project management journey is getting the project approved. Qwilr uses sleek templates to help your client services team create engaging proposals tailored to your client with interactive features, including price calculations, approvals and integrated payments. You can even add video elements, which is perfect for showcasing your ad agency’s experience with creative direction.
- Customizable and on-brand templates
- Drag & drop editing
- Editable proposals that you can adjust after sending
- Integrations to merge buyer data
- Nifty interactive features: ROI calculator, embedded videos, dynamic pricing
- E-sign approvals
- Integrated pricing and payments
Pricing: Starting at $35 per user per month.
Loom for Video Feedback
Sometimes, feedback needs to be explained more thoroughly than what you can communicate via email. But every agency worker knows how challenging it can be to find ten minutes when everyone is free.
Loom is a video messaging software that allows you to share in-depth feedback on creative work using its screen and voice recording software. This supports agency project management by enabling employees to review feedback in their own time and return to it whenever they need (hello, accountability and feedback documentation!)
- Screen, webcam, and audio recorder
- Links to videos
- Drawing tools
- Markups & comments within videos
- Folders to build a resource library
Pricing: Free for up to 50 creators, with limited storage capacity. Paid plans start at $8 per creator per month.