I'm going to tell you a secret: Creating systems that only serve clients without factoring in your own needs are doomed to fail. But! It doesn't have to be one or the other. ¿Por qué no los dos?, as we like to say.
We recently rolled out our Limitless Plans to equip our clients with design, development, digital marketing and data strategy services as a subscription, versus as a project. This departure from the ordinary presented a unique problem. How in the heck are we going to manage prioritization, streamline the client feedback loop and keep ourselves organized through more frequent and ever-changing client requests?
We're not new to Monday, as it's been our chosen project management platform of choice for over a year now. After a months-long, hands-on search we found it to be more focused than Asana, less clunky than Clickup, and more turnkey than Notion. But, could it also serve our clients in an easy, intuitive way?
Good news: Emphatically, yes. Here's what we did.
Step One: If you build it, they will come.
Clients are our special unicorns, and they deserve their own corner of our PMO world. We created a Clients Workspace, with a board per client.
From here, we created task/work item groups broken down into:
As a disclaimer, the client names pictured aren't actually ours, but you know what they say about putting what you want out into the ether. D&D nerds of the world, take note. We're here to make all your web design dreams come true. Holler!
Step Two: Keep it simple, silly
Forms are a no-brainer, and allow us to continuously abide by our favorite tenet of good user experience practices: don't make 'em think.
We're not shy about sharing—here's our client request form. (And if you're going to spam us with nonsense, for the love of The Raven Queen, please at least make it entertaining.)
This ensures we get the details we need to avoid a lot of email back and forth or worse, a meeting. Requests submitted here go into "Pending Requests" on the client's board until touched by a PM and pushed into "Queued Requests." We make it clear during client onboarding that the form is for new requests only, and to update existing requests they'll need to visit their workspace.
Step Three: Own it
It's funny slash frustrating how our biggest beef with Notion was too much blank white space, while Clickup, Asana and others didn't offer enough room to make it our own specific brand of weird. Call us Goldilocks, cause we think things should fit just right. Monday allows us to start with helpful templates, and then promptly break them by adding all kinds of columns and customizing the things that go in them, too.
Our aforementioned forms are mapped right into corresponding columns in the client boards, while we've added other fragments of endless possibilities with unique Statuses built around our workflows, plus a customized Types column to make sorting a breeze.
Bonus: we also have automations tied to customized fields, so that Monday does some of the heavy lifting for us, like moving tasks to the right group when the status column is changed.
Step Three: Big Macro
As Mr. Miyagi taught us to say, zoom in, zoom out. Ok, maybe that's roughly paraphrased, but the essence of keeping tasks simple applies. In order to efficiently manage projects, it's important to seamlessly see the big picture, the macro view. How do all of your client requests across all projects impact your team? What's on time, and what's falling behind? Dashboards help you zoom out to see it all, and then dive right back in to that sweet sweet micro level to get the work items done.
The more we futz with Monday's dashboards and widgets, the deeper in love we fall. There's Kanban, Gantt, timelines, calendars, resource allocation, files, pivot tables, and even social feeds. With additional integrations, you can tether any other platforms you frequent to truly make an all-in-one collaborative space.
There you have the very quickest overview of how we busted into an existing system and made it work as we need it to—not just for us, but also our clients. What are you using Monday or similar platforms for?