Laurentiu Bancu
Laurentiu Bancu

A very practical guide to start managing your projects

To manage projects from start to finish can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not a certified project management professional. Does “hammock activity”, “prince2” or “critical path” ring any bells? No? Then this practical guide is for you (no vague or abstract stuff included). Actually there are many people who lead and manage all sorts of projects and they aren’t even called “project managers”.

It also happens sometimes to find ourselves in a project manager position with very little or no experience in managing projects. If that’s your situation, this practical guide is meant to help you get the engine started and at least make sure your project is on – what you believe to be – the right track. We’ll take a look at every detail (and see how Paymo can help along).

You (really) need a plan to manage projects

Every project has a planning part, but in this case I’m referring at the big picture and not a specific part of the project. The first thing you need to do is understand and visualize the final product by asking some important questions:

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Laurentiu Bancu
Laurentiu Bancu

How Paymo helped a Montreal Agency play with the big boys at the Cannes 2016 Lions Festival

We continue today our series of conversations with Paymo customers with Phoenix the Creative Studio, a marketing agency that specializes in branding, interactive solutions and visual communication in different forms. The company was recently present at Cannes Lions Festival, the biggest creative and design festival in the world, where their “Cannes Survival kit” was a big success. Fouad Mallouk, the company president was kind enough to answer our questions.

Fouad Mallouk

Hey Fouad, tell us a little bit about Phoenix the Creative Studio. When was it founded?

I’ve been in the industry for a little over 18 years and owned 2 agencies prior to Phoenix. In 2014 my two partners and I decided to refresh, rebrand and realign our values. The only way to really achieve this was to start from scratch.

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Laurentiu Bancu
Laurentiu Bancu

Visual Kanban boards, major UI improvements and new desktop widgets

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve just released a new feature that allows you to create visual Kanban boards, major online app interface improvements, along with new desktop widgets for Windows and MAC OS X.

The Kanban boards allow you to organize tasks in columns of “cards” and easily move them around.

Project managers can use progress Kanban boards to prioritize team tasks and create specific and sequential workflow states like: “Backlog” > “To do” > “In progress” > “Done”.

To access the Kanban boards go to “Project” > “Tasks” > and in the top right corner switch to Progress Board.

visual Kanban boards
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Laurentiu Bancu
Laurentiu Bancu

Paymo – Hubstaff integration

We’re pleased to announce that Paymo integrates with Hubstaff, a time tracking app with screenshots, activity levels and in-depth reports. Check below what this Paymo – Hubstaff integration allows you to do.

Paymo integrates with Hubstaff

Automatic Paymo Time Tracking

  • Track and sync time for Paymo tasks automatically.
  • View due dates and updates for Paymo tasks.
  • Pay workers for time spent working on Paymo tasks.
  • Generate custom reports to meet your needs.

Track time worked on Paymo tasks automatically

Desktop time tracking software for Paymo – Hubstaff’s time tracking application for Paymo works on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. It integrates seamlessly with Paymo tasks.

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Elizabeth Harrin
Elizabeth Harrin

7 Reasons Why Excel Is Putting Your Project At Risk

Managing time, cost, resources and quality is crucial to your business. The processes around those are critical to your success and the success of your clients. So why are you still putting your faith in spreadsheets?

We’re not anti-spreadsheets. They are great for some types of data analysis like pivot tables. However, they aren’t great for managing projects. Whether you are working with waterfall, Agile or another project management approach, successfully completing a project requires you to be on top of a lot of strands of information at any one time.

Here is why you shouldn’t leave that success in the hands of what Forbes calls the most dangerous software there is.

Risk #1: No Specialized Features

We’ve all seen them: project plans created in Excel by coloring in cells that represent days or weeks. The trouble is that when the plan moves – and it will – there is a huge overhead to update those colored boxes.

Excel project management lacks the specialized features that allow you to manage the day-to-day challenges of project work. A new requirement? You have to amend the whole plan to add in a single line. A team member off sick for a month? You have to consult various tabs and files to find out who can step in.

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Laurentiu Bancu
Laurentiu Bancu

Improved project billing, planning and price estimates

Starting today, there will be three types of projects in Paymo (by billing type):

  1. Time & Materials – these are generally used for service contracts or any other type of work in which the client agrees to pay the contractor based upon the time spent to perform the work, and for materials/expenses incurred during the project.
  2. Flat rate – used when the client agrees to pay the contractor a lump sum for fulfillment of the project (no matter how much time is spent in order to deliver the project).
  3. Non-billable – for projects that you’re not going to bill (Eg. internal projects)

Types of projects in Paymo

When creating/editing a time & materials project, you can choose the rate that has priority. If the hourly rate for the selected option is not set, the system will use the next rate that has been set in this specific order: user rate, task rate, project rate, company rate.

A time & materials project can have three types of tasks (by billing type): time-based tasks, flat rate tasks and non-billable tasks. The time-based tasks are based upon time spent to perform the work, the flat rate tasks have a fixed price associated with them and non-billable tasks for activities that won’t be invoiced.

Accurate price estimates for your clients

You can set up task hourly rates, estimated hours and flat task rates by switching to the table view (click on the “Table view” icon in the top right corner of the tasks section for the project). Once they are set Paymo will calculate price estimates for each task and a total for the project (shown at the bottom of the screen).

Paymo project advanced view

In future updates we’ll be adding a feature that will allow you to convert the price estimate calculation into a shareable Paymo Estimate.

You can find out more about these features in our knowledge base or you can write your opinion in the comments section below.

36 Comments on Improved project billing, planning and price estimates

Laurentiu Bancu
Laurentiu Bancu

Most small to midsize businesses are still not using PM software

That’s the key finding of a recent report released by research and reviews firm Software Advice. The company receives hundreds of project management software consultation requests annually and has selected for this study a random sample of recent consultations to learn more about SMB buyers searching for cloud-based PM solutions. In this context PM software acquisition remains a top business priority.

Important Findings

  • The majority of SMB buyers (60%) are looking to purchase PM software for the first time, a trend that has remained the same since 2014.
  • The two most-requested software tools are task management (70%) and reporting (49%) — a split between basic and advanced functionality.
  • First-time buyers cite the need to automate processes (30%) as their main purchase driver, while most repeat buyers want to improve ease of use (32%).

Majority of Prospective Buyers Aren’t Using PM Software

Just one-third of the buyers in this year’s sample (35%, combined) are currently using project management software to manage their projects. On the other hand, a combined 60% are still using manual methods (pen and paper, email or spreadsheets), non-PM software (Microsoft Office or Google Apps) or nothing at all.

prospective buyers’ current methods
Current methods
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Laurentiu Bancu
Laurentiu Bancu

Special offer for web and creative agencies

UPDATE: This offer has expired.

We’ve partnered with ViewFlux to offer a great deal to creative teams: when you subscribe to Paymo, you receive a free lifetime subscription to ViewFlux (a $700 yearly value)!

About ViewFlux

ViewFlux is a tool for web and creative agencies who want to manage their design projects with ease. You can share your work, make presentations and interactive prototypes, gather feedback and deliver the project assets when a project is finished.

Campaign terms and conditions

Who’s eligible

  • you have to be a new subscriber. This is a time limited offer, therefore accounts created after April 15, 2016 cannot participate.
  • you need to remain a Paymo subscriber for at least 6 consecutive months.

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Camelia Zoica
Camelia Zoica

Inside Project Management: Well Placed Cactus

We’re happy to continue our small Inside Project Management series today with Well Placed Cactus, a team of enthusiastic and experienced developers focused on providing superior creative solutions, including games, apps, interactive art installations, AR & VR solutions, as well as training and education programs. I spoke to Jack Gillespie, their CEO, who gave us some great insights into their company workflow.

Well Placed Cactus

Tell us a little bit about Well Placed Cactus

Well Placed Cactus was founded in 2011 by its three directors. Since then, the team has grown to 7, with workers all over the eastern coast of Australia. We are a team of creative digital developers who work on a variety of projects including virtual reality, augmented reality, mobile and web apps, video games, and interactive installations.

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Elizabeth Harrin
Elizabeth Harrin

5 Time Management Trends for 2016

Time management

Time management and time tracking is something that occupies a lot of our – you guessed it – time as project managers and leaders at work. Where are these activities going? It’s hard to predict the future, but let’s give it a go! Here’s my top 5 time management trends to watch out for in 2016.

More Multitasking

You don’t have to look hard to find studies that say multitasking is bad for your brain.

A now-famous 2009 research study by Stanford University put students through three tests, each designed to highlight what multitaskers were better at than people who didn’t routinely multitask in a multimedia environment. In each test, the multitaskers came out worse.

Conclusion: people who are frequently barraged with electronic information from several streams have worse attention, poorer memories and lower abilities to switch between tasks than people who work on one thing at a time.

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