Project Management Process Guidelines

January 2, 2019

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This will be fun we swear!

 
 

Why are we here?

Because we’re scaling. And we’re scaling fast. Thank you all for joining the team, and staying with us through a tumultuous first few months where we've closed HALF A MILLION DOLLARS in sales.

But as we know, growth doesn’t come without its pain points - and process might be our biggest one. We’re going to lay the groundwork for how you should be working to work out some of the kinks, with weekly check-ins to talk through pain points and potential optimizations or pieces of feedback for this process as we know it will always be able to be improved.

What matters to us?

Mission

We’re the first collaborative freelance platform connecting teams of professionals together to tackle projects they’re passionate about. And to meet this, each team is supported by a project manager and process that makes it seamless to work together, understand what’s needed and produce beautiful work.

Vision

To be known as the most ethical, inclusive, easy to use collaborative freelance platform where freelancers are able to collaborate to work on things they’re passionate about with other experts.

Goals & KPI’s

  1. 90% of clients are have positive sentiment and 75% are coming back for more than 1 project.

  2. 90% of freelancers have positive sentiment and are hoping to come back to work on another project.

  3. 90% of the freelancers sourced are considered a good match for the project and stay on start to finish.

  4. 40% of timelines created are met, with the fluctuation if not only to push 3 weeks.

  5. 100% of projects come in on or under budget.

Questions to be assessed for PMs monthly

  1. Were the clients happy with their experience with Wethos? Were the freelancers?

  2. Were the teams formed and onboarded smoothly? Was communication clear and the next steps made easy for the teams?

  3. Were problems flagged early, and proactive solution oriented steps taken by the team?

  4. Did the projects end up on time, in budget and with quality work?


 
 
 

Roles & Responsibilities

Today, there are 6 core roles in executing and deploying teams at scale, each stakeholder is responsible for a vital part in our success or failure. Great teaming requires trust, distributed leadership, reliability, and shared understanding, and if one of these roles is missing or lacks accountability, it will have a domino effect on the rest of the team.

 
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The Process Owner

  • Define mission, vision, goals, tactics, KPIs, and measures of processes

  • Organize material and write process documents

  • Edit, standardize, or make changes to documents

  • Monitor and report process performance

  • Come up with process improvement plans

  • Enforce process standards

 
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The Documentation Writer

  • Ensure all records are up-to-date

  • Make sure documents are availability for inspection at any time

  • Maintain an accurate up-to-date filing system

  • Archive, store and destroy obsolete documents

  • Compile all necessary documentation, files, and notes for a project kick-off to deliver to Project Managers via Dropbox

 
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The Project Manager

  • Work with Account Managers to close sales and create timelines

  • Work with resource manager to source and brief team members

  • Reviewing deliverables to ensure it’s on-brief and any feedback is incorporated

  • Sending deliverables and tracking feedback

  • Creating and managing timelines and due dates

  • Scheduling calls & presentations

  • Flag issues or out of scope work to Account Managers

  • Send consistent, weekly internal and external recaps on progress, blockers, and upcoming due dates

 
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The TEAM STRATEGIST

  • Sales calls, scoping, closing sales in new biz & growing existing business

  • General oversight of projects and project management

  • Managing client expectations

  • Flagging work that is out of scope to client

  • Adjusting and editing scopes as needed throughout the project and getting client approval with visibility from Director of Accounts

 
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The Director of Accounts

  • Getting all necessary paperwork and SOWs signed by both the organizations and freelancers

  • Tracking billing cycles, invoices, and contracts

  • Invoicing and billing clients

  • Paying out freelancers on-time

  • Working with bookkeepers to actualize revenue on a monthly basis

 
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The Resource Manager

  • Search and locate qualified freelancers to fill team roles

  • Provide emails, bios, portfolio links to project managers

  • Manage sourcing additional freelancers as needed

 
 

Great teaming requires trust, distributed leadership, reliability, and shared understanding.

 

Process Flow Chart

 
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Step-by-Step Guidelines


Inquiry Call


KEY ROLES

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FLOW CHART GUIDE: SHAPES & COLORS

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TEAM strategists are to initiate sales process

  • Team Strategist & Documentation Writer take the initial call, notes are to be put into the contact card in Hubspot

  • If the initial call turns into a scopable project, the TS will then scope the work and begin negotiations with the perspective client

  • If the initial call is just a general conversation, TS is to send over general sales materials and register their lead into the reengagement funnel

  • Documentation Writer is to log a reminder for the TS to follow up in 2 weeks time or within whatever timeframe the prospect may have stated they would have a project

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Action Plans & SOWs


KEY ROLES

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Important LINKS

SOW Timeline Template


EXPECTED TIMING

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FLOW CHART GUIDE: SHAPES & COLORS

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Bring in the Project Manager sooner than kick-off to own timeline

  • Team Strategist to create action plan for the client and send via email, asking for a call to review

  • Once in negotiation and TS is 70% sure this will close, the TS will assign a PM to the project

    • A structured email is to be sent to the PM with the following:

      • Project level: light (e.g. social assets, 1-3 hours/week), medium (single website, 3-5 hours/week), hard (full campaign, 5-10 hours/week), producer needed (20+ hours/week)

      • Timing

      • Deliverables

How will Project Managers know when they’re on a project?

Project Managers will be assigned by Team Strategists and you will be responsible for overseeing and managing your own workload. For this, Project Managers need a commitment of a set number of hours for a set number of weeks so Team Strategists can better determine how to split up projects, as well as an understanding of what types of deliverables Project Managers feel most comfortable working on. Project Managers will be able to raise their hands in daily stand-up if they’re overloaded or have free time to take on more work. Any additional hours will be spent supporting the Director of Accounts on their priorities, such as working on a playbook for how to use ActiveCollab.

  • Team Strategists are to assign PMs within 24 hours and loop the the PM directly into the chain

  • TSs will include PMs in client email chains and calls until the contract is close

What’s expected during pitching?

  • PMs will be responsible for owning the timeline in SOW, to be structured using this this template

    • When pitching a prospect, PMs are expected to be responsive and fast when actively assigned to a new contract that is close to closing.

      • IF client is okay signing without timeline: we create detailed timeline with team after briefing (this is our ideal scenario)

      • IF client needs timeline before signing: PM creates timeline, running by TS for approval, and the sourcing team needs to ensure freelance team brought on are aligned with pre-made timeline (less ideal but we’ll need to make it work)

        • Timelines should not take more than 48 hours to create (raise your hand to TSs or other PMs if you need help or a second opinion, since timelines have been a blocker in projects in the past)

        • For sourcing: if 3 or more freelancers push back on the pre-made timeline, then that is the time to bring up to the TS. This will eliminate the current sourcing team assumptions on timeline capabilities we’re making pre-sourcing or one-off freelancer complaints on timelines

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Contract Signed


KEY ROLES

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EXPECTED TIMING

 
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FLOW CHART GUIDE: SHAPES & COLORS

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Loop in the DoA

Team Strategists are to loop in the Director of Accounts into client chain after they have received email or verbal approval that a contract will be signed.

  • DoA is to review the SOW for second pair of eyes to make sure everything is correct, add in billing details and signature blocks, duplicate the MSA, and send both directly with the client to send via HelloSign

  • Once signed, next steps that happen simultaneously include:

    1. DoA to save documents to the drive and send out an invoice link for the deposit within 24 hours of signing

    2. DoA to create Slack channel with TS + PM + Resource Manager

    3. DoA to move card in Hubspot to scope signed, alerting the team to move forward

 
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Sourcing A Team


KEY ROLES

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EXPECTED TIMING

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FLOW CHART GUIDE: SHAPES & COLORS

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BALANCE FREELANCERS WE KNOW VS. NEW ONES

Freelancers we know and have worked with are far less risky than new freelancers, so we’ll need to strike a balance between using talent we know for a smooth project but also getting new freelancers on-boarded and into the mix.

  • For every role, the TS will recommend one vetted freelancer to reach out to to fill the role, and the Resource Manager will be responsible for finding two more new freelancers to reach out to in our database.

Get right to the point

When sourcing freelancers, lead with how much they’re getting paid and what the project entails, also known as the scope.

  • Freelancers need to agree to our terms, rather than ask them to set it

  • If freelancers are aligned and qualified, secure them for the project

  • We expect freelancers to say no since it’s the flexibility they’re given as a freelancer, but one “no” doesn’t mean a SOW should be thrown out.

  • DoA will create the freelancer SOW, once a Resource Manager as successfully sourced a freelancer, the DoA should be looped in to execute the contract

Gather the Briefing Materials

  • Documentation Writer is to create new Dropbox folder in Project Files saving any call notes/scripts, client documents shared in the sales process the same day or before a sale is closed

  • TS to fill-out project brief and upload it to the Dropbox

Freelancer Outreach

  • Documentation Writer is responsible for sending an email to the Resource Manager & PM to kick-off sourcing ASAP after documents are created (within 24 hours) that includes:

    1. Link to Org Google Doc SOW/Action Plan

    2. Link to Freelancer Google Doc SOW

    3. Link to Brief

    4. Link to Dropbox

    5. Link to timeline

    6. Already vetted freelancer(s) to reach out to (will need to receive from AM prior)

  • The Resource Manager is to find 4 other freelancers in the database per skill to reach out to same day, sending their emails to the PM

  • PM to send email to gain freelancer interest using the “Freelancer Sourcing Email” template

  • PM to collect responses (need to respond within 4 hours) and schedule 15 minute interviews between themselves & any new freelancers

  • Within 72 hours of the Documentation Writer’s email, the Resource Manager & PM should have the team aligned to SOW/flat rate and ready to kick-off, with their names sent to DoA & TS

  • Once a freelancer is aligned, the DoA is to send freelancer SOW for signature

What happens when no one responds within 4 hours?

  • The Resource Manager should pull all of the emails from the database under the skill and reach out to the large group to see if there are any interested applicants, and from the interested narrow down to the best fit.

What happens when there aren’t many options in the database?

  • We’ll begin sourcing outside of our network, posting in job boards or a job on Upwork to recruit talent. This is where you’ll reach out to Kristen to support.


Team Kickoff


KEY ROLES

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EXPECTED TIMING

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FLOW CHART GUIDE: SHAPES & COLORS

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Set up all project management tools

  • DoA is to to add freelancers to Slack channel & Justworks

PM to schedule 15 min internal BRIEFING CALL

  • Full team included (DoA, TS, PM, & freelancer team) with the following agenda:

    • Internal briefing will include team introductions, questions from freelancers to PM/AM, review of PM timeline, and process/payment clarifications from DoA

    • DoA is responsible for making our freelancer flat rate process clear so freelancers are aware that they are agreeing to a flat rate and that shouldn’t change unless there is a clear client ask that changes it, at which point the freelancer needs approval before moving forward from the TS (see payments section)

PM TO SCHEDULE EXTERNAL KICK OFF CALL

  • Includes client, TS, PM, & freelance team

    • PM to send out intro email (template here) to the client for the team with agenda

    • External KO call will include team introductions, client to talk over mission and goals, freelancers to directly ask questions, and PM to reiterate the timeline

    • PM to take notes in project brief (started by the TS previously), circulate notes via email recap, and save the project brief file to Dropbox

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Project Management


KEY ROLES

 
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EXPECTED TIMING

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FLOW CHART GUIDE: SHAPES & COLORS

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PMs will take on additional responsibilities and work directly with Team strategists

  • PM is to blow out timeline within 24 hours and get both internal alignment and client alignment on expectations

  • Timelines are created by PM and agreed to by freelancers (if small tweaks need to be made they shouldn’t affect the drop deliverable date), and PMs are responsible to keep the project on time

PMs are to review deliverables before they are shipped to the client

  • When freelancers complete deliverables, they are to upload to the project’s Dropbox and then send the Dropbox link to Slack

    1. PMs are responsible for communicating this process and the organization of their project’s Dropbox, keeping it clean and clear and advising the freelancers on where and how to save

  • PM to review the deliverables, making sure all revisions have been addressed, brand guidelines are followed, and brief/timeline is being met

    1. To be clear, this isn’t creative direction feedback, but making sure the work is done correctly

  • Once approved by the PM, PM to send deliverable to the client

  • With feedback, PM to ensure freelancer receives and is clear on the feedback

    1. If not, PM to send consolidated questions to the client from the team

    2. PM only to loop in freelancer to client comms when their expertise is needed for a subject matter, and for presentations

Client calls and presentations

  • For client calls, freelancers should always present their own work, with PMs supporting by sending over materials beforehand, talking over next steps at the end, and sending out notes afterwards

  • Presentation templates:

    • Concepts/Strategy

    • Pure designed assets & revisions: PM responsible for combining or formatting PDFs so they’re in the right order and condensed for client review

    • Wrap-up report

WHEN PROBLEMS ARISE

    • Issues to flag directly to TS in stand-up are as follows:

      1. A freelancer has flagged that they are out of scope

      2. A client is unhappy or upset

      3. There is confusion that cannot be resolved by reaching out and asking the clients directly

      4. A client has requested something that is out of scope or asks for more rounds of revisions than is in the scope

      5. We need to issue a refund and/or remove/replace a freelancer on a project

        1. After the TS approves the swap, PM will repeat the sourcing process above and pull in Resource Manager

    • Issues that can and should be handled by the PMs are as follows:

      1. Timelines requested to being pushed back

      2. Timelines missed by freelancers or clients

        1. To get ahead of this, the PM should communicate timeline expectations in weekly emails, and follow-up within 4 hours of a deliverable being missed

      3. Questions about the project that can be answered by reaching out to the client

      4. Questions about deliverables that can be answered by the freelancers themselves

      5. Additional documents or information that can be gathered from the client

        1. Yes this may cause them to repeat themselves, that's ok


WEEKLY UPDATES

Project managers are to send a weekly internal recap on the state of their projects to the internal team in Slack, and another cleaner version for external team in Email every Friday

Internal Recap Format

  • Big wins of the week!

  • Deliverables and expectations for next week per project

  • Blockers from internal team on meeting timeline (hopefully none but just in case)

External Recap Format

  • Recap of the week, progress made

  • Visualization of timeline, what’s upcoming the next week

  • Sending out holds on the freelancers and the clients calendars for deadlines we expect them to hit next week

  • Deliverables we’ll need from them in the next week to prep them with deadlines

  • Feel free to add some personality into these with gifs or things that happened in the news during the week!

DAILY STAND-UP

A 15 minute digital status where every PM should spend ~2 minutes posting DDB’s (done, doing blocked), to the #PM slack channel by 10:45am. For example:

  • Done: wireframes approved for policing, team sourced for FREE’s PR

  • Doing: kick-off call for FREE, sending new timeline over for TAA

  • Blocked: awaiting new freelancer recommendations from Al for Repeat Roses

Team Strategists are to be online and in the #pm channel every day from 10:45am to 11am to review, unblock, or call anyone who needs help.

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Payments


KEY ROLES

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IMPORTANT LINKS

Link to QuickBooks for invoices

Link to Drive for contracts


EXPECTED TIMING

 
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FLOW CHART GUIDE: SHAPES & COLORS

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Billing & Invoicing

DoA is directly responsible for handling all payments for the freelancers and organizations, freelancers will invoice through ActiveCollab their agreed upon flat rate.

  • For projects less than a month, freelancers will be paid the entire amount upon project completion

  • For projects more than 2 months, freelancers are to invoice and be paid on a monthly basis based on the percentage of the project completed

Scope increases

  • IF there is a scope increase and the freelancer should be paid more than in the SOW, the freelancer needs to get approval on the increase by the PM (who will take to the TS) before working on it. If so, the PM needs to alert the DoA on the increase once approved.

    • PMs must alert freelancers that they won’t be getting paid past the agreed upon rate without prior approval on the change.

      • Any time the deliverables change and the freelancers is going to go above scope, they need to flag to us immediately and get approval before moving forward

      • If there is an invoice that comes through for more than is in the SOW, the DoA needs to flag to the PM/AM immediately before paying and resolve the issue

  • DoA is to handle payments for any OOP costs (domain names, media, etc)

    • Note: if freelancers are covering OOP costs (like videography equipment) they must provide receipts to be reimbursed and AMs must get client email approval first for anything that is outside of OOP costs outlined in the scope

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Project wrap up


KEY ROLES

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EXPECTED TIMING

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FLOW CHART GUIDE: SHAPES & COLORS

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CLIENT WRAP UP

Within 48 hours of final delivery of a project, PMs should reach out to the clients for a call between the TS, DoA, & client to discuss how the project went and future opportunities

  • No email template, just make sure it fits naturally into your project close-out comms and by making sure we have time on their calendar for a project end conversation

  • Wrap-up calls will be lead by the TS, asking a series of questions on their experience, and then discussing future opportunities - DoA to take notes on the call

  • PMs to share Dropbox link of the final creative in pm Slack channel and DoA will notify the marketing team when they’re able to post if approval is received on the wrap-up call

    • If they tag Marketing, Marketing may run with it before we’ve got approval, and the TS/DOA should notify Marketing bc the PM won’t be on the call.

TEAM WRAP UP

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