The ultimate guide to switching agency project management software

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Does your agency's project management software live up to your expectations? 

Only 35% of project managers report being somewhat or very satisfied with their organization's project management process — and not having the right tools is a big part of that. 

With more project management challenges to deal with than ever before, today's project teams need the best possible project management tools in their arsenal. If your agency's current project management platform isn't getting the job done, it's time to upgrade.

To help you get the ball rolling, we'll cover everything you need to know about switching your agency's project management software in the guide below. 

How to know when you need to switch your project management software

There are a few red flags that signal that your project management tool needs an upgrade:

Doesn't fit your agency's size and needs

As your agency grows, what it needs from its project management software is bound to evolve as well. Maybe your existing platform doesn't support enough users or doesn't offer a customizable pricing structure to support agencies of all sizes. Or maybe it lacks the automation features your agency needs to streamline redundant tasks. 

Whatever the reason you've outgrown your software, your agency's growth will be stunted until you implement a better solution.

Lacks key features to efficiently manage agency work

Agencies need certain project management features to manage client work in a productive and profitable way. Here are some important features for agency teams:

  • Subtasks: By separating tasks into subtasks, you can break down projects into granular milestones to better track and measure progress.

  • Task dependencies: If you need to complete one task in order to begin another, task dependencies allow you to do so. Marking tasks as dependent upon the completion of other tasks ensures that everything gets done in the correct order.

  • Time tracking: When you can track time, you can monitor how long employees spend on each task and how long projects take overall — which is critical information when invoicing your clients.

  • Profitability report: It’s vital to have visibility into which projects are bringing in the most profit and how much your resources are contributing to the bottom line.  A profitability report will enable you to automatically keep track of profitability across users, projects, and clients. 

  • Resource planning: Resource management features ensure that you have the resources available to complete a project and help you assign resources more economically and effectively.

  • Workload planner: This will help you keep a close eye on individual team members' bandwidth, preventing anyone from being over or underutilized.

Project management platforms such as Teamwork will offer all of these useful important features and more. If your current project planning tool doesn't offer these features, it may be time to switch. 

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Inadequate client access

Digital marketing agencies, branding agencies, and many others often take on projects requiring direct client involvement. If your existing project management software doesn't allow you to add unlimited client users, it stifles collaboration with clients and leads to dissatisfaction.

However, you don't necessarily want your clients to see everything your team sees. That's why, in addition to unlimited client access, your project management platform should include privacy features that allow you to control what your clients can and can't see.

Limited integration actions

The ability to integrate with other apps and tools that your agency uses is a big part of the value offered by project management software. Integrations with apps such as Slack, Gmail, Hubspot, and Microsoft Teams allow you to create synergy between the tools that your team uses and unlock a range of new features and capabilities.

However, many project management platforms only offer a limited number of integration actions.

While project management platforms like and Wrike limit your monthly integration actions based on your pricing plan, Teamwork allows for unlimited integration actions across all pricing plans. This means that you can avoid the hassle of calculating how many integration actions your team is likely to perform in any given month.

Hidden costs and features

Limited features and functionality can create plenty of indirect costs for agencies using an inadequate project management platform. Sometimes, though, using the wrong solution can also create direct costs. 

If hidden costs and features that you have to pay extra for keep popping up with your existing project management software, then that's all the more reason to switch to a product with a more straightforward and transparent pricing structure.

What agencies should look for when switching project management software

The project management software market is expected to grow at a rate of 10.67% from 2018 to 2028, with new cloud-based collaboration tools and project management platforms becoming available all the time. 

But with so many project management solutions available, how do you know which one is best for your agency? Here are the top features that you should look for:

Designed specifically for agency work

The best project management software for agencies will be specifically designed for agency work. Simple enough, right?

Everything goes way smoother when you use the right tool for the job. With features like unlimited client access, privacy control features, resource utilization, and billable time tracking, Teamwork is ideally designed for agency work. 

Find out why over 6,000 agencies (and counting) trust Teamwork for project management.

Can manage complex projects

When managing complex projects, you need a project management tool that can break projects down into tasks and subtasks. By breaking down projects to a granular level, your team will be able to complete projects brick-by-brick, making complex projects a little less complex.

Easy setup and user-friendly interface

Being feature-rich doesn't have to mean that a solution is difficult to use. In fact, what good are all those features if they don't make life easier for you and your team? 

By choosing a project management platform that offers easy implementation and an intuitive, user-friendly interface, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free transition to the new platform.

Billable time tracking

How much agencies charge clients for completing a project often depends on how much billable time is spent on the project. For this reason, it's important to use a solution that will allow you to track the time spent working on the project — by team member and overall.

Project performance visibility

Along with choosing a project management solution that makes it easy to track billable time, you should also look for software that will enable you to track project performance and track progress. With Teamwork, you have access to an interactive dashboard that provides unmatched visibility into project performance so that you can keep a finger on your project's pulse in real time.

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Unlimited client access

Along with tools for effective team collaboration, agencies also need to be able to involve their clients in projects. (This is especially true for agencies that need to collaborate on creative projects.) 

Unfortunately, some project management platforms charge add-on fees for client access. With Teamwork, you can add unlimited clients to your projects while also leveraging privacy controls to determine what they can and can't access.

No limit on integration actions

Do you know exactly how many integration actions your team performs each month? Because if you don't, any software that limits them by plan will make it really tough to determine which of those plans to choose.

You'll also likely be forced to upgrade your plan just to increase your integration actions limit.

Unfortunately, many project management platforms have decided to limit how many integration actions their users get. With Teamwork, you can enjoy the benefits of our platform's powerful integrations without worrying about exceeding an integration actions limit. (And this is true regardless of the plan that you choose!)

Scales with your agency

The final quality that agencies should prioritize in project management software is scalability. What your agency will require two, five, or 10 years down the road likely won't be the same as what it needs today.

Unless you want to replace your project management software again as soon as your agency outgrows it, you'll need to choose a solution that can scale along with you. 

This is why Teamwork offers multiple plans, from our Free Forever plan to our custom-priced Scale plan that provides serious horsepower for larger organizations.

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Steps for successfully switching your agency’s project management software

Once you've found a project management platform that checks off every box on your agency's checklist, there's still a little more work to be done before the switch is complete.

1) Prepare your agency and communicate the benefits

It's important to get buy-in from the stakeholders and decision-makers who approve the purchase of new project management software and the team members who will use it. This starts with letting your agency know what to expect from the new software and communicating its benefits.

2) Understand your employees' reservations

No matter what new project management software you choose or the reasons behind the switch, not everyone on your team will be happy about it at first. After all, change is hard — even when it's for the better. Taking the time to listen to your employees' reservations about switching solutions can help ensure that you choose a new project management platform that will mitigate those concerns. It also ensures that your employees feel heard, which can go a long way toward getting everyone's buy-in.

3) Show commitment and support from leadership

Speaking of bringing everyone on board, it's important that your agency's leadership demonstrates commitment and support when implementing new project management software. Reinforce the idea that the new solution represents the best path forward, and offer as much support as possible throughout the transition.

One key way agencies can support employees when transitioning to new project management software is with thorough onboarding and training, which brings us to the next step...

4) Set aside time for onboarding and training

Whichever software you switch to, there's bound to be a learning curve before your employees are as proficient with the new software as they were with the old one. But you can greatly reduce this ramp-up period with proper onboarding and training.

It's also important to choose project management software designed to facilitate user training and a smooth onboarding process. Teamwork, for example, provides users access to Teamwork Academy — a comprehensive training platform complete with various video, written, and interactive e-learning courses.

5) Tie in your long-term goals and vision

If you want to establish buy-in, it's important to show how switching to new project management software ties into the agency's long-term vision and goals. By explaining how the new software will help your agency achieve its goals and grow its profitability, you can ensure that everyone at your agency is motivated and ready to begin the process of making the switch.

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Teamwork: The project management tool built for agency success

If your agency is ready to upgrade its project management software, there are plenty of great reasons to choose Teamwork as your next solution! As a project management platform built for agency success, Teamwork offers all the features that your agency needs to level up its project management abilities. This includes powerful features such as:

  • Time tracking and logging features

  • Unlimited client access with privacy controls

  • Unlimited integrations and integration actions with over 2,000 apps

  • Dashboards for unmatched project visibility

  • Easy implementation and effortless onboarding via Teamwork Academy

To get started enjoying these and the many more features and benefits that Teamwork provides, sign up for Teamwork today!

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