Playbook for Digital Agencies

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Finding the sweet spot with balancing the team's client workload
Understanding how busy your team ーand making sure they are at just the right levelー is one of the hardest balancing act of a digital agency. Solving it is a challenge as well because every tool tackles it a bit differently: Resource Guru, Float, Harvest, 10k ft, Mavenlink, and Accelo all have their own approach. To further muddy the solution waters, studio managers and PMs hack away at some beautifully colorful Excel and Google Sheets to solve their resourcing needs; they are all a bit different and unique.
Why do we call our people resources? Whereas resources in a factory may be raw materials like metal or wood, and the things that go into production like the factory, electricity, in digital agencies, resources are your people and their time. Through your team's knowledge, skills, and abilities ー and over timeー they produce things clients need: websites, campaigns, digital assets, IT transformation. While "resources" comes from production and consultancies, agencies have taken on the word. I prefer the more human terms that I've heard agencies use like "team scheduling" or "workload balancing."
I've seen team scheduling done in four styles depending on the agency's approach and the tools that they choose to use. Moving to Coda, you can choose your own flavor. Mix and match, make something unique to your operations:
Book time for each person, each week, for the projects and tasks that they are doing. This is a common "paint by numbers" technical done in Sheets. .
Percent allocate a person to given project(s), until they have 100% allocation for a given time period. and
Take the stack of work, start and due dates with associated effort, and visualize that as the workload, by month.
Assign roles and people to a project, visualize the stack of work, in a given date range.
by Laila Robinson

For this playbook, I'll take the set of assigned to the team and visualize them in different ways for insight into the agency's total stack of work and how busy each person is.
Here are the basics of how to do effectively schedule your team:
: Define the projects coming through, the roles / tasks needed, and their rough start and end dates. With this pipeline of work coming through, you can start assigning out people based on their workload and skills.
: See how the work is stacking up over time and shift to fix everything in place. Like playing Tetris. Track ongoing work and make adjustments as timelines shift, new work comes in, and scope changes.
: View the effort workload and track towards your utilization goals. If you need to make a change, go to the previous two sections.

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