Galen Low is joined by Gray MacKenzie, Co-Founder of ZenPilot, to talk about project management software, whether or not you really need it, and things to avoid when selecting the right tool for your team.
- At ZenPilot, they help agencies build a gold standard operation so that they’re running healthier, more productive, more profitable teams. They help agencies streamline their ops on top of a project management platform called ClickUp. [1:45]
- Gray does not believe ClickUp’s the right fit for everybody, but that is their client filter. They only work with people who are open to using ClickUp as the vehicle to get them to the end outcome. [2:21]
- Gray shares some of the most challenging parts of the process for their clients. [3:42]
- At ZenPilot, they want to maximize their potential audience size in the agency ecosystem. And so, ClickUp was that tool. When that changes at some point in time, ClickUp will no longer be the tool that they’re tied to. [5:59]
- Gray talks about the 3 important pieces for project management: the tooling, the process component, and the people side. [8:51]
- How does an agency know when it’s time to switch tools? Typically, it’s when you hear from people, “my team doesn’t like this”. [12:45]
- The first stage of engagement that they do at ZenPilot is called the blueprint. [15:49]
- Gray shares how they help organizations decide on which tool is a tool that they need that should integrate with their courses. [18:16]
Just because a tool can do it doesn’t mean that’s the right tool.Gray Mackenzie
- One mistake that they made early on while working on top of ClickUp was the API. [22:26]
When you take a bad process and you automate it, all you’re doing is taking something bad and making it run a little bit faster.Gray Mackenzie
- One of the things that they do at ZenPilot that is way different than most implementation shops that are out there is getting the tooling in place. [30:14]
- Gray talks about the 3 pieces of getting the tooling in place: the expectation setting and training, the carrot, and the stick. [30:28]
- Gray shares his top tips for ensuring a successful PM tool implementation. [40:16]
I would a hundred percent rather have people operating in a cohesive unit together than the tooling.Gray Mackenzie
- Gray shares the unicorn feature that he thinks is missing from most project management software that would be a game changer for agencies and client services-based organizations. [43:30]
Meet Our Guest
Gray MacKenzie is the co-founder of ZenPilot, a training and consulting business that helps digital agencies build more productive, profitable, and healthy teams.
Gray has gone under the hood of over 1800 digital agencies over the past 8 years in search of the best way to deliver better client services.
He is also a bona fide process nerd and today helps agencies streamline their operations inside ClickUp.
Let’s pick the right tool for the right purpose and then make sure that they talk to each other, intelligently.Gray Mackenzie
Resources From This Episode:
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- Follow Gray on LinkedIn and Twitter
- Check out ZenPilot
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Read The Transcript:
We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.
Galen Low: Project management tools. Everyone wants to talk about them. No one's quite happy with their current one. And the quest to find the perfect tool has ballooned into a global pilgrimage.
But as much as having the right tool can increase efficiency and propel a team more quickly to their goals, a lot of the time and energy we spend talking about tools is often better spent understanding whether we have the right foundation of people, process, and clear expectations in the first place.
If you're someone struggling with PM tool acquisition syndrome, keep listening. We're going to be breaking down the foundational components and the human elements that need to be addressed first in order to realize the benefits of project management software.
Hey folks, thanks for tuning in. My name is Galen Low with the Digital Project Manager. We are a community of digital professionals on a mission to help each other get skilled, get confident, and get connected so that we can amplify the value of project management in a digital world. If you want to hear more about that, head over to thedigitalprojectmanager.com.
All right. Today, we are talking about project management software, whether you need it or whether you don't. And also some of the things to avoid when you're trying to select the right tool for your team.
And with me today is Gray Mackenzie, co-founder of ZenPilot. Gray, thanks for hanging out with us today.
Gray Mackenzie: Yeah. Thanks Galen, I'm excited to be here. And, uh, we've got a lot of commonalities between our two businesses. So this should be a, be a fun conversation.
Galen Low: Absolutely. Absolutely. We've been nerding out about project management software, project management in general, leading an agency that is profitable and growing.
I wonder, maybe this is a great opportunity. Maybe you could tell us a little bit about ZenPilot and what you do, who you help and, and what impact that has?
Gray Mackenzie: Yeah. So kind of the nutshell version, ZenPilot, we're training consulting business. We help agencies build a gold standard operation so that they're running healthier, more productive, more profitable teams.
The way we deliver that today is we help them streamline their ops on top of a project management platform called ClickUp. Our background comes from first running an agency, then building a project management software, and then ultimately solving that same like agency ops problem, but on top of someone else's software, and that specific tool today is, is ClickUp.
Galen Low: And do you only, are you strictly a ClickUp shop? Or is it kind of, whatever tool is gonna be the best fit for the organization?
Gray Mackenzie: Yeah, really good question. So I do not believe ClickUp's the right fit for everybody, but that is our client filter. We only work with people who are open to using ClickUp as the vehicle to get them to the end outcome.
That decision, so when we transitioned from running our own project management software, a platform called DoInbound, what we really wanted to keep was the ability to provide kind of high level agency ops strategy and expertise, but in a super fast tactical way.
And so special, specializing on top of one platform was the easiest way to say, you know, Hey, we've got all this pre-built stuff, all this pre-built infrastructure, we can plug in and customize on top of, but we can get you because we're just focused on agencies.
We can get you 50, 60% of the way there, kind of on day one. And so made the decision for our own internal operations, just to really simplify that and say, we'll only do it on top of ClickUp. So it's purely Click Up and that's kind of the filter we have for who we, who we get to work with, and who's not a fit.
Galen Low: I respect that. I mean, I think ClickUp is a great tool and I also respect this kind of passing of the torch. Right? You had your own proprietary management software and this is, you made that decision to say, you know what? ClickUp gets us there and they're growing a great product. You know, why not just use this?
It aligns to the framework and your philosophies of how you help agencies grow and be sustainable and just be a lot of fun to run and to succeed.
Gray Mackenzie: Yeah. I worked with a really good sales coach a couple years ago, who did not specialize on top of a specific tool, had an awesome framework. A lot of pre-built stuff, kind of sitting in Google drive.
A lot of good assets. But we're we're, running our, our internal CRM, we're on top of HubSpot. And I just remember so many times feeling like this would be really nice if all this wasn't a Google drive and we had to go translate it. And we had to figure out what would happen. Like we would get so much, we would get through so much faster if we just knew, Hey, here's exactly what we were gonna do.
We've already got templates built out, like I already knew exactly what this should look like inside HubSpot. And that was a little bit validating to me cuz you know, I've got great friends who are agency owners, you know, running eight figure agencies on top of Monday, or on top of Asana, or on top of Teamwork and all those platforms are great.
And so there's some moments where it's like, oh man, I wish that we could just service them. But they, they really tied into those platforms. They don't wanna leave those platforms. That's my encouragement to anybody. It's like, Hey, if it's working well right now, if you're happy with your current PM, then why, why mess it up and why go, why go change it?
But that was kind of a validating experience to me working with that sales coach. Like man, is this so much more powerful when somebody has really deep expertise at the ground level, as well as up in kind of the clouds and the strategy level.
Galen Low: No, I love that. And I like in some ways, and I'm, I'm, I'm running ahead here in our conversation, but in some ways, you know, fixating on the tool and all the bells and whistles and what it can do can be a distraction.
Whereas actually, it's the road to get to a destination and you should almost be, it should be turnkey enough that the things that you believe in that you know are best practices that you know how to solve the problem. You pick up that tool and you, and you solve the problem. You don't like spend a whole bunch of time looking at your hammer and like trying to figure out what your hammer does.
And like, oh, what if I use the back of the hammer? What if I use the bottom of the hammer? No, it's just, it's just, it's a tool, right? It's gonna get you to where you're going. So if it's a tool, you know well, and you know, it's gonna get you there then like, yeah, why, why change it? And to that same point, like if you can standardize, cuz I've seen this happen a lot in agencies, I've seen agencies where every project is run by a different piece of project management software or the tools are always different every time.
You just lose that efficiency. Don't build those habits. Everything is just trying to figure it out or switching gears. And it's, it's clumsy and it shouldn't be because, you know, if I was to go and cut a piece of wood, I'm gonna get my circular saw out. I'm gonna cut a piece of wood.
I'm not gonna spend a bunch of time going like, how do I use this saw again? You know, like that's not the efficient thing to do. It's about getting it done.
Gray Mackenzie: Right. I think the one other piece I'd add too on like which, or, you know, are we just a ClickUp shop or whatever, like right now that, the reason I am specific about the language that that's our client filter is that the decision that we were making at the time was what's the best fit.
What, what do we think after doing the testing and running on type of tools and everything else, what do we think is the best fit for most agencies most of the time? Obviously we want to maximize our potential audience size in the agency ecosystem. And so ClickUp was that tool. If that changes, when that changes at some point in time, like ClickUp will no longer be the tool that we're tied to.
And that was also an intentional decision because we were coming out of running an agency 10 years ago, that was particularly a HubSpot shop. And so whatever you wanted on top of HubSpot, like that was what we did. And the big challenge there is we outsourced a lot of our strategy, which has some small benefits, but also a lot of drawbacks to HubSpot. HubSpot by nature is just gonna keep expanding in functionality.
We had marketing and then all of a sudden we had sales hub and then we had support. And then we got, you know, we've got the website building. Now there's CMS hub and now operations hub, we're up to five different hubs that we're trying to build on. And that was not what we got into it for. So the, and we've seen enough of those agencies where you just get spread really thin trying to support because we're exclusively.
We've kind of tied our, our flag and our hopes and our, our stakes to one specific platform. And with the experts on that one specific platform. Although we are today, ClickUp's the largest implementation partner, and have kinda the largest team and expertise set on top of ClickUp.
The goal is never to be, we're, we just know ClickUp better than anybody else. Unless that's part of we're solving the fundamental agency problem better than anybody else and, and ClickUp's just the, the vehicle to get there.
Galen Low: I really like that. And it makes sense, like to specialize, I think one of the things that, the circles that I travel in, you know, we're all in the digital world.
And the thing about the digital world is that it's always changing. It changes really quickly, and it's hard to know everything deeply about everything. Right? In fact, it's, it's kind of like, it's futile in a way. You're not gonna know every single thing about every single thing. And that's something we have to just kind of accept.
So like I respect that in a world where there's, gosh, there's just so many tools. There's so many tools out there. There's so many options. The marketplace is saturated to the hilt. So the best idea is not to try and know everything about every tool out there. Actually, like if you can specialize deeply and it is that platform that can, you know, get done what you need to get done.
Then, like, I think that's, that's a, that's a great, that's a great decision.
Gray Mackenzie: Yeah, for sure. There's a lot of, uh, a lot of potential that comes from that.
Galen Low: Yeah. A hundred percent. Awesome.
Let's get into it. We're talking about growing agencies, and you work with a lot of different types. I'm sure, and I'm, I'm sure you see a lot of different challenges, pitfalls.
I'm just wondering when we come back to like project management, what's one of those telltale signs that makes you know that they're gonna need to replace their current project management tools?
Gray Mackenzie: Yeah. I, I view it, kind of as a holistic, like the bundle, the three pieces in any of this stuff is, what's the tooling? That's, that's the one that we all like to start with, cuz we're all marketers. We love the marketing that these tools do, like we love the shiny new tool to solve problems. And it's not that it doesn't matter. It's just that it's not the, it's not the only piece. So the tooling's important.
The second piece is the process component. You guys obviously do a ton around process. Like how do we actually systematize what we're doing? Like it's, it's not just a tool problem, but in the agency space, you think of all the, you know, you create a ton of your efficiency and a ton of your margin by having repeatable processes for how we do things.
And if those processes aren't integrated into whatever tool you're using and you don't have some templates to deploy from, and you're really efficient in terms of how you plan, and task out work and then manage and track that, and that's gonna be a big challenge. So that process piece is really important.
And then the, the third piece is the, the people side. Like, have you given your team, you know, a crystal clear set of expectations and, and rules of engagement for how they're gonna use whatever the tooling is and follow the processes? And then have you also given them the training, we call it expectation setting and enablement, but that enablement is the training and not just, you know, due dates matter.
And here's how we treat due dates. When a task gets to overdo, like, are we, do we, are we fine with that? Can we have as many over dues as we want? Or do you have to reschedule that since you can't go back and do stuff in the past? And when you do, do you have to leave a comment or not?
They need to not just know what those rules are, they need to know, Hey, how do I actually do that in the day to day and be efficient with that?
Galen Low: I love that because there are just so many tool, every organization and agency, especially, they're gonna have a lot of tools in the ecosystem. And I like what you said about this kind of like shiny object thing.
It's like, is the solution just gonna be this other tool? Like I can get a license right now. Let's just like, let's try it. Without actually going through those other two things, which is like actually having a culture of process, which doesn't mean rigidity in my books. It just means predictability.
Especially with agencies, you know, sometimes you're onboarding and offboarding like a bunch of different people onto a project that may not have been involved at the beginning, that may be new to your organization. They might be contractors, they might be vendors. And how are you setting the expectation that there is a process here to follow to give us that predictability.
And then I love that training piece because honestly, I think I've heard a lot of people really struggle with it. And I know a lot of people are kind of like, cool, we just have one half day session with somebody from ClickUp and they're gonna show us what the tool does, and then it's gonna be, you know, presso change.
Everyone's gonna know the tool and I'm gonna be able to say, well, weren't you at that training session? Whereas in reality, it's actually more about that governance. And, just like, I know that there's all these words that we use around tools and process that like seem really like rigid, but just that what you said, expectations, like what is expected if a task is over due?
What do you do? And that's just, in my books, that's like a ways of working kind of thing. Like here's the, our little contract as a project team or as an agency that this is the way we work and, you know, please, you know, set your Slack if you're away. And also if your task is, is, is coming due and it's not done yet, like let somebody know and here's what's gonna happen.
And it's not gonna be necessarily a slap on the wrist. It's not like there's any shame in it. A lot of the agencies I know they're, you know, they're just, paddle to the metal trying to, you know, do as much as they can. It's good, exciting work, but the sort of resource planning and traffic management side of things like, yeah, of course some things are going to probably slip, but the important thing is that we know, and we can react to it. Rather than just somebody ignore it and just hope for the best, and hope that the tool doesn't, you know, call them out.
But actually it's not about that. It's about people.
Gray Mackenzie: Right. Yeah. I mean, ultimately it's a, an agency model is a service. You know, it's basically a big services are like a human capital or labor arbitrage business where we buy people's hours in bulk by paying the millennial salary. And then we're trying to resell that and efficiently deliver on projects where we're then making a, a healthy profit to, to justify running a business.
And so if you, if you don't have those systems to kind of measure how you're doing along those, along those lines, it's a huge challenge. So many you'd asked kinda the original question about how do, how does an agency know when it's time to switch tools? And typically when we're hearing from people it is, my team doesn't like this.
We don't like, like there's things that we don't like. And it's not that I don't have any respect for how the experience on day to day users, but how do you know? Have you given them any of the right frameworks to know, like most of what they really want and what people would really like is clarity. And what the heck am I supposed to do and how, how am I supposed to do it?
And that's where you need all three of those pieces. I'd say the more, the more sophisticated use cases, you got agencies who actually do have a solid framework in place, and they're missing things like, Hey, I can't see, like I'm trying to do workload allocation or resource planning. And that's a big challenge in our current tool set.
So there are legitimate cases where it's like, Hey, the tool that you have, you're absolutely right. The tool is just not the tool, for it, but 90% of the time it is, we don't have a high level structure for what, what's our client journey? How does, how do each of the pieces of that client journey get delivered?
Do we have that built out? Do we have a team trained on how they're gonna execute on that? And then do we have a consistent accountability rhythm in place where someone's actually looking on a daily basis and on a weekly basis and monthly and quarterly? And what does that, you know, a lot of people say, you know, we've got checkpoints or we've got some accountability in the process.
When you ask about what that process looks like, okay, so what are you measuring on a daily basis? And then what do you look at on a weekly basis or monthly or quarterly? It might be high level project profitability, without knowing if the individual inputs are actually right. It might be a, Hey, when I feel like somebody's wasting time, I go look at the time reports and try and do the gotcha move.
But, but there's very little like healthy rhythms for accountability, which is totally natural. None of us grew up doing this, like we were terrible at this, at our, originally at our agency box. So it's not a, I don't say that from a place of judgment or we're so much better. There's a lot of grace in this.
But there's a, there are, there's a much better way, which is why, why we're in business and why there's other companies, you know, who we're trying to do the same type of thing that we're doing and that you, you guys are doing.
Galen Low: Would you say that that's kind of your, your, your method to debunk? Debunk the opinion that, oh, this tool is just not right for us.
It's not working. We need a new one and they call you and they're like, I hear ClickUp's good. Can we get ClickUp? We need a new tool. Our tool sucks. Is that kind of where you, your first protocol? To say, like, listen, let's look at your rhythms.
Gray Mackenzie: Yeah. I do think so. I think out of like, because we are solely servicing on top of ClickUp, it surprises a ton of people that I'm one of the first people to say, wait a second, like maybe, maybe you're fine on Monday. Maybe it's not a Monday versus ClickUp problem. It'd be easy to kind of get lazy and just sell off of, yeah, absolutely ClickUp will solve all those problems.
But, but, that's just setting our, ourselves up for failure and, and clients up for failure, if that was the end of the pitch. So a hundred percent like, Hey, how are you? The first thing we need to do is just understand like let's benchmark what you guys are doing right now. And then let's understand where the gap is between where we are today. What does gold standard agency operations look like for your specific type of agency?
And then what's the, what's the path to getting there? And it's gonna be a combination of those three things, the tooling and the process and the people.
Galen Low: I love that. Do you have any stories about people who arrived at that clarity and were like, actually, yeah, we can just keep using Google sheets, so we just needed clarity.
Gray Mackenzie: Less so with Google sheets, there's certainly teams on other tools that we've said, we had an agency at 40 person web agency out of Baltimore. And went through our first stage of engagement, which we call the blueprint. It's basically the, Hey, we're gonna benchmark understand where you are now. And we're gonna create the playbook for you of what this, what this needs to look like. And at the end of that playbook, it's not that ClickUp or making that migration would not be beneficial to them.
There's some pieces that they would really benefit from there around how they interact with clients and some of the flexibility and integrations with other, other tools, but it was not the right time to do that. Like they had a, a good amount of, people work to do first. And so that's, that's pretty common is that, Hey, there's some other stuff that we need to go do.
And the tool is gonna be a piece of this, but it's not necessarily the first, the first piece that we're doing.
Galen Low: I think it's that's really cool. I love that notion. I think I was, I, I got called out actually on a different podcast, to, for like, well, do people actually need project management software? Like what's wrong with just using whatever a to-do list?
You know, and like a, a word document. I was like, actually, you kind of got me there. Like, if you can get it done, I'm sure there's a scale point where that'll stop working. But if it's a small team with smallish projects and it's working, then like, yeah, absolutely. Why would you change it?
Well, and, and I think that's coming back to what you said about the shiny object syndrome that happens and this kind of like, and I, I see it as well, this kind of rampant tool acquisition syndrome, where you're just kinda like, there's a tool out there and it's shiny and it's cool.
Like how can we just jam this into our ecosystem? And I see folks do that a lot. And I was thinking I was actually like, I'm like, in some ways, I'm not a ClickUp expert, but like, I like their, the, the sort of tagline I had seen was more about, you know, one tool to rule them all, which is an interesting angle at it in the marketplace, but it's not actually what they mean.
Not literally, not like don't use any other tools. In fact, actually it's a great platform to integrate other tools. But I'm just curious. I mean, knowing that like, honestly, we did an article a while back. And it was like, well, how many tools do you, you know, touch every day as a project manager? And I think the average was like 12, and I know that for other crafts and in other folks in different roles and agencies, it's probably gonna be more.
And there are a lot of things that need to like plug in together, but like how do you help, agencies in particular, how do you help them decide which tool is a tool that they need that should integrate with their courses, some like ClickUp? Versus what is something that is maybe redundant and maybe just is present for the wrong reasons?
Gray Mackenzie: Right. I think it's a big, a big piece of value in our engagements, winds up being, what, what tools do we actually need?
Just like any software, you know, ClickUp will promise that it can do things that, it's not that it can't do it, but that maybe it's not better. ClickUp says, Hey, we've got chat. And so you don't need Slack, but their chat, if you're trying to run any third party integrations, you want whatever your Google calendar data pushing into Slack or your HubSpot data pushed into Slack, or you want to your ad spend, daily ads spend reports pushed in or whatever you want.
Like Slack's got all these native connections the ClickUp doesn't have. So just because a tool can do it doesn't mean that's the right tool. What I'm really looking for in most cases is, let's pick the best in class tools, the minimal amount of best in class tools, but use them for their specific purposes and then try and create natural connections where it makes sense.
So behind the scenes or as part of when I, when we talk about ClickUp and that's the filter, even though we won't do a project with an agency if, you know, we won't go into like an implementation if it's not on top of ClickUp, there is a lot of integrations and automation work behind the scenes that's a part of those implementation projects.
So taking our example of the CRM. HubSpot is the best in class CRM. That's what we want to use. ClickUp's best in class for project management. It doesn't, we can build out, we've got a template built for CRM inside of ClickUp, but it doesn't make sense to use when, when you've already got HubSpot and there's things natively that happen in HubSpot that are way more powerful than what happens in ClickUp for those specific use cases.
Whether we need an integration when a new deal moves to closed one, or, you know, we've closed a client, what's our workflow to take that and smoothly plan that project into ClickUp? So integrations, from that integrations into obviously your communication tool, whether that's Teams or into Slack, into your finance tool, you know, what's, how does ClickUp talk to QuickBooks? And you make sense of the financial data that's happening there.
File management email, like there's, there's all these integrations that just make sense to have. And so, yeah, it's not a, I think the way that you deal with that is just kind get what's the high level map of the tools that are absolutely critical that we need to have. Let's not try to eliminate air cram all those down, just to try and create the one tool to, to replace them all.
But let's pick the right tool for the right purpose and then make sure that they talk to each other, intelligently and where it doesn't make sense, you always gotta look at the ROI on those integrations too. What's our time to value on this, so like if we're saving two hours a week, that's great.
If it's somebody's time, it's $50 an hour or whatever, like that's awesome. But if it's gonna take us, you know, if that's a $15,000 integration to go build, that is a long payback period for that to make sense. So that's totally fine if we can't automate everything or if it's not cost effective. We then just need, going back to the process piece, then we need a really clear process for how we're gonna manually do that. That's totally fine if people have to, have to do it. The process just needs to be as bulletproof as if we, you know, did it with, with automation.
Galen Low: I think that's a really important thing. And something I picked up there is that I think there's this utopian that people are trying to achieve where all these tools come together, you know, I'm picturing, like, I don't know, I'm dating myself here, but the Power Rangers, right? All these different vehicles come together and become this one mega vehicle, robot thing.
But like, it's not really necessarily that you're gonna get these, you know, utopian blob tool that does all the things and works seamlessly together. But the important thing is that, you know what each tool is for and that it can talk to other systems. And honestly, sometimes an integration starts as just understanding the manual process of how we get something from the sales pipeline and the CRM, into the project management system.
And then maybe at the end, getting that debrief or lessons learned back out of that into the CRM. And maybe that's somebody just, you know, making sure the right data is there, including the link into the CRM so that you can get to the project and ClickUp. It's also an integration, just not like this like deep integration that we think of what we, you know, like APIs and auto magic and, you know, AI and everything. It's gonna magically happen.
It's not necessarily what you need to achieve in order to be efficient. Sure, it might be efficient, but to your point, it might cost you an arm and a leg and your payback period might be like immense. But you can probably start with something manual or like, you know, your classic export, transform, load, write a script. It's not all one machine. It's an orchestra.
Gray Mackenzie: Yeah. I think one mistake that we made early on, working on top of ClickUp was, the API on top of ClickUp was a lot more powerful than what we'd had with our, with doing, building the platform that we'd built, just cuz so little that was public.
And so you kinda get carried away with like, oh my goodness, we can create all this stuff. And agencies were thrilled. Like that's received super well obviously by people, Hey, we're gonna automate this and that and everything else. And you're, you know, you can sit on the couch and eat potato chips and make money.
And the big challenge, you're Canadian and so the, well, I gotta start saying process instead of process here, but the, when you take a bad process and you, you automate it, like all you're doing is taking something bad and just making it run a little bit faster. And so a lot of times running things intentionally and manually first where it makes sense to, you're gonna have iterations and learn, Hey, there's actually a better way to do it.
So a lot of our engagements when, the most tedious thing when we're working with an agency is all the process development that needs to happen. And there's a lot of just process coaching around. And this is one of the huge benefits obviously of being niched is like, Hey, you guys are whatever your Shopify agency, or Klaviyo agency, or, you know, Facebook ads or whatever.
You've gotten to see that you've got people who've been at a handful of different agencies. You might have perspectives from 10 or 20 different agencies. But we've got perspectives from seeing thousands of agencies like, are you sure that you actually wanna run your reporting in this way? Are you sure you actually wanna set up your campaign structure in this way? You know, track your campaign performance in this way or here's your creative pipeline?
A lot of it is, we just need to go fundamentally fix those processes first and then we can come back and start thinking about automating it. And the stuff that you know you're already good at, you already know exactly how you want that to work, absolutely, let's, let's take that and automate it. We've got variables that are not gonna be constantly changing.
But I think that's a common mistake and that's a mistake that we definitely made early on where it was like, kinda get carried away and so excited with automation. Before saying, Hey, let's, let's run this and let's make sure this is the right process first. And then go automate off of that.
Galen Low: You know, it's, it's just a no pun intended, but it's just clicking with me what you said about it being a filter.
So in other words, clients are coming to you, agencies are coming to you and they're like, listen, we are interested in, in transitioning to ClickUp for our operations. And you're like, okay, cool. You made it to the filter, but then some of your engagements actually might just be, you know what?
You don't need ClickUp, but let us help you with these processes because we've seen it. We've seen these challenges and we've solved them for hundreds, if not thousands of other organizations that look like you. And that's the value of that, of that sort of engagement. But the filter is that, you're willing to take a leap.
If you're willing to take a leap, then leap in and I'll show you that you might not need to take as big of a leap as you thought.
Gray Mackenzie: Sure. Yeah.
Galen Low: I say that, but like you said, the process part, the process design part is the tedious part. Arguably, is the bigger leap.
Gray Mackenzie: Right. Yeah, for sure.
There's in anytime. And I love the, the quote from, or the, there's a couple different people who've been, who this quote has been attributed to, but, if you can't describe what you were doing as a process, you don't know what you were doing, is a kind of classic process like systems thinker quote and I think for a lot of agencies, it's easy to think.
Especially agency owners, it's easy for us to think like, oh yeah, we have a process for doing that. What that translates out to when you actually say that, that's awesome, like show it to me. Is no, I have a process for doing it cuz I know it I've done it for, for years. None of my team actually knows. And if you actually had to look at how we do it, they're eight different processes for how we, how we get to that point.
So just getting stuff down on paper as a starting point, and then there can be a lot of improvement. And honestly, I feel like half the time it's just, the answer's obvious to everybody. As soon as we write it down, it's like, oh yeah, that's really dumb. I don't know why we do that. Or, or, you know, Hey, this actually does make a lot of sense.
It might not make sense to you guys at ZenPilot, but we have a legitimate reason for our weird accounting system that we need to do a sort, or whatever else. And then, you know, there's a, there's another subset at the time where it gets on paper and you just don't realize just like I had this experience working with a sales coah.
You just don't realize some of the stuff, Hey, this process made sense to me on paper, but actually there's way better, way better way to do it from someone else who's seen it a lot of times.
Galen Low: I like that a lot. And I think a lot of us, myself included, I'm like getting all these light bulbs are going off for me right now.
But, I think we're guilty of thinking about documenting process as like, you know, the official record of like how things are done. This is, this is it. We're carving it onto a tablet. Whereas actually the point is to write it down so you can have a conversation about whether or not it needs to change. And I think a lot of people make that mistake.
They're like, okay, well, I'll get around to it. Like once I, once everything's perfect, then we'll write it down. Which is actually probably the wrong idea, because if you haven't written it down and it's in your head and you're not, you know, able to have a effective conversation about. Or you can't explain it to somebody else in a, in a way that they can kind of go and, and think critically about it and say, well, what if we did this?
What if this step happened here, then it's just gonna stay exactly as it is in your brain. And if it's wrong in your brain, then it's gonna stay wrong.
Gray Mackenzie: Right. Right. Yeah. Very much so, giving it down is really the start of the iteration cycle. It's not the end of the iteration cycle. I think too, there's, that feels overwhelming.
I said the word tedious earlier, like that is, it, it is some of hard work. But it's not crazy time consuming. It's not, it's time consuming. It's not as crazy or as insurmountable. I think as people think, you start looking at, man, I'm running an agency here, like we might have a hundred men have 200 different unique processes that we, that we go through.
You gotta just take forever to do. And the reality is an average project for us is about 10 weeks right now. When, once we get into implementation and that's both, you know, that's implementing new tooling, that's training a team, that's building the processes. That's a big investment.
That's, you know, a quarter worth of, of time. Obviously they're running an agency at the same time, but there's still a lot of work that goes in outside of it, but that's not a, you know, it's not like we're talking about how you're gonna spend the next two years of your life being tied down and toiling endlessly over this.
It, it really, with a, with the right framework, an idea of, Hey, here's what gold standard looks like. It's not that crazy to go build out what you have and that's where the iteration cycle starts. And your team really becomes empowered to go improve that process over time, which is the, I think the coolest iteration, to see people improve on what they were doing and become some of the efficiency. Pickups are just crazy where a team becoming three times more efficient is not unusual to see with the same headcount when they actually work at this stuff.
Galen Low: That's really cool. That's really cool. That's actually a much swifter engagement than I was thinking. And like you said earlier, I think a lot of it is looking at like payback, ROI, like what's worth it to do? Does it mean that the team's gonna be doing this and delivering client work at the same time?
And is that gonna be a bit of a strain? Probably. But, you know, like you said, 10 weeks, you know, it's like not even a full quarter. And if you can get to a point where you've got three x efficiency on something, then yeah, obviously that's gonna, that's gonna make sense.
I wanted to come to this, the change management piece. I'm glad you touched on it, which is that, yeah, I mean, I think in a lot of cases, in an ideal case, folks are like, okay, well, we sat down, we documented processes, we changed things. Maybe we changed technology and now we've got this new way of working. And I think in a perfect world, the uptake is really quick, cuz the benefits are quick and people adopt it right away.
But like what do you do when there are adoption challenges, I guess, right? It's like, you know what? We did all this stuff, but I'm still gonna do things like the old way. And like how, how often do you come back to one of your clients and, and see that they've actually done a backslide?
Or how often do you find yourself needing to kinda stay involved to make sure people do the thing like that you have helped them design versus just, you know, avoiding it and just keep on, keeping on, keeping on?
Gray Mackenzie: Right. That's a really good question. I'd be curious, cuz you've been in the space for so long, what your feedback is or like what things resonate with you and what things don't from what I'm gonna share here.
I think this is, candidly, this is one of the things that I think we do way different than most project management implementation shops that are out there, where it's largely about getting the tooling in place.
And often it's, you show me your workflow and I'll show you how to put that in ClickUp, which is not, that's not our approach. We're much more opinionated than that. So I think it's, there's kind of three main pieces to it. There's the clear expectation setting and the training is the first piece. Then the second piece I think is the carrot. And the third piece is the stick.
So the, the expectation setting is like, here's the rules that we have, whatever our PM tool is, let's call it ClickUp for this, for the sake of this. Rule number one is if it's not in ClickUp, it didn't happen. Like I, if you wanna get credit for something, you can't tell me about it in Slack.
You can't tell me about it wherever else, if it, if there's not a record of that in ClickUp, because that's just the reality, is we're trying to build a single source of truth here. Stuff's gotta go there. Your whole set of expectations, that's just one example of them. If we track time, like, do we actually track time or do we not?
How do we handle due dates? How do we handle leaving a trail when you move something? How do we handle reassigning work? Like all the, all the variables that should be codified. And there's some clear training for the team on what that actually looks like inside the tool. So it's not just, you have to track time, but specifically, here's how we track time.
Here's the increments that are okay or not okay. Here's the types of, you know, if you're entering in your time and you don't have a client assigned to that or a service line assigned to that, like that's not okay. That doesn't, that doesn't count.
The carrot piece of all this is helping people realize the vision. In your day to day now, when you show up to work, you've got a task list and you can clearly see what's on my plate for today. How am I supposed to do that with the processes embedded right into our project management platform? And your time estimate's right there, like you've already got a sense of what your workload for the day is gonna look like.
You know, how nice is that gonna be for us to be able to see that? And you partaking in this system and creating that feedback loop for us means we can do a better job of staffing and supporting you and giving you clarity where you don't have clarity. So that's the carrot piece. And aside from that, you'll be able to see the same thing for your coworkers.
You don't have to go talk to three designers to find who's got bandwidth. You can click into this workload view and you can see who may have bandwidth to help you out today and who doesn't.
And then the less part, less fun part of it. The stick side of it, the piece that any of us who are project managers are probably super excited here and anybody's who's not a project manager is dreading, is that accountability and improvement piece.
Every single day and at a team, let's just call it like a, a 20 person team. We're talking about 10 or 15 minutes a day. That's not a big commitment from somebody on the team who's the internal champion.
Can't be the agency owner, cuz they're just gonna forget about it after doing it three times and get distracted by the next shiny thing, cuz that's the way owners are wired it, which is totally fine. There's strengths to that. That's one of the weaknesses, gotta be somebody else. They're going in and they're looking through, you know, whatever our rules are.
Hey, we, we don't do overdue tasks. We reschedule, we put a note to whoever's impacted by it, and we reprioritize. Then they're looking at what are overdue tasks the next morning they're logging in. They're looking at what's overdue from yesterday. We track time, like what, okay, why are their tasks completed, where there's no time tracked?
We make sure every task has an assignee and a due date and an estimated amount of time, cause that's what triggers our workload view in any, any platform that we're using. Okay, well, let's go look at the things that, that violate that. And so we've done the training head of launch. We sold people on the vision of it.
Then we've launched and you have to, this typically takes in, in our engagements, like there's usually this point, a little trough of sorrow for a week or two. Everyone's trying to learn something new.
Galen Low: It's like valley of despair. Yeah.
Gray Mackenzie: Yeah. This, this sucks. I wanna go back to the old dual. This is way easier in Basecamp and a week in you've got, you know, 50% of people are like, okay, this isn't actually that bad, like I'm starting to get used to it.
If you're holding people accountable and then coaching them where they're not sure, they're like, Hey, I don't actually know how to leave a comment or mention somebody. It's like, well, here's this thing called an @ sign. It's been around for 10 years, like you, you figure it out, but then you hit a point where the vocal people start to take over and then two to three weeks in it's, you know, like this is, this is better and everyone's having a better experience than it was before.
So that's totally normal to live through. But there still has to be that accountability, on a weekly basis you're creating basically a trends report. There's a couple extra things that we're looking at, but a trends report. And that's going to agency leadership and the people who are not listening to you as the internal champion, like someone higher up is addressing that and proving that, Hey, we've got buying across the org and this is the way that we're gonna do things now as a business.
And if you can't get in line with that, it is totally fine. There's other places you can go work and be the Maverick that you wanna be. That's, that's absolutely out there. That's just not the business that we're running. And then on monthly, so those are really kind of the daily and weekly habits or pieces of the stick are really around the inputs and activity.
And what you're looking at on a monthly and quarterly basis is more around what are the outputs of this? So monthly basis, we might be looking back at project accountability or project profitability. And where are we making money, which clients are, do we wanna clone? And which clients do we wanna fire or upcharge?
And, you know, longer framework, we're probably looking at service line profitability, like, are we consistently making money on web? And we can hardly make any money on organic social, which would be normal for agencies. That's one of the hardest service lines to be profitable at is organic social. And then how do we make plans and roll out the next iteration?
Now here's the thing that we're constantly going over on. Is it purely a function of, we have to go charge more for it or we should cut it. Or is it a function of, we have a bad process and we need to go improve that, or we have the wrong people doing it and we need to go improve that. And so you're making those decisions strategically based on data, on kind of that monthly and quarterly basis.
So I think all three of those are important. The really clear expectations, setting the vision for them, holding people accountable to it, having a plan to improve it. If you're changing anything up your recent expectations, retraining, should paying the vision for it and holding it accountable, again.
Galen Low: I love that. I think one of the things that I see is, the biggest pitfalls I see organizations only do the stick, right? Where it's like, I'm just gonna punish people who aren't following the rules. They probably only did the training part. But the other thing I love about what you said is like the stick, part of the stick is not just, you know, like this sort of policing, you know, waving, waving, or wielding a Baton.
But it's also helping people understand, because I've seen that a lot where people are like, okay, we did training and I'm supposed to know this thing, and I know I can @ people, but I need someone to come in and be like, listen, change is hard.
Even if this concept is simple, I probably not saying that out loud, but they're like, I know I need to help coach you to build that behavior so that you don't backslide. Because that'd be a silly reason for someone to go back to, you know, the old tool, whether it's, you know, Basecamp or something else to be like, no, no, no, no, no.
I, I, no one ever responds to my comment. So I'm just gonna like go back into my cave, is like, that is the biggest, you know, torpedo for adoption. It's pretty easily solved by just having, the other thing you said, which is champions. So your champions at various different levels will reinforce that carrot. Will be the stick, but also not just the stick that hits people, but also the stick that helps people out of a river, to help them use the tool better.
And then the other thing I love is that like, I, I, I see a lot of organizations where even at the leadership level, right? They're like, You guys need new tools, fine, okay, you there, help these, help these people get new tools. And they're like, I'm over here. That's not my problem. You know, you just get work done and like figure it out.
It's not me. And they, a) don't become the champion of it. They're like, I don't know, go talk to, you know, process improvement to lead over here. It doesn't really matter to me versus actually, this is so important to our strategy to actually like the reason why, and, and the mechanism for knowing that it's working is actually much bigger than our task getting delivered on time.
It's, are we profitable in these service lines? It's, should we change our strategy? And things that will matter to a leader, there's a carrot there too, to build champions at the very senior level so that it is their problem, so that it is something they care about.
And then like, let that trickle down because I think that there's the bottom up. There's the people who are like, no one really made me feel comfortable about this change and therefore I'm gonna act out and there's the top down, which is like, I don't really care about your tools. Like that's, that's beyond, it's like way beneath my pay grade.
And I don't wanna get my hands dirty with that. Those are the, the big things that I see, like have the big causes for why these things fall apart. But I think there's one other thing that I think is implicit in what you said is that I, it sounds to me like your process is quite inclusive and grassroots.
Like, I don't think you're going in and I've seen consultancies do this. You know, like here is our, you know, here's our blueprint. Like you called it a blueprint, but I think you're making that blueprint with your client. Not like this is the way it's done, do these things by. And I've seen a lot of groups do that.
Just like shove things down people's throats and not include them or listen to them or understand, the process along the way. But it sounds to me, like you said something earlier, you said, sometimes your client will explain to you why. Yes, this process is weird. It's wonky, but it works for us because of this reason.
And to have the wherewithal to say, okay, cool. Let's work that into the blueprint that we're making together. We're listening to everybody, we're listening to the needs. And I think that just goes such a long way in terms of like change management and adoption, that it seems like a simple thing to do. It's probably natural for you.
But I, I see people fail to do that a lot. Okay, we brought in a third party consultant. They're gonna be working over here. You keep working on client work and then 10 weeks from now, everything's gonna flip over and you're gonna use a different tool and it's gonna be great. And everyone's like, I don't know, right?
Dunno if that's gonna be true. I was skeptical already, but I think that inclusivity and just hearing people and understanding what current state is, because sometimes current state will be fine. And coming back to that filter thing, right? Sometimes not moving to ClickUp will be fine. It's more of the, the mindset of, are you, are you willing to be, are you in a, a head space to consider a solution that will bring some things together but is a tool?
Not, it's not like this holy grail that's gonna magically make you live forever. It's just a tool and like, I love that. It boils back down to just the human stuff, right? Humans are bad at change. Humans want to be more efficient, and humans are complicated. And it's, it's, you put 'em all together in an agency, which is high pressure, right?
In a, in a fast growing agency, which is even higher pressure. And you need these things, you need these things in place because a tool alone is not gonna solve it.
Gray Mackenzie: You said so many things were good there. The so the behavioral side is the number one problem to solve. Like if everyone, I would a hundred percent take a team that's got really clear expectations. Some documented processes for what they're doing and buy in together on what they're doing and have them run on.
I mean, we can go as old school as you, like, they can run on, I don't care, Excel or Google sheets or whatever. Like I would take that over the most modern ClickUp setup with all the integrations, but a team who's not bought in together. It really is, we, I've played lacrosse and my co-founder Andrew in college.
And we'd always joke if somebody dropped a pass or someone, if someone drops a pass, you look down at your stick right away. It's like, you know, you can call out, Hey, it's not the sword, it's the warrior. And it, it's just the, like, I, I would a hundred percent rather have people operating in a cohesive unit together than the tooling.
Obviously, gold standard is, we've got all of those together. We've got tremendous processes on the best tooling with the, with the team that's operating together. But if you had to pick and choose and so, to get that behavioral buy in from people. If you don't listen to what's going on right now and pay attention to what's working, what's not, and what they actually need.
You just wind up designing something that. It's, it doesn't matter how right you are if people don't agree with you, that, that it's right. So there has to be that buy-in from the team. That doesn't mean that you give into whatever they ask. It just means that you listen and then help people realize, Hey, here's the better way or they have the better way in specific areas.
And then you've gotta build for that, which is, which is totally fine. The, one of the piece I wanted to just reiterate from what you said was like the stick is, like the stick that reaches into rescue people, versus that, that just beats them up. A hundred percent.
Like that stick is really 80% coaching and 20% that, Hey, this is not good enough. You already know what to do. Like you need to do better or, or you're gone. Like there is some of that that happens sometimes. And you do have to be willing to let people go or, you know, there have to be some real consequences for folks.
But that's the vast minority of the time. Most of the time people are trying to do the right thing. They just don't know what to do and how to do it. And they were having a bad day, the day that you went through training or they're just like me and they forget a lot of things and they just need someone to hold their hand and, and bring 'em back to, look here's, here's how we do it.
And once I help you do it, you know, there's a concept that people need to hear things seven times on average before they really hear it and understand it for the first time. There's a lot of that in that role, so.
Galen Low: That's what I love. And I love that when you had said it, you said coaching, and I know you have a background coaching sports. And it's like, you're not booting everyone off the team every time they job it bats. Right? Like that's not the point.
You're not always yelling at them. Sometimes that might be the right thing to do to just be like, listen, I need to show some tough love, but really it's about helping people succeed. And yeah, sometimes, but they won't be the right fit, but that, that's probably a minority.
I really like that. I think it's really cool.
I'm going to close out with a totally unrelated question, which is, you know, you see a lot of agencies, especially in like a client services configuration, using a lot of tools. There's a lot of different project management software out there. But is there, is there a feature that you're just like, man, I wish someone would do this because it would solve everyone's problem.
What is that unicorn feature that you're not seeing in any tool that you wish you had because a lot of organizations would benefit from it?
Gray Mackenzie: Yeah. There's some people who were, so we've got this list internally. I don't think we've published it anywhere. We get this list of 10 core problems that agencies need to solve in this area.
Kinda starting with a really standardized client journey and kinda the whole way through the pipeline. There are things like, you know, fully built out process templates, living in your project management system that are quick and easy to deploy and get the right work assigned to the right person with the right due date every time.
About seven of those problems, I feel like we're somewhere between an 8 and a 10 out a 10 on solving. But there's some problems that were not. And one of those problems that were not, that feels like right now is like a 3 out of 10 for how we're, there's just a lot of manual work to get there.
Is forecasting pipeline and understanding what that looks like. Where would we like forecasting hiring needs? We've got a model for doing this in ClickUp right now, but it takes a good amount of manual work. You know, every deal that moves into like the contract sense stage or whatever specific stage in your serum you wanna go take through. You know, you probably have 10, 15 minutes of just going and trying to, if, if you really want like the most accurate workload forecasting. That, that's a good amount of manual work to try to get back.
Okay, if we sold 60% of these deals, we would be in real trouble from a design side, eight weeks from now. And so we need to start recruiting for that role right now. There are platforms out there like Parallax. I don't know if you've come across them at all. They are trying to be the tie in between your HubSpot and whatever else.
It does a really nice job on the forecasting front. If Tom hears this, he's the founder, founder there. He's not gonna appreciate, not gonna appreciate this, but I, he, he knows that, we're, you know, that this is what we ultimately want. They do a really nice job of the forecasting side.
You've gotta manually put in, like roughly where's time going, and here's a percentage of time going by person. But when that deal then gets closed, one based on what you've estimated, there's no integration that automatically says, okay. And here's the templates that go get deployed in your PL, like now you have to take that estimate.
You still have to go deploy it. So they're kind of solving the top half. It feels like we've got the bottom half solved in ClickUp. And the integration between the two of those is still a missing component. And there's a million tools. I mean, we've spent dozens and dozens of hours trying to figure out how can we solve this better.
For most early stage agencies, that's not a big deal. And we can still get directionally close. But it would provide more certainty around the specific timeline for hiring. If we had that, there's a lot of that's in our minds. It's kind of a level two problem. Like first you've gotta have the broad, first you've gotta understand what are we selling?
Is there a sort of repeatability there? Do we have, the project templates built out? But level two is how do we quickly and easily get kind of a, a real quick view at if we close 80% of these were in trouble two weeks from now. If we close 20% of these, we're fine for another three months. So we know somewhere in the, in the sweet spot there, we need to hire specifically for this role in that role.
Semi one, I think the other piece that would be super nice. I know you asked for one, I'm gonna give you two unicorns, which I dunno if that's fair.
We spend time going back and looking at, when Gray records a podcast interview to get the same outcomes as Galen, Gray battles on and it takes him 90 minutes and Galen does it in 45 minutes.
So we wanna go back and look, that's a bad example, cause that wouldn't happen that frequently, but the stuff that people do most often, like assuming the outcomes were the same, here's the person who's clearly more efficient in that area. And helping people get into their zones of strength. That is, there's some kind of hacks and some shortcuts for it right now.
But there's no PM tool that just looks at it and says, obviously Galen's better at this than Gray is. So just automat, like I'm gonna automatically recommend that Galen's the person who does this, not Gray. And I think that'd be super hard to do in a tool like ClickUp, that's built for everybody or a tool like Asana or Monday or whatever, because there's so much variance in how users wind up wanting to assign tasks in the frameworks that they use.
So, so how can you do that? But that feature gets asked for a lot and would be, that was one of the directions we were trying to take our software way back in the day. But it required a very rigid structure to start setting the groundwork for that. So I, I would still love to see that come to market at some point in time. Even if that's a plugin that you can layer on top of whatever your project manager tools is totally a standalone tool and just comes in and analyzes who does what.
Where does the time go? And then how can we normalize that and make suggestions for you about how your resource plan?
Galen Low: I love that. I understand you with a granularity problem, right? It's just like task are assigned in a different way. But, I was having a conversation actually on, on, on this podcast, with Alyson Caffrey, we were talking about data.
And just this notion of like, yeah, it starts a conversation like you can't, you know, refute the fact that yes, this person, whatever they're doing is, you know, they're coming in, you know, under budget, whenever they do a web project. It's like, let's have a conversation about that. It's not calling anybody out.
Nobody's like automatically off the team because of it. But it's like, how can we take advantage of this? Like, what is, what is being done right? Like this is something to be celebrated, not something to like pit people against one another. And you have to like, again, it's a human component of caging the conversation correctly.
So I love that. I know there's big demand for that. And also because I was a project manager, account manager, business development guy, the pipeline thing, a hundred percent. I remember we would get to the point where it was like, if the probability got above 60%, then we'd just like resource the project as if it was gonna happen.
And we'd look at that, but we didn't have any like sophistication in it. It was just a, it was a spreadsheet and we'd try to overlay it with our like actual resourcing. But I would love for, you know, whatever AI, wherever AI is at right now. That'd be a great use to just run some simulations and say, well, listen, your close rate is this.
And you know, the, we know that a lot of the time, this, these projects that involve these teams might go over. So, you know, don't not hire somebody. Actually, probably hire somebody because, right, what we're saying is that, you know, with the probability of these things happening with no one having a crystal ball.
At least plan so that you aren't, you know, up the creek, so to speak. So again, I think that's what a lot of agencies are looking for is like, how can we scale? Like, and maybe that means scaling the sales team, but where do we stop scaling the sales team and tell 'em to stop selling? Because we actually need to scale the delivery side of things.
But then what if the pipeline dries up and then we hired all these people and there's like, that's the operational complication of like the agency model as you described it, right? It's arbitrage, it's this like hours for service, you know, you need people to do the work. And there's a lot of variables at play about whether things will happen or not, or whether they, they'll, they'll go to plan or not. So I think that's massive. That's huge.
Gray Mackenzie: Balancing that, that risk and reward you in theory, the team that is a hundred percent utilized, you have a hundred percent maximized your reward capability by, by having them fully out there. But your risk profile is absolutely through the roof because as soon as someone feels burnt out, you tip over that a hundred percent.
Sees even lower and you're, you're really in trouble. Yeah.
Galen Low: Then you're, then you're really up the Creek.
Gray Mackenzie: So it's, it's finding that, that sweet spot and knowing how to balance the, we want highly utilized team.
Galen Low: I love that. So software developers who are listening, there you have it. That's, that's the next million dollar idea.
It's right there. We just gave it to you. We just gave it to you. And then come and then call us because we need it. Awesome.
Gray, this has been really insightful. I really enjoyed our chat, and I'm sure that folks listening, have enjoyed it as well. If people wanna learn more about ZenPilot, where, where should they go?
Gray Mackenzie: Yeah, I'd suggest two different things here. One would be just the website zenpilot.com. You can find if you search like ClickUp for agencies, if you're curious about how kind of at the granular level of ClickUp it works, you'll find a lot of our content.
You can check our podcast agency journey there, any of, any of the resources that we've got for agency owners as well. But the other piece to that point people towards if, is if, if they just wanna benchmark kind how they're doing right now, we are just about to cross 2,700 agency clients.
And we do as part of this blueprint process, there's this whole kind of agency ops assessment that happens, which for the longest time was just a word doc. So it was massive problem or massive project taking data out of this, or, Google docs, doc and pushing into a centralized database. But, there was a lot of stuff that we should just had structured better coming out of that.
And now we, now we tweak that. So we've got this 19 question, agency operations and project management health benchmark. If you go to zenpilot.com/pm-benchmark, you can take that. It's 19 questions. They're all answer on like a scale of, you know, strongly disagree to strongly agree, kinda your, your typical.
And actually, I'd be curious to get your input on this. We thought about making it six so that people can't just chicken out and say three, do you either have to lean towards one on the spectrum or the other.
But what's cool is at the end of that, you can put in your email or you can not put in your email. There's a, you know, from a everyone who's listening, I'm sure is very familiar with the, the marketing space. And so this is an ungated tool. If you want more info on it, like put in your email, if you don't, if you wanna stay anonymous and don't, don't have me judge you, I'm just kidding.
I probably won't see it anyways, but, well you can do that too. But it benchmarks, you basically scores you on that frame. And then gives you a score and a percentile. And then you can see the benchmark results at the end of it. Hey, what, how does the average agency score on this question versus, that question?
So it's got kind of a, a 360 view of what does strong agency project management specifically look like.
Galen Low: I love it. I did it, it took me less than five minutes. I'm jealous of it. I'll include the link in the show notes below so people can check it out. But I think it's just, it's such a great starting point for project managers and for any organization that has a project management team or is considering growing one, it's a great way to just kind of understand where you're at.
So I, I think it's really, it's a worthwhile piece to check out.
Gray Mackenzie: That's awesome. Listen, it's been super fun Galen. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to come on and share. It's been a blast to, blast to chat in any time that I can help out, or help folks from the, from the audience, happy to have those conversations.
Galen Low: Awesome. And likewise, thank you for coming on the show and, and sharing what you know.
Gray Mackenzie: Absolutely.
Galen Low: So what do you think?
Is project management software a necessary evil when scaling? Or is it the secret weapon that unlocks your agency's full potential?
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