Chris Ford is the Project Manager for Reaktiv Studios. She began her career as a classically trained graphic designer, but soon fell into web development and has been in the field for 20 years. In today’s episode, we discuss how automation saves time, the importance of customizing automation, and how it’s not unlike muscle memory.
Two years ago, after working on the business side of her freelance career, Chris was invited to join Crowd Favorite as a project manager. From there, she started doing support work with Design Palette Pro and in June, she joined the team at Reaktiv Studios.
Building a Process:
As a project manager, she stresses the importance of building a process.
Here’s how she utilizes automation to save time:
- Create templates and checklists so that you don’t have to think about what you’re doing on each project. Keep these as simple as possible.
- Utilize Asana to set time frames, create common templates, and client tasks. You can set up all of the major categories, and then break down all of the tasks associated with each of them.
- A Gantt Chart is a crucial tool in her toolbox, which gives you a 10,000 foot view of projects. This allows you to know at a glance where things are in the pipeline and how they’re organized. There’s even a feature that gives you a visual representation of how date changes affect your timeline.
While automation is extremely effective, Chris emphasizes that development can really only be automated to a certain point because every project and client is different. This is why Asana’s custom fields are so valuable.
At Reaktiv Studios, Chris says they use Asana mainly for everything that is client facing. GitHub is for the developers, where they can have internal conversations about code reviews, etc.
Schedules are very important to Chris’s workflow. An hour before she logs out for the day, she does an end of day wrap up where she summarizes everything and sends to her team in slack.
26:15 “Just by blocking off an hour at the end of the day and 30 to 45 minutes in the morning I can make sure that all of those little detail things that might fall through the cracks get done and then I can focus on bigger chunks of things.”
She likens automation to muscle memory and playing the guitar.
27:51 “By repeating it over and over and over again, it’s second nature now… A lot of the schedules and the checklists and the type of automation I use in project management is the same way.”
Chris describes the process of automation as finding an issue, and then working to improve or solve it. It’s all iterative. You just need to keep trying, testing, and tweaking to make things better.