Bean Counters' Nightmare: Most Agencies Over-Service Accounts

Well, here’s a shocker: Function Point, a purveyor of project management software for creative and marketing shops, has co-sponsored a survey/study (along with the Agency Management Institute) that found three-quarters of respondents said they saw an increase in productivity after implementing project-management software. 

I suppose somebody has to sponsor studies like these. Despite the obvious conflict of interest, some of the results in this particular instance seem to make sense. 

For example, this point is interesting: Nearly half of those surveyed (more than 400) indicated that a major obstacle to effective project management is projects not being scoped or budgeted properly, ultimately leading to over-servicing. 

Yes, I can see where software might help in that regard. It’s kinda like taxes to some degree. I mean who the hell in their right mind would try to do their taxes in this day and age without a tax software program, right? 



I guess that’s part of what the account people get paid to do, but still, I’m sure it’s not the easiest part of their jobs. 

But do your homework people, don’t just hop over to the Function Point website and buy in! 

According to this survey, agencies tend to give away their work. Respondents indicated that on average, they were over-servicing clients by more than half (52%), with 34% reporting they over-service 70% to 100% of their clients. 

Time tracking is a big issue, per the survey—44% indicated they were not confident in the accuracy of that important metric at agencies. Let’s see, filling out time sheets or getting a root canal. That’s a tough choice. 

But clients share some of the blame, per the survey.

Almost half of the respondents identified the main challenge to providing accurate project quotes being clients changing their minds mid-project (47%), while 46% reported not having enough information on the scope of the project being an issue, and 25% reported that changing project timelines made quoting difficult.

Six in 10 (62%) say work-back schedules not being met (internally and by clients) is the primary barrier to effective time management. Hey, sh*t happens, right? 

Anyway, if the subject is of interest, and I know it is for some of you — or I wouldn’t be writing this — access the full study here.

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