A simple way to create, update, and push out process changes in your agency without disruption. 

It’s one of the most common reasons why agencies have trouble scaling their services.

It’s not a lack of processes. But rather, it’s the challenge of your processes keeping up with the way you and your team actually do things today in your business.

You’re constantly improving.

You’re becoming more efficient.  

Your tools are changing.  

Your team is growing. 

Your client base is growing.

All that means that your processes need to improve, adapt, and change in order to keep up.

Process changes cause disruption. 

Every time you rework one of your processes, it throws a wrench in your operation—especially all of those active projects that are still using the old way of doing things.

You probably deal with this same frustrating workflow:

In this detailed guide, we’re sharing a better approach to process implementation, including: 

Pro Tip: Don’t miss our video tutorial above showing how to seamlessly push out your latest process changes to all of your active projects and tasks using ProcessKit.

Why is process implementation important? 

Simply put, process implementation is the act of turning a strategy or process in your agency into a set of tasks that can be executed on a consistent basis. 

Having well-defined processes brings many advantages, including: 

What are the different steps for successfully implementing a new process? 

Regardless of whether you run a web design firm, a marketing agency, or a podcast production company, there are certain processes that all service providers should have in place, such as sales and client onboarding.

Let’s say you want to build out your new client onboarding process. Here is a framework that you can use to create this process. 

7 additional tips for implementing new processes in your agency  

Since every agency is different, we reached out to a handful of agency owners and had them share some tips on how they implement new processes. 

Create a SOP for writing SOPs 

“So, we have an SOP for writing SOP, which was written by somebody in my team,” says John Ainsworth of Data Driven Marketing. “We’ve got a whole structure in terms of the way that we document our processes. 

“One tip is to give context for why the process is important and what you’re going to need to have in place.

Another tip would be to keep them as short as you possibly can and consider including “over-the-shoulder” style videos where it shows how you actually do the thing.” 

Don’t reinvent the wheel  

“Good engineers create and wait, great engineers steal and innovate,” says Davis Nguyen of My Consulting Offer. “You are unlikely the first person to ever want to do what you are about to do. Learn from others what works and avoid the time and money wasted from repeating what doesn’t work.

Talk to other agencies about how they deal with the process you are building and then optimize it even more. This is the cheat code to business is learning from the experiences of others.” 

Ask the implementor to document the process 

“Whenever we implement a new process, it’s always been for something that we’ve done before – sometimes just 2 times, but often 5-10 or more times,” says Alex Panagis of ScaleMath. “Once the process has been created, we ask the “implementer” (whoever that is in your case, i.e. the person actually executing this process) to refer back to the past projects and situations in which we should have had this particular process in place. Documenting each step as they go to ensure that it fits what the process has been designed for as well as the flexibility of matching a situation before we even had the process in place.

Until a process can be run with no involvement from anyone other than the people that are intended to be involved, it is considered to be in a trial stage where we know we’ll be making many improvements to it over the course of a 2-3 week period as it’s tested in dozens of different scenarios/real-world situations.”

Jimmy Rose of ContentSnare.com adds, “The easiest way I have found to create a process is to simply do the task and take notes and screenshots as you go. It ensures you get it mostly right the first time and only adds a bit of time to the task.”

Start at the bottom

“We have a slightly different approach than most agencies in the sense that we move from bottom to top,” says Jason Ciment of GetVisible.com. “This manifests by our leadership asking the deployment team at the ground level to write up the new process and present it to management for review.

By empowering these employees to write up the processes, it achieves the psychological buy-in component that often hinders or destroys the success rate of new process integrations.

We follow the 4-hour workweek thought process to break each process down into major steps and minor steps (i.e. categories and sub-categories). We then integrate the new process into our real-time online project management tool. We can then assign sub-tasks and checklists to specific employees and hold them accountable for completing them on time. The result of this approach is that managers really get to manage, and the employees become part of the solution too.”  

Do a partial rollout 

“Our main tips for implementing a new process or system in an agency would be partial rollout and using your team,” says Laura Mellor of AMZ Pathfinder. “Our team is very culturally diverse, with different ages, backgrounds, and ways of thinking. So when the time comes for a new process, we really use this to our advantage.

After the initial foundation is built, we roll it out to our team, usually for a couple of the clients they work with, so they can test it. After a couple of weeks, once everyone has tried the process, we gather the feedback from everyone and build upon the initial foundations, or if needed, change it altogether.

This allows us to utilize our diversity, and 99% of the time, we end up with a better process than when we first started. 

It is too easy to be strict in the building process, thinking, ‘this is how I have built it, so this is how it will be.’ This doesn’t work as usual. The managers who implement these processes are not always the ones getting their hands dirty and actually using the system. We have to remain flexible as the clients we work with coming in all shapes and sizes. A one shoe fits all policy does not work. Having that flexibility in our internal processes allows us to stay on our toes and keep our clients happy and most importantly, keep our team happy with the work they do every day.” 

Make sure to stress test your new processes 

“Details matter, but don’t wait until it’s perfect,” says Josh Krakauer of Sculpt. “ Just like a new product needs customer validation, a new process needs team stress-testing. That means less time upfront perfecting the formatting of every slide and more time iterating on what isn’t working.

OCD operators will feel this pain.

We’ve found the best way to implement a new agency process starts with a crystal clear outcome, an internal champion willing to own R&D, and lots of timely feedback from people using it.”

Ask for feedback from clients 

“Interview 2-3 clients,” says Rich DeMatteo of Bad Rhino Inc. “Be sure to choose at least one client that has had a rocky experience in one of your processes. Sometimes it may feel like you need to change, but if you can’t become laser-focused on the exact missed steps, a process change might set you back even further.”

What are the biggest opportunities to improve existing processes? 

While creating new processes is important, it is often more important to keep your existing processes up-to-date. 

There are plenty of opportunities that naturally arise in the day-to-day operations that are perfect queues for you and your team to improve how you do things. 

Here are a few common signs that an existing process could be improved: 

In addition, ask your team regularly how they are feeling about the processes they are using.  

Laura says, “We also ask the team often how they feel about the processes they are using and how they can be improved.

Since we work with Amazon, which changes its policies and systems very often, this means we must also follow suit. Adapt and overcome. 

Continuous improvement is the only way to stay ahead of the game. This is why it is one of our core values. If you allow your internal processes to become old and clunky, it can lead to an overwhelming amount of work, small regular changes reduce this workload and keep things manageable and organized.” 

Alex adds, “If someone goes through a process and has questions, or has to deviate significantly from the process to the point where there is doubt – meaning people that don’t normally have to get involved end up having to get involved, that’s a great indicator that you need to revisit a process sooner rather than later. Other reasons include whenever we want to test a change to a process or come across the opportunity to improve one. This can be based on new information that has come to light or general improvements that we notice ourselves that could be made as we execute any given process.” 

In addition, even if none of these issues come up, it is helpful to set aside time to review and refresh all of your processes on a regular cadence. In general, we recommend going through your processes at least every 6-12 months.

You may find that it is natural to review them sooner if you do quarterly planning in your agency, like through the EOS Framework

For example, Josh says, “Every quarter, we set Rocks (big goals) for the company in 3 intertwined areas: Sales, People, and Services. To grow in any of the 3, changes are required in all of the 3.

For instance, landing bigger clients means staffing up specialized roles and streamlining their work.

To keep a steady pace of growth every 3 months, a steady stream of improvements are required. 

However, the scale and scope make a difference. We find foundational, organization-wide process changes take a year to fully implement. Whereas updating a client-specific process takes less than a month.” 

What are the most common pitfalls agencies run into when improving their existing processes?  

Here are some of the most common traps that we see agency owners make when they focus on improving existing processes. 

How to implement changes to your existing processes without disrupting your team

By now, you know that continuous process improvement is a must if you’re going to keep scaling and growing your agency.

You know that every time you change things up in your processes, it’s a massive disruption for your team, throwing your active projects off their tracks.

ProcessKit’s propagation feature solves this problem.  

Every time you make changes to your process templates in ProcessKit–whether you’re reordering steps, adding new ones, reworking your conditional logic, date rules, or anything else—You can simply click the “Propagate changes” button.

What does that do?  It magically pushes out all of your latest changes out to all of your active projects and tasks—without wiping out any of your team’s progress or content that they’ve already inputted into those tasks. 

Pro Tip: Here is how to propagate process changes to active projects in ProcessKit without disrupting your team.

In sum, how you implement new processes as well as update existing ones is one of the most important factors to get right if you want to scale your agency.  

This is where using software – like ProcessKit – makes it easy to not only manage your projects and tasks but also makes it easy to update existing processes as your team and client roster grows.

Want to see how ProcessKit works? Sign up for a free trial.