Your First Week with Bric

You have signed-up for Bric, and now what? Below is a day-by-day step-by-step guide to your first week using Bric. I have watched almost a thousand companies get started with Bric, and this is what I learned.

Day One. Getting Setup

After signing-up for Bric and confirming your email address, you will be presented with a checklist of information that Bric needs about your company. Click-through to navigate the setup.

During setup you will be asked about your company. We need this information before you can start planning and tracking time. The information you provide will be used to customize Bric for how your company works. You will be asked about:

  • Billable Rates.
  • Hourly and Salary Costs.
  • Roles / Titles.
  • Weekly Billable Hours.

You can provide this information for your company as wells as each role and person. This allows you to start to customize your agency for each role, person, and even project.

You might want to have access to your:

  • Recent payroll statement. This will provide you with information on your people: names, titles, number of hours worked, and salary costs. Learn more about adding people to Bric.
  • Upcoming Project Proposals. This will provide you with client names, roles, and billable rates. Once you complete the setup checklist, you will have the information you need to plan your first project.

Once you have completed the Setup Checklist click “Plan Your First Project”. For current projects, plan what will happen next week. It can be tempting, but you can’t plan for what has already happened. Click here to learn more about planning projects.

Tips for Day One.

Time Tracking. To track time people need to be invited to Bric, and also be listed as a person. If you want to track time, you need to add yourself as a person using the same email address that you signed-up with.

Project Planning. It takes two clicks to add people to projects. You have to add roles, and then click on the person placeholder to assign people. If you don’t assign people to projects reports won’t update.

Day Two. Invite Your Partners to Bric, and Load Your Remaining Projects

If you have partners they need to understand why you are recommending Bric. Schedule time to show them Bric, and demonstrate how your team can use it.

You can invite your partners right from Bric, but I recommend sending an email explaining why you have decided to use Bric. We have already done that work for you — download sample invitation as a PDF or Word Doc. Don’t forget to customize the message for your company.

In preparation for your meeting, take time to finish setting up Bric. Make sure the settings are just how you want them, that all your people have been added, and that your active and prospective projects have been loaded in.

Here are some tips for getting the most from Bric.

  1. Get Set-up. To work best Bric needs information about your company. Without full names, roles, clients, and project types Bric’s user experience is limited. We use information about your company to make planning and tracking time easy.
  2. Talk with Your Team. Your team needs to understand that using Bric will help them avoid being over or under scheduled, and that tracking time today will help create more accurate project plans in the future.
  3. Don’t Backdate. You and your team have current projects. Don’t worry about what has happened. Bric helps you plan and track time. Plans can only be made for the future. If you are half-way through a project, just start by planning for next week.
  4. Pick a Start Date. Once you have got everything setup in Bric and talked with your team, pick a start date. The date that everyone should start tracking time and planning projects in Bric.
  5. Avoid Over Planning. The magic of Bric is that it forces you to treat your team like professionals. They know what to do. You just need to make sure they have a copy of the proposed deliverable, and enough time to get the work finished. Don’t worry about planning each step. If your team needs that they will ask.

Day Three. Meet with Your Partners, and Schedule an All-Hands Meeting

I recommend meeting with your partners to show them how you have customized Bric for your team, and how you have been able to load in your projects.

If the business is going to grow beyond the partners, you all will need to find ways to transfer your knowledge into systems. Bric provides a pain-free way to do this. You create projects plans, our people track time, and Bric automatically learns how long projects should take.

  • Improved Profit per Partner. On average Bric helps increase profits by $850 per month per employee. This happens because Partners become aware of when people have time, and can strategically pursue new work to keep everyone busy on billable projects. Calculate your potential ROI.  
  • Improved Communication. Partners will be able to communicate expectations to employees, and financials to accounting and PM’s quickly. Bric remembers the specific details so you don’t have to.
  • Scale. You can finally hire someone for business development. With Bric then can provide clients with accurate estimates, and you can see exactly what was promised.

To help you introduce Bric to your team, and explain the benefits we have prepared a slide deck for you.

Once you have gotten approval from your Partners, you are ready to invite your people to Bric. I recommend demonstrating Bric for them at a team meeting, before inviting people to Bric. You can customize our sample announcement for your team — download as a PDF or Word Doc. If you have a large team you might want to announce it first to managers, and the rest of your staff at the team meeting.

Tips for Day Three.

Resist the Status Quo. People like to use tools they are used to. Encourage your partners to resist the urge to rely on how they have always done things. Software is more reliable than spreadsheets. And capacity planning software compliments your project management software — it is not a substitute.

Focus on Growth. As a creative team you sell time and skills. Each person adds more complexity. To grow you need a system for planning and tracking that time. You pay for time — better make sure that time is spent on billable projects. Today things might be under control, but with growth it will take more effort. Software allows you to escape spending all of your time managing time. Get ahead of a chaotic future.

Day Four. All-Hands Meeting!

Bric is not your typically time tracking system. It allows your team to plan time, track time, view future capacity, and automatically use today’s timesheets to make future plans more accurate. Make sure to explain this to your team. Otherwise it is just another time tracking tool.

Here is our guide to selling your team on the value of Bric.

  • For Partners the value is a way to systematically improve employee utilization. For creative agencies this is the easiest way to improve profitability. Increasing profitability will allow you to hold out for the best projects, invest in training, and offer competitive salaries. By improving profitability you will insure your agency’s competitiveness.
  • For Managers they will be able to plan capacity with a click. With Bric’s reports they won’t have to wait for next week’s meeting to know how to schedule work. They will know today who is available and who is overworked. Also, building new project plans from Project Type analytics and templates will  help save time.
  • For Employees they will be able to manage expectations for how long projects will take. Now timesheets have a purpose beyond invoicing and payroll. They will be used to collect analytics on how long certain types of projects take. This will help make sure employees have enough time to do work they are proud of.

Also, you aren’t alone. We are here to help. We have prepared a slide deck that you can use during your all hands meeting.

Download it for PDFPowerpointor InDesign, and modify specifically for your team.

Day Five. Make Sure that Everyone is Using the System.

People will resist change. We like what is predictable and routine. However, change is what allows companies to improve and reach goals faster. Bric is part of that necessary but sometime uncomfortable change. Here is how you can make it less uncomfortable.

  • Communicate. As soon as people know that there is going to be a change their minds start whirling. You need to start communicating quickly — any gap will be filled by their imagination or by rumors.
  • Communicate the Why. People Don’t like to be tracked. You need to explain how they will benefit from tracking time. Also, make sure to tell them what you know, what you don’t know, and what you are working on figuring out.
  • Provide an Action Plan. Make sure that people understand how Bric fits into their everyday job responsibilities. It might be helpful to share Bric’s guide for how integrating Bric into your agency’s workflow

Tips for Day 5.

  • Monitor Usage. Make sure people are filling out their timesheets, and that new opportunities are being planned in Bric. Emphasize how using Bric will help smooth workloads, make sure people have time to do great work, and increase the financial stability of the company. 
  • Use Project Types. Each project is unique, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to find similarities. Use Project Types to group similar projects together. Then as you complete projects Bric will automatically find patterns in those projects. Patterns that Bric uses to recommend more accurate project plans in the future.