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Run successful client engagements
Run successful client engagements

The key to happy clients? On-time, on-budget, with a dash of collaboration

Erin Gouveia avatar
Written by Erin Gouveia
Updated over a week ago

Hive itself was born out of the need to work smarter with internal teams & clients during consulting engagements, and to this day, the most robust features of our platform are geared towards helping teams:

  • Plan the project effectively

  • Assign the work and do the work in the same place

  • See actionable status reports

  • Reduce time-wasting loops

Ready to optimize on all fronts? Let's get into it.

Step 1: Pick your hierarchy: how long & complex are your client projects?

Our rule of thumb covers most use cases:

  • If your client project typically takes longer than 30 days or more than 10 major steps, these would usually be projects.

  • If your client project is typically shorter than 30 days, or fewer than 10 major steps, the work is usually action cards.

Here's an example of each:

Action Cards

In the below example, each of the blog articles (client deliverables) are on an action card within the Client Communication Rebrand project. Each article has about 5-6 steps and takes a few weeks to complete:


In the below example, the Client Website Launch has a few components: design, animations, development, QA & user testing and it spans a few months. This makes sense to be its own project.

Step 2: Pick your starting point: how do your client engagements begin?

Pick the option closest to you, but if there are many, it's ok! You can set up each one.

a) With a client brief

We recommend setting up Hive Forms to manage the intake process, and ensure there are no miscommunications between your client's vision & what your team needs to get started. Once you have your Form created, be sure to share the URL with your client - they do not need to be a Hive user to send a form submission to you.

b) With an email request

We recommend you connect Hive Mail, and use the 'Create action from email' command to quickly turn incoming requests into actionable to-dos for your team, slotting them into the correct project and assigning to a team member.

c) With a weekly, monthly, quarterly planning meeting

We recommend you create a Hive Notes series for this recurring meeting, so you can add a new entry each time the planning meeting occurs, create action items directly form the meeting and put them into your Hive Projects to begin work.

Just start by creating the Hive Note, title it, add an agenda, and share it with attendees of this meeting. The next time this meeting occurs, open the Hive Note & use this for meeting decisions, and action items.

Step 3: No time like the present to get your work into Hive

Where is your client work tracked now?

a) You're starting in Hive with a blank slate, not importing from another tool or copying a list of tasks from anywhere!

Now that you have your projects created, create the action cards with each of the deliverables that your team currently has to do in these projects. Even better, ask another member of the team to assist.

b) You're importing from another tool

Hive can ingest project data from other tools when it's exported in common formats, like CSV and JSON and we have built importers for tools like Basecamp, Trello, Asana and Smartsheet. Follow the import guide here to gather the project work from other tools and import it into Hive.

c) You have a list of tasks in Excel or other spreadsheet

If you have a list of tasks in a spreadsheet, or word doc, just copy & paste to put them into Hive.

d) Save your project as a project template for future use

If you import a project and will have similar projects that require the same steps and activities, save your project as a template that can easily be applied for new projects. Refer to the project template guide for best practices on setting up your templates.

Step 4: Rally your troops

Now is a good time to add your team members to the Hive workspace and assign them to their tasks.

You can invite them & add them to the relevant projects all at once:

Step 5: How closely do you collaborate with your clients?

Here are a few different levels of visibility you can grant to clients. Start where you feel comfortable.

View Only

Share a read-only project link so they can view the project timeline in real-time. This eliminates the 'stale project plan' problem: when the PDF you've exported of your project plan is immediately out-dated once the snapshot is taken. Save yourself the administrative, low-value work (and spare the client's inbox) and give them a real-time-always-updated view into how the project is progressing.


If you work closely with your clients, and often need them to complete work as part of your project plan, we recommend adding them as External Users to the specific project where you want to assign them to-dos. This level of transparency, while new for some teams, pays off when there is clear communication & mutual responsibility between you & your client. Achieving a successful outcome together is one of those intangible 'value adds' of great partnerships.

External Approvers

Need to send your client files for review & collect their feedback? You'll want to add them as External Approvers when you are routing creative files.

Step 6: Benchmark your project status

Based on where your current status of projects is, we recommend adding the Status & Status update to each project, right now while you are adding your projects to Hive. You can do this from the Homepage, or from the Portfolio View.

Each project should have Status, and a current update so you're ready to go.

Step 7: Get ready to action client feedback quickly

Here's a huge time-saving feature that can really expedite turnaround time for client requests: connect Hive Mail & your Inbox & your project can be synced together.

The next client email you receive that includes anything remotely related to this project plan, where someone has to complete some work, turn this into an action card and put it into the client project in Hive. We guarantee if you do this with most email, you'll reduce the time you spend re-typing requests and disseminating to the team.

With these initial steps, your client engagements are supported from all angles: Planning, Doing, Collaborating & Completing. Here's to a great partnership! ๐Ÿ“ฃ

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