How To Use ClickUp For Project Management?

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

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As a digital marketing agency owner, I know your anxiety when faced with big projects and a team to manage. You want to deliver only premium client results, so there’s no room for mistakes. Such pressure can be exhausting.

You might have heard of ClickUp, a project management software that promises to help you stay on track and manage all the moving parts of projects effectively.

My agency has been using ClickUp for years now. I can witness that, when used properly, it can really make your project management much more enjoyable.

However, without learning some effective strategies for using ClickUp, you’ll probably still struggle with deadlines. Your projects will probably become a mess again.

To help you make your subscription money pay off, I’ll show you how to use ClickUp for project management to its fullest extent.

In this article, you’ll learn best practices for setting up your workspace, organizing tasks according to your needs, tracking progress and team productivity, and more. But I’ll also help you avoid common mistakes I see people make when using ClickUp for project management. This will save you time and make your project management more efficient and less stressful. Let’s start!

Table of Contents:
How to use ClickUp for project management?

Benefits of Using ClickUp For Project Management

As a project manager or team leader, you’re expected to stay on top of numerous tasks, ensure efficient team collaborations, and manage project execution from start to finish. And when used properly, ClickUp helps you stay on top of all these elements, even when managing remote teams.

I agree that the sheer number of features can initially seem overwhelming. The platform also has both pros and cons over its competitors (you can learn more about those in my ClickUp vs Notion comparison). But once you learn how to use ClickUp for project management, it becomes a powerful ally.

I’ve used this platform for a while now. One thing I quickly learned is that ClickUp is built to scale. Over the past few years, my web design agency in Chicago has welcomed many new faces to our team. And ClickUp served us equally well whether we had 5, 10, 30, or more employees. The complexity of our projects also varies a lot, but we’ve had no problems so far with this project management tool.

Here are just some of the benefits of using ClickUp for project management:

  • Save time with automations
  • Smooth experience thanks to a wide range of integrations available
  • Easily keep track of each team member’s progress
  • Find areas for improvement so you can ensure better project delivery
  • Deliver on client expectations by organizing meeting notes

There are more benefits, and I’ll explain these as we keep exploring how to use ClickUp for project management.

ClickUp Hierarchy Explained

Before getting into details on how to use ClickUp for project management, I believe it’s essential to understand how the ClickUp hierarchy works. It’s one of the essential concepts that will allow you to organize your team’s work on multiple levels.

There are six levels in the ClickUp hierarchy:

  • Workspaces
  • Spaces
  • Folders
  • Lists
  • Tasks
  • Subtasks and checklists

Let’s explore each level in detail.

Workspaces – The Highest Level in ClickUp Hierarchy

ClickUp workspaces are like your company’s building, accommodating every team, every project, every task, and every team member.

Each workspace is a unique entity, separate from others. It holds its own spaces, folders, lists, tasks, and, more importantly, its own set of people with access to it.

With ClickUp, you can create as many workspaces as you want. However, remember that your work cannot be moved between workspaces, so it’s best to keep teams that share relevant information in the same workspace. That’s why I recommend having only one workspace for your business. 

But if you’re working on projects for multiple organizations, creating a dedicated workspace for each is a must.

Spaces

Spaces come next in the ClickUp hierarchy. If the workspace is your company’s building, spaces are different teams or departments operating within it. Of course, this is a simplified explanation… In reality, you can create dedicated spaces for each of your clients, departments, teams, high-level initiatives, or whatever you see fit.

A good thing to know is that you can create custom settings and integrate different ClickApps for each space. This allows you to tailor workflow systems to each department and ensure maximum productivity.

You can also share information between spaces without any restrictions or choose to make some spaces private and restrict access only to specific team members. It’s entirely up to you.

Folders

You can create folders within your spaces to organize your lists (they come next in the hierarchy, and I’ll explain them in the next section). Creating folders is not a necessity, but I strongly recommend you use them for organizing related projects, databases, campaigns, and similar. 

Folders have similar settings to spaces, meaning you can easily set up permissions, restrict access, adjust custom fields, and more. The only difference is that you have to manage your ClickApps at the space level. And if you’re into agile project management, using agile folders is a simple way to organize your sprints.

Well-organized folders save me a lot of time when onboarding new employees. How? Well, let’s say someone joins my web design team… Obviously, giving them access to all the company’s sensitive information on their first day at work is not a smart idea. And seeing all the lists that we have in one space would also be confusing at first, considering that they won’t even need most of them in order to do the job effectively. So, what do you do when you have restricted lists within your spaces? Would you give each employee access to desired lists manually? Well, this is not precisely the best approach, as it can be very time-consuming…

That’s why I have a folder containing all the essential lists that each team member needs for their work. All I have to do is allow them access to the right folder. This saves a lot of time, and we all know that time is sacred in project management.

Folders helped me organize my agency’s workflow even better. Stick with me as, later in this article, I’ll show you how you can leverage them too.

Lists

In the grand structure of the ClickUp hierarchy, lists serve as vital building blocks. They exist within folders or directly in spaces, functioning as containers for your tasks. Imagine them as chapters in a book, each dedicated to a particular aspect of your project.

When I leverage lists, I create a structured outline of the work to be done, neatly organized by different characteristics such as time frames, location, or project phases. Lists can be like an organizational grid, helping me map out the tasks in a way that makes sense to my team and me.

Not only do lists help sort out tasks, but they also offer an avenue to provide context to these tasks. You can add additional information, annotations, or even comments, making the tasks more comprehensive and understandable. This added layer of context aids in understanding the what, why, and how of each task.

And how can you utilize lists for agile project management workflow? They work perfectly for managing a backlog of tasks before they are added to a sprint. Lists thus serve as a preparatory space, enabling teams to get their ducks in a row before setting things into motion.

Tasks

ClickUp tasks are the engine that drives your project forward. They are the individual action items, to-dos, and assignments that collectively add up to complete your project. Whether for you, your team, clients, or other stakeholders, tasks are the tangible embodiment of your project’s progress.

In ClickUp’s hierarchical structure, each task resides within a parent List, providing a clear roadmap of responsibilities and assignments. However, the versatile nature of ClickUp allows these tasks to be shared across multiple lists within the workspace, enhancing collaboration and facilitating a more comprehensive ClickUp project management routine.

Tasks serve as the nucleus of your project’s action plan, holding all the necessary information about your work. From due dates, assignees, and status to additional comments, tasks encompass every detail that contributes to a project’s success. The default sections and customizable options that come with tasks make it a breeze to capture, organize, and prioritize your work.

Subtasks and Checklists – The Lowest Level in ClickUp Hierarchy

For complex projects or large tasks requiring a granular level of detail, ClickUp allows using subtasks and checklists. These are valuable tools for breaking down significant tasks into manageable components, making even the most overwhelming assignments appear achievable.

Subtasks are essentially mini-tasks that reside within a parent task. Each subtask can have its unique description, assignee, and due date, much like a standard task. The real beauty lies in the ability to create multiple layers of nested subtasks. I found this particularly valuable for big projects.

And what about checklists? They act as interactive to-do lists nested within your tasks. Each checklist item can serve as a standalone action item, or you can further break it down into up to five levels of indented sub-items. These make it remarkably simple to spell out every step needed to complete a task, further enhancing your organization and tracking capabilities.

By strategically using subtasks and checklists, you can ensure every aspect of your project is covered. You’ll leave no room for oversights.

7 tips that will help you use ClickUp for project management more effectively.

How To Use ClickUp For Project Management – 7 Best Tips

Things can get confusing when starting with a new project management tool. You may find yourself in a maze of settings, options, and features, questioning how best to organize your workflow, manage your team, and keep your projects on track. Finding the perfect combination of settings for your business management can take months, if not years. But don’t worry!

Navigating a new project management tool can be overwhelming with its array of settings and features. However, a reliable project management platform like ClickUp streamlines this process, providing an intuitive interface and versatile tools.

These seven essential tips on using ClickUp for project management will speed up your learning curve.

Visualize and Plan Your Workflows

Project planning and management demand a clear vision of tasks, timelines, and resources. With ClickUp’s robust features and diverse view options, you can visualize and streamline the workflow for your team. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Explore all view options: ClickUp offers more than just list and board views. Try Gantt charts, Calendar, or even Box views, and see which one best suits your project. You’ll be surprised how different views can give you a new perspective on your project status and timeline.
  • Use ClickUp Whiteboard to create workflow diagrams: ClickUp offers a Whiteboard feature you can use as your team’s interactive canvas. To access it, simply navigate to +Views and then click on Whiteboard. You’ll then find a blank canvas you can use to create workflow diagrams to outline your processes. 
  • You can even get your team involved in creating and refining workflow diagrams. Just navigate to the ‘Space Setting’ and click ‘Sharing & Permissions.’ This allows you to start a real-time collaborative session with your team. You’ll be able to see each others’ cursors and craft a perfect workflow together.
  • Keep switching between views to gain a rounded perspective: Using different views helps you keep an overall eye on your projects. The trick to successful ClickUp project management often lies in switching between views in order to gain a rounded perspective. For example, you can use the list view for granular task details, Gantt charts to see how tasks fit in the bigger project timeline, and so on. 

Organize and Assign Tasks According To Your Needs

We’ve already discussed that In ClickUp, tasks are organized using a simple but efficient three-level hierarchy:

Space > Folder > List.

Each space can represent a department or a significant project, folders within the space can break down into individual projects, and lists within those folders can categorize tasks based on phases, teams, or however you see fit.

This structure helps declutter your workspace, making navigating various tasks easier. Detailed tasks can include start and due dates, descriptions, labels, and subtasks. You can even make tasks recurring if they are part of a regular workflow.

Different views like list, board, calendar, Gantt, or timeline help present tasks according to your preference. You can filter, sort, and group tasks for further organization. Customizing columns and adding custom fields add more layers to your organization’s strategy.

Now, let me show you how to assign tasks to appropriate team members in ClickUp. Just follow this simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Open ClickUp and click on the task you want to assign.
  2. Click on ‘Assign’ at the top of the task window.
  3. Click on the team member you want to assign the task to. They will appear in the dropdown if they are already a part of your workspace.
  4. To assign a task to someone not in your workspace, click ‘Assign’ (you’ll see an icon).
  5. Type in the person’s email address in the ‘Search’ field.
  6. Click ‘Invite.’ The person will receive an email to join the task, and once they accept, they will be added to your task.

The person you invite must have their email signed up to ClickUp to accept the invitation. Once tasks are assigned, they appear on the assignees’ home pages, consolidating all their tasks from across the workspace.

Create ClickUp Automations To Reduce Manual Work

Creating no-code automations in ClickUp can drastically reduce the amount of manual work required in project management. Automations can move your projects forward in a logical, step-by-step manner, minimizing the need for repetitive task management and freeing up time for more complex work. Here are some simple tips on how to leverage ClickUp’s automation feature:

  • Status Changes: In ClickUp, you can assign tasks with various statuses like “In Progress,” “Review,” or “Completed.” You can set automation to trigger specific actions when these statuses change. For example, when someone changes their task status to “Completed,” you can set an automation to assign the team leader to the task or to unassign it.
  • Assignee Changes: Just as with status changes, you can create automation that is triggered when a task assignee changes. For example, if the assignee changes from the team leader to a team member, you might set automation to roll the status back to “In Progress.”
  • Priority Changes: In ClickUp, you can assign tasks with different priority levels such as “Urgent,” “High,” or “Normal.” And you can set automation to trigger specific actions when these priorities change. For instance, you can automatically archive a task when its priority changes from “Normal” to “Low.”
  • Due Date Arrivals: Automations can particularly be helpful when a task’s due date arrives. This way, you can ensure your projects stay on track and that impending tasks are given appropriate attention.
  • Task Creation: ClickUp allows you to set automations that trigger after you create a task. This feature is a great way to enforce specific procedures and prevent errors in task management.
  • Task Relocation: Finally, ClickUp allows you to set automations that trigger when a task is moved to a different location. For example, whenever someone moves a task to the “Blog post” list within your “Content & SEO” folder, you can automatically create a new task to “Create a blog post.”

These are just a few examples of leveraging ClickUp automations to your advantage. The key is to understand your workflow and identify which repetitive tasks you can automate without sacrificing the quality of work.

Gain Clearer Project Roadmap with ClickUp Sprints

If you’re a fan of the Agile project management methodology, you’re probably familiar with the concept of sprints, right? Sprints are time-boxed periods during which specific tasks are completed. Not only do they motivate your team to push through and complete these tasks, but they’re also a convenient tool for managing stakeholder expectations.

It is possible to bring agile workflow into your ClickUp workspace. You’ll need to utilize the Sprints feature.

I love ClickUp because it allows me to customize sprint cycles according to each team’s pace. For example, I can have my content team work in one-week sprints while the web development team works in two-week sprints. This helps everyone on my team get proper feedback when working on the project.

To make your workflow even smoother, ClickUp offers Sprint Automations and Sprint Dashboard cards for automating tasks and visualizing sprint progress.

And make sure to customize Default Settings for Sprint Folders. There you can easily adjust the default sprint duration, start day, date format, and non-working days according to your project plans.

Leverage ClickUp Integrations To Make Your Project Management Easier

I had a problem juggling multiple apps while managing my projects. And ClickUp integrations saved me a lot of time. 

With over 1000 integrations, ClickUp makes it easy to sync your favorite apps in a snap, unifying your otherwise fragmented project management ecosystem. Business management becomes much easier once you bring all your tools under one roof.

I’ve seamlessly integrated ClickUp with platforms like Slack for quick and effective team communication and Google Docs to have our essential documents within reach. But the possibilities don’t stop there. I’ve also integrated it with HubSpot for managing my marketing projects. Now my team has all customer data and project tasks in one place, which makes our marketing efforts significantly more manageable and effective. I also tried integrating ClickUp with some of the best AI tools for digital marketing, and it works like a charm.

Use Time Tracking To Monitor Your Team’s Productivity and Set Accurate Time Estimates

Are you curious about how much time your team spends on tasks? Or perhaps you’re looking to set more accurate time estimates for your projects and improve your time management? If so, I strongly recommend using the ClickUp time tracking feature.

When you enable time tracking in ClickUp, you unlock many possibilities. With ClickUp’s native time tracker, available across desktop, mobile, and Chrome, you can closely monitor the time spent on tasks. This is a great way to better understand your team’s productivity and manage your projects more effectively.

Here’s how to get started with ClickUp time tracking:

  1. First, a Workspace owner or admin must enable the Time Tracking ClickApp. This can be done from the Workspace settings, accessible by clicking on your Workspace avatar in the lower-left corner and selecting ClickApps.
  2. Once there, browse or search for the Time Tracking ClickApp, and click on it to enable it across all Spaces in your workspace.
  3. If you want to disable time tracking for specific Spaces, just uncheck those Spaces.

And that’s it! Time Tracking is now available throughout your workspace.

But what if you want to enable Time Tracking for individual Spaces? You can simply click on the Space Settings ellipsis in the Sidebar, select More, then ClickApps, and click Time Tracking to enable it for that specific space. Don’t forget to click Save!

Moreover, with ClickUp’s Business Plan and above, you can take your time tracking to another level by adding a time entry description, marking entries as billable, adding labels to a time entry, and even tracking time not associated with a specific task.

To further enhance your team’s productivity, you might also find my guide to managing your newly remote workers valuable.

Create Reports To Keep an Eye On Important Project Indicators

Keeping a close eye on the critical indicators of your project’s progress is always an excellent idea. And ClickUp’s Dashboards provide an easy way to visualize and analyze your work. The dashboard is essentially a collection of widgets you can tailor to your needs, providing a clear picture of tasks, goals, and targets.

Let’s say you want to monitor tasks by their status to identify potential bottlenecks; a pie chart widget can do that. Or perhaps there are specific lists in your space that you want to track closely; you can add those too. The possibilities are vast, from sprint widgets to burndown reports and even calculations for revenue targets.

One of the great things about this management platform is that once you’ve tailored your dashboard to provide the insights you need, you can easily share it. Whether you want to share it with your entire workspace, specific teams, or even just a few individuals, you can do so via a link.

For Business Plan subscribers, you can even export your workspace data at any time and present it to the relevant stakeholders.

You can also utilize ClickUp reports to get estimations for your ongoing projects. You can easily see within your dashboard which tasks are completed, overdue, or ahead of schedule. Eventually, you’ll be able to significantly improve your workflow setups.

ClickUp For Personal Use – Is It Worth It?

With its robust features, you may assume that ClickUp is overkill for personal use. But I strongly disagree. I found many benefits of ClickUp for personal use. Whether you’re a business owner, a freelancer managing multiple projects, or an ambitious individual tracking personal goals, you can gain value from ClickUp.

Here is my advice for leveraging ClickUp for personal use:

  • Use Notepad to record fleeting ideas or meeting minutes, then seamlessly convert these notes into tasks.
  • Prioritize your tasks based on their importance, creating a clear daily roadmap.
  • Utilize the Task Tray to keep your immediate tasks in sight, helping you stay focused.
  • Craft your personal workflow with Custom Statuses.
  • Simplify complex tasks into manageable steps with Checklists.

In essence, ClickUp offers the perfect blend of structure and flexibility, making it a worthy companion for personal project management. Don’t just take my word for it. Give ClickUp a try and see for yourself!

Get Started With ClickUp Project Management Today

Now that I’ve shown you how to use ClickUp for project management, it’s time to apply these tips. From personal experience, I can say that ClickUp is an excellent project management solution for businesses of all sizes. After all, ClickUp is one of the tools that helped me build a 7-figure digital agency.

And all this comes with affordable pricing, which perfectly fits businesses of all sizes:

  • Free: ClickUp provides a free tier offering essential project management and task-tracking tools, perfect for small teams or startups.
  • Unlimited ($5 per member/month): Ideal for small to mid-sized teams needing more robust functionality. This plan offers enhanced features such as unlimited tasks, integrations, and advanced reporting.
  • Business ($12 per member/month): Aimed at larger teams, this plan introduces advanced features such as goal tracking, custom permissions, and more. It provides the right tools to manage a growing business.
  • Enterprise (custom pricing): This plan is designed for large businesses with specific needs. This plan includes exclusive features like increased API limits, contract review, and priority support, ensuring your large-scale operations run smoothly.

If you didn’t start using ClickUp yet, it’s not too late. Get started with ClickUp today and take the first step towards efficient and effective project management.

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