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Published by Vitaly | Monday, 16 January, 2012Are you tired of having your project information spread out in disconnected files, e-mails and papers around you? Do you feel you are constantly missing something important? Do you believe you and your team can collaborate more productively?
Dave Anderson, Director of Sales & Marketing in UK2 Group, a global hosting provider, had similar problems before he started using Wrike in his department a couple of months ago.
"Before Wrike, I had everything written down on multiple sheets of paper. At the end of every week, I spent hours on taking them all, consolidating, reprioritizing, and figuring out if these are the most recent notes or if there are some newer notes somewhere."
After adopting Wrike project management software, Dave's entire marketing and sales department productivity increased by 25%! This story is a great example of how project management practices and a team's productivity can be improved with the help of an appropriate tool. Today we are glad to share Dave's experience with you in our new podcast:
Here's a list of 7 eye-opening things to do to help you boost efficiency in the management of marketing projects:
1. Don't get drowned in the data flowIt's not uncommon for marketing departments to be overloaded with campaign plans, sales reports, stats and multiple document versions. What a relief to know that the latest piece of data is always at your fingertips!
"We ended up with going with Wrike primarily because it had all of our projects in one screen, and we could easily manipulate back and forth between those projects," Dave says. "We just log notes to the tasks, and Wrike sorts it all for us, the most current ones."
2. Ensure you can descend with ease from the bird's-eye view to tiny project detailsTo run a project successfully, you need to have the full overview of it with all completion dates, as well as the ability to drill down instantly to any particular task detail you are interested in right now.
"In Wrike, I see everything that I need in one view, not way too much information or not enough information to estimate the progress. It actually ended up a perfect fit that way," Dave comments.
3. Take your office anywhere instantlyTrade shows, meetings with customers and partners outside the office, business trips, and working from home in the evenings... Rather than having papers scattered everywhere, now Dave can take his office with him anytime, anywhere:
"I can go home or pull up Wrike anywhere in the world and have all the project folders in the same place. On the road, I just pull out my iPhone and plug in new updates and check on the status updates from the team."
4. Collaboration is vital, so share smartly!Some tasks are to be done by a single team member, while others require collaboration. Wouldn't it be convenient to have all of the team's data stored in a central place, while the project view of other team members never gets cluttered? That's easy to do with Wrike's selective sharing!
"The thing that I love about the system is that everyone can have their own unique environment within Wrike. Team members have their to-do lists within their own view, and if they are collaborating with other team members, they just easily add other people to these tasks," Dave says.
Selective sharing also helps you create a common workspace for a distributed team: "Now with shared folders, remote employees don't feel as remote. They feel like they are a part of the organization," Dave adds.
5. Keep worthy ideas safe for tomorrowQuite often, you may not have enough resources to implement all of the great marketing ideas right away. Store them as "deferred" or "backlogged" in Wrike to get back to them at the right moment!
"When we have brainstorming sessions, I add everything to Wrike. It's very easy for us to bring all those ideas right back to the forefront of our mind and to figure out whether now is the right time to implement them, now that we have some freed-up resources," Dave comments.
6. Time is precious, so make the most of every communication!For a busy head of a marketing department, it's important to be efficient in both downward and upward communications. At the meetings with your direct reports, you can instantly filter out the tasks in Wrike by assignee for any given time period and give them immediate feedback on their productivity.
"I also have a folder specifically for the president's approval. This way, we are able to save a lot of time, as we don't necessarily need to meet on every single topic of discussion. If a resolution wasn't agreed on at a certain time, the task just stays there, and I don't have to write hundreds of reminder notes," Dave says.
7. Balance work and personal lifeNo matter how busy you are, you shouldn't forget about your personal life. Wrike is as efficient for work projects as for birthday shopping and party planning!
"I can mix my personal to-do lists and work in one workspace in Wrike. So whether I'm home or on the road, I find everything in one place from the personal perspective, as well," Dave says.
We enjoyed the podcast with Dave and believe it provides valuable, first-hand experience and useful examples of how the right technical solution can significantly improve planning and productivity in marketing teams. If you have helpful tips to share, too, we'd be happy to know about them!
Published by Vitaly | Tuesday, 10 January, 2012The secret of efficiency in project management is pretty simple: You don't need to do everything; you need to do everything that's important.
But with tight deadlines, lots of people and multiple projects, planning your time can be very tricky.
In our new podcast, we discuss this issue with Matt Bullock, a COO at Base Camp Franchising. Matt successfully coordinates dozens of projects for almost 100 franchise retail stores nationwide under 2 brands: Kid to Kid and Uptown Cheapskate.
Matt has first-hand knowledge of what it means to manage multiple project groups with their own goals, priorities and working habits. He knows precisely how crucial it is to have a clear picture of all projects to allocate resources between them, especially when you plan hundreds of tasks for a really large team.
"At some point, we decided to bring all that to a system, rather than continue trying to work through the Outlook Calendar," comments Matt Bullock. In less than three months of using Wrike, Matt systematized all his team's tasks and projects in one place.
After that, he implemented four project management rules that dramatically changed project planning for Base Camp Franchising and allowed the team to do more in less time with better quality.
If you feel overloaded with tasks and stressed out by deadlines, Matt's experience can really help you out!
These four rules revolutionized project management in Base Camp Franchising. If you face the same challenges of running multiple projects simultaneously, they might be helpful for your business, too. Here's what Matt advises:
1. Coordinate your team's efforts
Employees rarely see the whole picture of the project, so they're not aware of where the team's priorities stand. Consequently, they get out of sync in collaboration. We all have faced situations when, say, it took three days to complete a task, while there were only three people working on it for an hour each. When a worker isn't in the loop with what his peer does, he might have a wrong vision of priorities. People work on things that seem to be the most important for them, but the priorities may be different on the level of an entire project.
To avoid misalignment in his team's efforts, Matt implemented Wrike project management software, which made collaboration in Base Camp Franchising absolutely transparent: "There are two things I like about Wrike. First, it gives me a list of to-dos within each project any time I need it. Secondly, it automatically sends notifications, so that not only me, but all other project contributors are always aware of what they need to accomplish and when."2. There can't be too many experts
We got used to the idea that too many cooks spoil the broth. However, with the impact of technology, this proverb doesn't really match modern collaboration.
If your team is able to share information and communicate efficiently, involving experts can help you discover mistakes on earlier stages and avoid losing time on unpromising projects.
"We have an outsourcing coder, and I'm able to pull in other subject matter experts on each particular project. We all work in the same environment in Wrike and thus manage to keep everyone in the loop. We involve more people and produce a better product because of that." (Matt Bullock)
3. Use technologies that save timeTry to minimize the time you spend on collecting status updates and spreading the information between all collaborators. Instead, focus on the activities that add real value to the results you deliver to your customers.
Matt highlights: "Instead of having long meetings in order to know how is the project going, in Wrike, it's like in Facebook, where you post a status on a task when something is happening, and you always know when something has changed or needs to be changed. That helps a lot!"
4. Be precise; it really helps!Project management is not only about managing projects, but also about managing opportunities.
You should be ready to estimate your resources immediately when a new idea comes up. This way, you don't risk jumping into something that you are unable to accomplish before the deadline.
Matt believes that the Gantt chart is the most efficient tool for making this tip work: "We use the Gantt chart, where we can easily see how much time we have and decide whether we are able to add a new feature or not. I can set task dependencies and milestones, so it's easy to plan to see how changes might influence everything."
Applying these methods to its project management practices, Base Camp Franchising improved its time planning and made collaboration more efficient. As a consequence, no change can knock the team off the course – it's now able to react way faster than before.
Matt admits that Wrike has greatly influenced these improvements and supports his business a lot on the way to achievements. We welcome you to join one of our FREE Webinar, where you'll learn how Wrike can make your business more successful, too!
Published by Daria | Wednesday, 02 June, 2010If you’ve been bitten by the Twitter bug and were thinking of bringing the social messaging experience to the workplace, we’ve got some exiting news for you. Wrike is adding a microblogging-style tool to its online project management software.
Those of you who have already checked out the beta of Wrike’s new version may have already noticed and tried using the new Activity Stream feature. Wrike’s Activity Stream represents a built-in microblogging tool that allows everyone on the team to instantly share information and links, post information about their progress, report problems, and get solutions. In addition, Activity Stream displays all the team members’ recent actions in real time. You can see changes that your team members make to tasks and projects immediately. When your colleague reschedules a task, attaches a file or changes the task priority, the edits are specially marked in the Activity Stream. All the comments added to tasks are also displayed here. The result is a team productivity boost, better communications and tighter control across multiple projects and teams.
We decided to add this feature after extensive interviews with our customers, and we’re happy to see that the feature turns out to be everything they wanted. For example, here’s what one of our customers, Luther Cale, chief of marketing at HealthStream, says: “I like the built-in Activity Stream component a lot. We used to use Yammer for microblogging on our projects, but it wasn't really worth an extra app for just that functionality. But microblogging built into the online project management system makes more sense and is far more useful.”
What’s your opinion of the microblogging component in Wrike? We’re always happy to hear your feedback.