Wrike Doubles Effectiveness of Digital Development Team in One of the Nation's Largest Radio Companies
Organization. Entercom is one of the five largest radio broadcasting companies in the United States, with a nationwide portfolio of 110 stations in 23 markets, including San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Portland, Sacramento and Kansas City.
Challenge. Organize the work of a distributed web-development team and align project management with issue tracking
Solution. The team executes trouble-ticketing and project management in one place
Result. Streamlined collaboration of a distributed team and doubled efficiency of its operations.
Interview with Nick Borders, Director of Digital Development
Nick, please tell us a little about your organization and your team's needs. Why did you need a project management software?
Being the one of the five largest radio broadcasting companies in the U.S., Entercom unites 110 stations in 23 markets and is home to some of radio's most distinguished brands and compelling personalities. The company is also the radio broadcast partner of the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Kansas City Royals, New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Sabres. As one of the industry leaders, we needed to keep up with technological innovations, including my area, digital technologies. I'm heading the digital development team that is distributed over many locations across the country. Everything that is Web-related falls on our shoulders. We assist the stations in different parts of the U.S. with their digital needs, including support requests and new projects. So we have two parallel activities - trouble-ticketing and project management - that have to be coordinated with each other. This was our primary need when we started looking for a project management tool. We needed a system that could help us track trouble tickets, as well as lay our projects and put them in perspective with each other.
What solutions did you try to coordinate your multiple projects with trouble ticketing?
We tried several tools, one of which was QuickBase. We found it to be an overly clunky tool for our team. Also, none of the tools we tried before Wrike handled tasks and projects well at the same time. Wrike, on the contrary, lets us manage projects and handle trouble-ticketing parallel to each other. It's a huge boost to our team's productivity.
How did Wrike help you organize your projects and issue tracking in one place?
Wrike made it easy for me and my team. What's especially valuable for us is that Wrike has a neat idea of a task. It treats tasks as small action items, which can be either associated with projects or viewed as separate trouble tickets. Having "folders" instead of "projects" is also very convenient, as we can associate folders with specific radio stations or local markets, not just projects. I'll give you an example. Let's say we have a support request from one of our stations, and we are working on a related project at the same time. If this issue and the project will be tracked separately, some of the job will probably be done twice, which will slow down the whole development process. Wrike solved this problem for us. If we get an e-mail support request, we forward it to Wrike. There, the newly created task can be associated with the particular radio station folder. We also can share this support request, assigned to a certain developer with the related project team, and they will be able to work on the existing problem together. Moreover, this prevents the problem from popping up again, after the project is delivered.
What else changed in your workflow after you adopted Wrike?
Now we are able to pass tasks around. Since Wrike is very flexible, we can assign and reassign the same task. For example, if a person who is assigned to complete a task feels that he is not competent enough to resolve it, it is very easy to swap the task around and find the right expert for it.
What are your favorite features in Wrike?
I use the Intelligent Email Engine quite often, especially when I get new support requests via email. This is a big piece that I love in Wrike - saves me loads of time. I also do love Excel export and import. This feature helps me replicate the process, if we have similar projects. I create a template project in Wrike and then export it to Excel. After that, I can use the exported Excel file as many times as I need to. Each time, all the folders and tasks will be created in the new project folder, just like I need them. The only thing I have to change now is the due dates. This feature is another big time-saver.
I frequently use the Dynamic Timeline when I need to organize the tasks in a new project and build the initial project plan. Then I regularly use it to get a quick snapshot of our work and to get an idea of what stage of the development process our project or the whole department is in.
Reports are another great feature that I am keen on in Wrike. Besides the actual reporting, I use it for past-projects analysis. Wrike lets me get customized reports and sort information by project, by responsible person, by date, etc. Sometimes it's hard to remember all the steps that we went through in the course of this or that project. It's good to have an opportunity to reflect on what we did wrong or right, and make corrections in future project plans. It helps to move the team and the whole organization forward.
On the whole, I really like the fact that Wrike is a living project. We've been using it for nearly a year now, and Wrike's team added many features that make our lives much easier.
What major benefits has Wrike brought to your business?
The main thing is that Wrike lets me organize my whole team and keep them in touch. It allows us to maintain real-time collaboration that helps us to support the radio broadcasting network's needs and move the company ahead in the direction of innovation. I have a complete view of our department work, and at the same time I can examine any individual task in depth. That's important when I need to adjust our existing project plans to the changing requirements or plan our future projects. I also know what each member of my team in any part of the country is busy with, so I can wisely allocate our resources.
Wrike turned out to be exactly what we needed - a simple and elegant tool that is not overloaded with features and saves us precious time. Wrike's interface is very straightforward, and it doesn't overthink things, which I'm very much fond of. We do the things two times faster than we did before. This significant advantage doubled our effectiveness.
Do you plan to extend the use of Wrike?
Yes, we will most probably create more accounts in the near future, as we are planning to add staff. All the newcomers will join our collaboration in Wrike.