Welcome back to another episode of Championing Change, our blog series designed to give you an inside look into the project management processes of real Wrike customers.
The goal of this series is to highlight the ways Wrike users are leaning on specific Wrike features to increase adoption, improve efficiency, enable transparency and visibility, and move their organizations closer to their business objectives. That’s a wordy way of saying we’re nosy, and we love learning how other people use Wrike — it’s one of the best ways to pick up new Wrike tips and tricks.
We hope this series opens your eyes to new ways you can use Wrike to improve your own processes or make your life that bit simpler. If you missed the inaugural edition, you can catch up here with Jennifer Mariotti, Global Head of Creative and Design at media company Circana.
This week, we sat down with Casey Shew, who serves as Online Learning Solutions Architect and Project Leader, as well as Technical Solutions Lead, at eCornell. eCornell is Cornell University’s external education arm, offering online professional and executive development to students around the world. eCornell has over 100 professional certificate programs in a variety of disciplines, including project management, marketing, finance and business, and leadership.
Casey has a complex role that involves mastering processes for eCornell. He spends his days identifying and implementing novel technologies and techniques within learning programs, collaborating with course development and program delivery groups to enhance efficiency, recommending creative solutions and plans for using new tools, and helping create reusable templates in the company’s project management system.
In his quest to improve efficiency at eCornell, Casey has become a natural proponent of a critical platform, Wrike, which he uses to design and implement effective processes across the campus.
Migrating to Wrike was “a breath of fresh air”
eCornell previously used Jira for project management, but migrated the course development team to Wrike to align better with their processes.
“Given that this team’s project management processes were more aligned with traditional Waterfall project management methodologies than Agile methodologies, by and large migrating to Wrike was like a breath of fresh air for their use case,” Casey explained.
He also credited the smooth transition to having several admins onboarded into Wrike first, giving them a head start on adapting processes having already familiarized themselves with the platform.
“There’s almost always skepticism when a new piece of software is introduced to solve a difficult problem — and rightly so! Software is often a shiny new toy that can be used as a distraction from complex challenges.”
Casey said that within the admin team, it helped to ensure that several people were “versed in taking a business analyst approach to adapting processes to software.” He explained that Wrike’s capabilities are typically able to adapt and absorb a team’s workflows, but “the roadblock is often less about the capabilities of the software and more about the difficulty of understanding and translating processes into the software effectively and, most importantly, holistically.”
From his experience, he learned to ensure that teams take a thorough approach to setting up projects. “Do not skip the requirements gathering stage of bringing a new process or team into Wrike — this is where you can set the project up for success.”
Features that increase visibility
Every Wrike user has favorite or most-used features. Personally, I’d be lost without my dashboard telling me what’s my most urgent task every day. Well, eCornell is no different. Casey specifically called out the tools that allow individual users to manage their tasks at scale more efficiently, such as dashboards, reports, and calendars.
“These tools enable us to set up views that centralize and organize tasks from a variety of projects into one place, for easy visibility and triage,” Casey said. “We manage many projects at once so these tools Wrike provides are critical in managing at scale across projects.”
eCornell’s teams also rely on Wrike to help them cut down on time spent in meetings or updating stakeholders by including critical information about a project in fields with shared visibility.
“Task descriptions, comments, and custom fields definitely reduce the need to reiterate that information as frequently as would be needed otherwise,” Casey explained. This visibility also reduces the risk of duplicative work while building a broader shared understanding among teams.
Using Wrike’s additional resources
While Casey has incredible knowledge of how Wrike can help the wide variety of teams at eCornell, he knows where to head when he’s looking for more information. “I leverage the help center regularly both to educate myself and provide educational resources for others on features we are utilizing,” he said.
When an issue arises, he heads straight to the top — of our customer service, that is. “The request submission process is also very smooth and I appreciate how quickly I get responses to issues that might arise,” he explained.
Casey also pops onto the Wrike website regularly to stay abreast of any new features or use cases being released or highlighted. “I always check the release notes each week for relevant features that may benefit the various teams I work with that use Wrike,” he said.
“I’ve been very pleased to see the enhancements coming to the native automation engine in the recent months as well, and look forward to seeing that engine becoming more and more powerful in the coming years.”
If you’re interested in bringing Wrike to your team, start a free two-week trial and take a few of Casey’s tips on board to promote efficient processes and improve your change management process for wider adoption.