In many ways, a typical day for the Miami Dolphins creative team plays out like a football game itself. Dozens of people in varying roles must perform in perfect alignment in order to execute on their goal. Their responsibilities include producing design, photography, and video content that not only satisfies the needs of internal and external clients, but also lives up to the standards of the Miami Dolphins brand — no easy task.
This isn’t just any football team. This is the Miami Dolphins — the only NFL franchise to record a perfect season and go on to win the Super Bowl. That level of precision and quality is expected throughout the organization, including on the creative team.
“We’re making more and more content every day,” says Surf Melendez, Managing Director of Content and Creative with the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium. “It’s incredibly important for our team to be as efficient as possible because there are only so many hours in a day and only so many places we can be. We needed a better tool to manage the workload.”
The video team, which includes half a dozen videographers and editors, completed 1,735 tasks in less than a year, averaging 8.6 video edits in a single day. The success or failure of a project can be determined on a minute-by-minute basis. If everyone on the team doesn’t know where they need to be when and the tasks that they’re expected to complete, things can get messy fast.
“We’ve been searching for a tool for the last several years. We tried a lot of different tools, but we always needed something more.”
Melendez and his colleagues tried everything from Google Docs to Excel spreadsheets to Slack. They even hired a developer to create a customized project management tool for them. But something was always lacking.
The team was assembled. The players were ready. Now they just needed a playbook to keep everyone on the same page and moving the ball towards the goal line.
Luckily, they found Wrike.
We recently caught up with Melendez to hear how his team is functioning at optimal levels.
1. Tell us a little bit about what your team does for the Miami Dolphins.
A: Over the last 4 years, we’ve been building a content creation team that works on all of the design, photography, and video content for our social and video channels, as well as in game. Basically, anything that’s creatively driven, someone on our team has their hands on it.
2. What was it like when your team first started using Wrike?
A: It seemed like they started becoming more efficient overnight. Now we use fewer applications to get the job done because we’re using Wrike as a communication tool, a project management tool, and a way to keep track of everyone’s work hours. It’s become this all-in-one app.
3. What were some of your biggest challenges?
A: There are a lot of approval processes that took a long time because they weren’t as efficient as they could have been. A lot of time was spent just sitting there waiting and waiting for approvals and feedback. With Wrike, we’ve been able to speed up turnaround time on projects.
We’re not having to dig through emails and sort through what’s for them or what’s not for them. They get their notifications with the @mentions on a job, so they know exactly what feedback is for them and turn it around quicker.
4: Why is tracking everyone’s hours so important to your team?
A: For one, we’re making so much content now. I don’t want my team to get burned out or for them to work all hours of the night. With Wrike, I’m able to see who is working on what. Not only that, we set up the reporting tool so we can see how many man-hours we’re putting into each product, and it helps me understand if we’re spending the right resources in the right places.
If we’re spending too much time on a project that isn’t providing value for us, I can shift my resources. I wasn’t able to make that decision before.
5. What else has changed since you started using Wrike?
A: I’m not sending as many emails because now I can just @mention my team on the jobs they’re working on. In the course of a day, I used to get 100 emails for different things and 75 of those would be project related. Now, the only time we send emails related to projects is if a final deliverable needs to be sent outside of our team. We’ve probably cut down emails about 50-60%.
I’m still grinding and getting a lot done, but it’s more streamlined. I’m able just able to get more done.
6. How much time would you say Wrike has saved you and your team?
A: For an average job that would take a week, Wrike has helped us cut down a whole day. A project that would take us 5 days might take us 4 days now. We’ve just become so much more efficient.
7. What are some of your favorite Wrike features that you use on a daily basis?
A: Because I’m always traveling, being able to have the Wrike app on my phone is a game changer.
We set up some custom dashboards, which have been tremendous. I just open up my dashboard and look at who’s working on what. We have about 20 people on the team that use Wrike daily, and many more throughout the company who use it to submit requests. Wrike is a part of everyday life here. We use it as a verb now. We’re always telling people to “Wrike it in.”
Whenever I talk to any other creatives on other teams, I ask them what do they use for their project management, or what do they use for their reporting. I love showing off Wrike.