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Championing Change

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Championing Change: Mike Fank on cutting implementation time by 83%
Project Management 5 min read

Championing Change: Mike Fank on cutting implementation time by 83%

We’re back with another installment of our Championing Change series, where we learn how real Wrike customers are using our platform in their daily work to reach their goals. Getting Wrike tips and tricks directly from customers is one of the best ways to get the most out of our platform.  This time, we’re hearing from Mike Fank, Operational Excellence, Quality, and Safety Manager at Wisconsin Metal Parts (WMP). In operation for over 30 years, WMP is a one-stop shop for metal production. As Mike put it, “We make everything.” The company manufactures the metal parts in bike racks, medical devices, HVAC systems, orthodontics —  and just about everything in between. “If it’s made of metal, we’ll gladly work on it,” he said.  Recently, Mike became our latest Wrike Black Belt holder, marking his work toward becoming a true Wrike champion. Today, Mike gives us insight into how the company continues to strive for improvement, increase efficiency, and embrace change using Wrike. Using Wrike to implement a continual improvement process “Continual improvement is core to what we do at WMP,” Mike explained. To reach its continuous improvement goals, the company created an employee improvement submission system to “track how many ideas are submitted and how many are implemented”. Starting with one small piece, WMP has grown its continual improvement process using Wrike as the foundation. “Wrike helped automate the approval and routing of ideas. After our initial use case was adopted, we continued to grow what can be put in Wrike,” Mike added.  But WMP didn’t just use Wrike to effectively collate employee-submitted ideas, it also integrated its corrective action process by building a custom template in Wrike that ensures each step is completed. Then it added required reviews and approvals at key steps, so management could regularly monitor each submission’s progress. Try Wrike for free In the process of implementing this system, WMP landed on one of our favorite bonuses of using Wrike: the elimination of spreadsheets and emails. As a manufacturing company, WMP can’t keep every element in Wrike but the key initiatives are there, according to Mike. And that alone has allowed the company to drastically cut down on status update emails and cumbersome spreadsheets for its continual improvement program.  Anticipating change management issues When we hear about our customers introducing entirely new processes, we know that adjustment can be tricky. Change can be hard! That’s why we’re particularly interested in spreading the word when we hear our customers tout the successful introduction of new Wrike features.  Mike explained that WMP’s strategy for change management was to get initial buy-in for building its continual improvement program using Wrike, build said program, and then follow up with those who needed extra assistance. “The key has been follow-ups and one-on-one training for the people who are either skeptical or didn’t understand,” Mike said. The icing on the cake? Being able to show that the program works. “We’ve also been able to show the dramatic improvement Wrike has had on implementing ideas.” As adjustments have been needed to tweak the continual improvement system, Mike said the process has been to “get the team together to understand the problems we’re facing with the current system, and then pilot a revised system in Wrike”. He added that it doesn’t take long for those adjustments to take hold: “So far, when people start using it, they immediately see the improvement.” Being a Wrike go-getter helps implementation  While a lot of what Wrike can do is intuitive, there’s so much more the platform can provide when you look a little deeper, take a tutorial, or attend our webinars. Mike really dove in head first, aiming to make sure WMP was getting the absolute maximum from Wrike.  “When first launching Wrike, I consumed everything I could. I read everything I could find, asked questions on the How To forum in the Help Center, and looked at all the other use cases,” he said. “I wanted to learn all the things Wrike could do to better help WMP implement it effectively.” And Mike’s diligence on the front end has paid off, both in a smooth Wrike rollout and impressive improvements in efficiency.  Leveraging Wrike to augment manufacturing technology Manufacturing organizations have priorities that can be a bit different from other Wrike customers, such as marketing agencies or IT companies. But WMP is a prime example of a manufacturing company using Wrike effectively.  Mike explained that WMP began by using Wrike for key initiatives while keeping scheduling, planning, and reporting on physical processes in its ERP system. However, WMP is striving to ensure all possible work moves into Wrike eventually. Mike admitted: “Not all our work is in Wrike. I know the saying is, ‘If it’s not in Wrike, it doesn’t exist’ — we’re not there.” With such effective change management strategies, however, it looks like WMP will be soon.  Wrike features boost WMP’s efficiency Thanks to WMP’s employee submission system, the company has been able to cut its backlog by more than half, from 300+ items to 128. Even more impressive? The company was also able to cut its implementation time from more than 30 days to just over five.  We just love hearing stories of Wrike significantly saving our customers time and energy.  If you’ve been on the fence about introducing Wrike’s work management platform to your company, let Wisconsin Metal Parts serve as an example: change really is worth it. Why not try Wrike for free for two weeks and get a taste of how your processes could improve and evolve with Wrike?  Try Wrike for free

Championing Change: Casey Shew on the Secret to Perfecting Processes
Wrike Tips 5 min read

Championing Change: Casey Shew on the Secret to Perfecting Processes

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.  Try Wrike for free 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.”  And we look forward to delivering more powerful features, from AI to workflow management and beyond, 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.  Try Wrike for free

Introducing Our New Customer-Focused Series: Championing Change
Project Management 3 min read

Introducing Our New Customer-Focused Series: Championing Change

What we hear time and again from our customers is that they love to learn how other people use Wrike. While we’ve shared hundreds of organizational use cases and customer stories that give you a macro perspective of how Wrike can help your company thrive, we know our customers also want to know the nitty-gritty details of how Wrike will affect their team’s day-to-day workflows.  So today we’re introducing a new series called Championing Change, where we get an inside view into the specific ways Wrike impacts people’s daily work. We’ll highlight the features each user relies on to increase productivity, eliminate roadblocks, and create processes that make their work lives easier.  Whenever I’m on a Zoom call with a colleague and they offer to share their screen to show something they’re doing in Wrike, I’m fascinated. Watching someone else in action using Wrike is simply the best way to imagine how you can use it to your advantage. Even working at Wrike, we benefit from gathering ideas for new use cases from our colleagues, and we’re excited to share the ways you can too.  To kick off the series, we get a peek inside Jennifer Mariotti’s Wrike processes. Jennifer is the Global Head of Creative and Design at Circana, a media company with around 5,000 employees. She did considerable research into work management platforms that would work best for her creative teams. When her team doubled in size, she was able to easily onboard new team members to Wrike — an experience that left her impressed with the platform’s ability to scale when necessary.  In her day-to-day work, Jennifer leans hard on Wrike’s dashboards to create seamless workflows with high visibility into her teams’ workloads and progress. And as part of a creative team, she uses Wrike’s in-app proofing tools so she doesn’t have to download files, mark them up, then re-upload to send them on for approvals.  We encourage you to read the full infographic to learn more about how Jennifer uses Wrike’s project management tools to help her creative team deliver results.  And check back regularly for more insight into how our customers use Wrike in our new Championing Change series!

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