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Wrike Collaborate Recap: A Fireside Chat With Kasey Schmidt From Visa Acceptance Solutions
Project Management 7 min read

Wrike Collaborate Recap: A Fireside Chat With Kasey Schmidt From Visa Acceptance Solutions

When it’s Wrike Collaborate season, our team gets excited to nerd out about our product announcements and hands-on training. But what we really love are the sessions that allow our customers to share how they use Wrike to achieve impressive results.  This year, we had the pleasure of welcoming Kasey Schmidt, Marketing Technology Lead for Visa Acceptance Solutions, who spoke with Wrike’s Global Customer Experience Lead, Jessica Wooding, about her team’s experience adopting the Wrike platform — and launching a completely new brand with Wrike’s help.  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that the entire conversation is a must-watch from start to finish. Kasey’s insight on bringing Wrike into her team offers so many nuggets that listeners can implement in their own organizations, from how to slow-roll a tech change for maximum success, to the nitty-gritty details of how they use request forms to free up their creative team for more high-value work.  The great news is that you can watch the entire conversation between Kasey and Jessica (as well as all the other sessions from Wrike Collaborate 2023!) on demand now, for free.  Watch session Here’s a sneak preview of their conversation:  Jessica: Is there something in the past year that you’ve been able to accomplish, despite all odds, that you’re particularly proud of? Kasey: Yes, we were able to launch a brand in the past year, which was huge. That’s no small feat. I think that speaks to the work that was done with our marketing team and how incredibly diligent they were in launching that brand within a very small timeline. So it’s very satisfying to look back at that work and understand that it went from announcement to launch in just a matter of weeks. We could see the work that’s been developed in a website and a brand identity guide and creative and general strategy to move forward with the growth of that brand.  Jessica: Would you say that Wrike was a part of that success in launching the brand?  Kasey: Wrike was a huge part of that success. We were really running with Wrike at that point, and it was to see Wrike in action, in our effort to build an entire brand and digital assets and a website and information architecture for that website and all of the creative that’s associated with the launch of that brand, and all of the events that might be associated. Having our team comfortable working in Wrike and understanding the platform to a higher degree and knowing what they needed to do within the platform — to ensure that they had the views set up correctly, that they were requesting creative correctly, and that they could really track how this project was progressing — all of that was paramount to our success.  Jessica: How would you say that Wrike is really helping to support you and Visa on this journey?  Kasey: Wrike provides an element of visibility that we didn’t have before as an organization. In any big Fortune 500, you’ll see teams on different systems, and teams working across a variety of project management tools. It’s hard to get somebody to log in to five or more platforms on a daily basis just to understand what’s going on with a project.  We’ve seen that having all of those teams come into Wrike with one single view of our project management has been so helpful in clarifying where we’re at in certain workflows. And it’s really enabling people to work better and become less frustrated as they’re working on specific projects. Jessica: That’s beautiful. Now, you mentioned that there are multiple teams at Visa who are using Wrike. What are some of those teams that are using it and is it cross-functional or are they all in one department?  Kasey: The way that we rolled out Wrike, I’ve been really impressed with our team and just how diligent we’ve been in ensuring that we’re taking a crawl-walk-run approach. We really did start slow and we made sure that our core teams were in there. Our creative team specifically was our first use case, then we slowly brought in our email teams, our events teams, our campaigns teams, and our content and creative strategy teams, and even some agency partners.  We’ve actually expanded outward now to include additional marketing teams at Visa or other teams as well, not just marketing, which has been really cool, too. But with that comes a larger visibility as we’re seeing what’s going on across the organization. And I think that’s so helpful, especially as we start to realize that we can all operate in a matrix and we can’t just live in our silos. We’ve learned that it’s really critical to ensure you understand what’s going on across your organization and you maintain that level of communication.  Jessica: Think back to life before Wrike — what was it like collaborating on those processes before you guys were using Wrike? Kasey: Oh my gosh, it just took us so long. That’s really the key takeaway. We used a few different project management tools and it took us a really long time to come to a consensus on what was going on. From a product management standpoint, when you’re asking a user to sift through information to find exactly what they’re looking for, it’s never going to create a positive experience.  Naturally, we’re always thinking externally to our customers and considering how we can optimize their experience in the customer journey. But every now and again, it’s really important to step back and think, OK, what can we do for our internal team to ensure that they’re productive and maintaining the level of efficiency that ensures that they’re happy, healthy employees? We saw that as a huge opportunity, so we focused on choosing really good technology that met our use cases and was there to help us create a system and a flow in which everyone was comfortable in the user interface and we all were working in the same place.  *** You’ll have to head over to the Wrike Collaborate 2023 on-demand page to watch the rest of the interview. While you’re there, make sure you watch our product updates as well!  Watch session

Customer Q&A: How Wrike Keeps inDrive on the Road to Success
Marketing 5 min read

Customer Q&A: How Wrike Keeps inDrive on the Road to Success

Find out how global mobility and urban services company inDrive used Wrike to put its teams on the road to unparalleled productivity.

Walmart Delivers Operational Excellence by Scaling with Wrike
News 5 min read

Walmart Delivers Operational Excellence by Scaling with Wrike

Walmart Canada's Continuous Improvement team started off where many organizations do – using a spreadsheet to manage multiple complex projects and a rapidly changing operation. Tasked with developing new business recommendations for their Transportation department, along with managing thousands of employees, stores, vendors, and supply chains, the Continuous Improvement team quickly realized they needed a solution that provided the visibility and scalability needed to succeed.  Since it integrated Wrike into their systems, Walmart Canada has been able to better consolidate, view, and accelerate their workflows across the board. They've also reduced project approval times to near zero and cut the number of regular status updates and calls significantly. The Continuous Improvement team utilized Wrike to create their ideal workplace of the future, customized to work exactly the way they want. Today, their success with Wrike has led to its deployment across other Walmart teams.  We recently took some time to chat with Francis Lalonde, Vice President of Transportation at Walmart Canada, and Carolyn Lum, Director, Transportation Continuous Improvement at Walmart Canada, to get a better understanding of how they discovered Wrike, their integration journey, and how it’s helped them do their best work. Carolyn Lum, Director, Transportation Continuous Improvement at Walmart Canada Q: What drove you to find a new work management solution?  A: “We needed to make our process better. Walmart is innovating in so many ways, and we saw this as an opportunity to get even better.” Q: Why did you decide to use Wrike?  A: “Walmart moves at such a fast pace, and decisions and directions can change within even the same week. It allows us to make the changes as we want on our schedule without having to rely on any sort of third-party development team to make those changes for us.” Q: What Wrike feature or functionality do you love most? A: “Multiple views — so no matter what tool someone is working in, they can easily and seamlessly work within this one tool. And Reporting is a big deal as well. My executives really wanted a high-level, bird's-eye view of where we are. And the fact that we can do that in real time is amazing. We also use Wrike Analyze a lot. It's live, it's in real time, and we can report on any custom field we created.” Q: What does the future of Wrike look like for Walmart Canada?  A: “Every day, on our internal application store where we have our Walmart desktop app, I'm getting emails asking — can you talk to me about this tool? Can you talk to me about this solution? Can you walk us through how you're using it? The fact that everyone wants to implement the same ways of working that we have is really quite remarkable.” Q: How did the Continuous Improvement Team come about?  A: “I created the Continuous Improvement Team two and a half years ago. What I really wanted was to have a team that would help create that culture of continuous improvement … so it's not just a team of project managers. I wanted to build a team that would create a support network for our entire ecosystem. Their responsibility is to support teams with reporting, analytics, and everything they need to deliver on their initiatives. And that's what the team has been doing brilliantly.”  Q: What do you love most about your job?  A: “I love a million things about my job. I love that I get to service all of our customers on a daily basis. I love that we've built a team that’s relentlessly focused on people. And that's one of the things that I'm most passionate about, seeing that our people are growing, they're getting to a different level in terms of maturity in terms of performance, and have the chance to transform the business as well.”  Q: What do you love most about Wrike?  A: “Wrike is scalable and easy to use. And it really brings everything together. I'm also not the most technical guy, and my team will tell you that I'm using it every day. It's easy for me to navigate through all the details. So if dinosaurs like me from the system side are able to go in and really adopt it, everybody else can go in there and use that solution in a very easy manner.” Q: Where do you see your journey with Wrike taking you?  A: “The fun thing is other departments now want to get on the journey. We've been giving demos, probably once a week, for about a year and a half with other folks because others want to get on the program.” Learn more about the success of Walmart Canada and how they use Wrike to achieve operational success by watching the full video.

Dropbox's Move Reminds Us Teams Must Evolve Beyond Email
News 3 min read

Dropbox's Move Reminds Us Teams Must Evolve Beyond Email

With the news that our partners at Dropbox have decided to discontinue their email app Mailbox, I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon the state of our industry as a provider of Work Management and Collaboration Software.  First, let me say that Mailbox was a great email app. A lot of users are going to miss it. It brought swipe gestures and snooze into emails, and a polished user interface. At the time of its launch, these were very overdue additions to the email experience.  That said, it had a major flaw. It wasn’t a technical flaw or even a user experience flaw; Mailbox did everything it was supposed to do. Its flaw was a philosophical one that limited its value for individual business users. Our team at Wrike recently conducted a survey of the pains of workers and compiled the results into our 2015 Work Management Report. Among the interesting findings were that two of the biggest roadblocks to getting work done are “Waiting for Other People” and “Missing Information.” Within these statistics lies the flaw in Mailbox as a solution: You can give email a new paint job, but at the end of the day, it’s still a silo.  The engine for email is an individual engine. Mailbox helped improve personal productivity, and for its users, many of them saw real results. But the biggest pains for workers in 2015 are team pains, and improving the experience of email does not solve those. The best way to improve individual productivity is by enabling team productivity.  At Wrike, we have mobile apps with an Inbox feature not unlike Mailbox. It allows users to easily view new messages, and respond to them with swipe gestures. The fundamental difference is that it sits on a platform that is built around team visibility and collaboration.  When you receive a notification in your Wrike Inbox, you know who on your team can also see that update, and you don’t need to worry about who’s CC'd or fear that you’ll be delaying a project by delaying your response. All the vital information is presented, and previous conversations are clearly organized. In short, it’s more than a new paint job, it’s a whole new paradigm. Mailbox was a great app for its time. But its retirement shows that Dropbox sees what we have seen for nearly a decade: teams hold the key to successful businesses, and improving the way they work together is the fastest way to meeting big goals.  If you were a Mailbox user, I hope you’ll check out what we’re doing at Wrike. We’ve got tools for teams of all sizes, and I’m confident you’ll be impressed by the way we’ve evolved the inbox and the experience of working with your team.  

Are You a Plugged-in Manager? Find Out In Our Interview with Terri Griffith!
Leadership 10 min read

Are You a Plugged-in Manager? Find Out In Our Interview with Terri Griffith!

. Terri describes a game-changing approach to management that is based on the concept of being plugged into each one of the organizational dimensions — people, technology and organizational processes — simultaneously. Oftentimes, managers underemphasize one of the components; say, they address the people and organizational processes, but overlook the technological dimension. Or conversely, some consider technology to be a lifesaver, and the only thing they need to focus on. The balance of people, technology, and processes is something that I think is really important for any organization. I refer to this triangle in my previous posts. So it was a pleasure for me to meet Terri and discuss this topic, as well as find out more about her new book. Naturally, our conversation went way beyond defining who exactly qualifies as a "plugged-in manager", as we proceeded to talk about the role technology plays in modern business. To learn more about the concept of a plugged-in manager, learn the best ways to leverage technology, and hear some interesting examples from Terri's experience (as well as my own) I invite you to listen to our conversation in this podcast episode: [audio mp3="https://www.wrike.com/blog/content/uploads/2011/11/Interview_with_Terri_Griffith.mp3"][/audio] For your convenience, we've included a transcript of the interview below. And now we want to know: In your work, do you put more emphasis on people, processes or technology? Do you consider yourself a plugged-in manager? P.S. You can get your own copy of “The Plugged-in Manger: Get in Tune with Your People, Technology and Organization to Thrive” on Amazon. Transcript below: Andrew: Hi everyone, it’s great to hear you on our podcast today. And let me introduce our honored guest. Terri Griffith is a professor in Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business. Located in the heart of the Silicon Valley, she studies how we mix together the technology of work (everything from telepresence to the size and type of tools a crew would use to build a fence), the way we organize to do this work (virtual teams, collaborative leadership, innovation strategies), and the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the people we work with. Terri has just released a new book called “The Plugged-In Manager: Get in Tune with Your People, Technology, and Organization to Thrive.” The book addresses an important topic that’s very relevant to what I usually write about: how we become more productive, how we work together both in the same office and in virtual teams. Terri, it’s definitely an honor and pleasure to have you here today with us. Terri: Thank you very much! Andrew: Let me jump straight into the questions. And the first one, I think you can already guess what it is. Could you tell the listeners who exactly the plugged-in manager is and how he or she is different from most managers we see. Terri: First I’ll say that anybody can be a plugged-in manager because I think individual contributors, as well as managers, teams and even organizations, can be plugged in. They make sure that, as they think about an organizational practice, as they think about getting their work done, they think about the people — so what the skills are that the people have, how long they’ve been in the organization, the kinds of things they like to do. They think about the technology tools that they have available to them. So, like you said in the introduction, everything from telepresence to collaboration tools, to the kinds of tools we would use to build a fence, all those are the different kinds of technologies that we have at our disposal. And then what are the organizational process issues that we need to address as we think about the work that we’re trying to get done. A plugged-in manager is somebody who’s going to think about all three of those at the same time and going to understand that you have to mix them together. So if we’re going to use a particular technology tool, we may have to provide some training, and it may work out better if we have a certain kind of individual that we’ve already hired. On the other hand, if we have a bunch of expert employees, we may not have to provide so much training. So the people would reduce the amount of organizational processes we might have to deal with, even though we were choosing a pretty sophisticated technology. I think the big difference is plugged-in managers, plugged-in organizations, they don’t seem to think about there being a magic bullet — that if I just had that technology, or if just hired that one person, or if just changed this one organizational process. They know that’s never going to work, it’s always going to be some combination of the people, the technology and the organization that really make something work well. Andrew: I absolutely agree with you. This triangle of people, tools and processes is definitely crucial. And in my career, I’ve seen a lot of organization overemphasizing or underemphasizing part of that. My opinion is that people definitely are the cornerstone in that. Because, obviously, people make the choices on tools and processes, but other components, nevertheless, are also very important. Do you share the same view in terms of priorities between those three? Terri: I’d say those priorities are right, but I’m thinking about Andrew McAfee’s new book “Race Against the Machine” or even Jonathan Zittrain’s book, where they talk about how a lot of our work is being taken over by the technology itself. You know, an algorithm might be choosing what articles are going to get presented on a newspaper, rather than an editor. And so, at the tail end of the whole distribution of how we might think about how the choices get made. I’m going to say people play the biggest piece because they are generally the ones doing the work. But I think as we move into the future, we’re going to have to keep a pretty open mind. Is it a technology that’s making this choice for us? And it may be the case that, originally, it was people who wrote the code that is making that choice, but it’s going to become more of an open question as we move forward. Andrew: Yes, that’s definitely an interesting view. I’m a big fan of AI (artificial intelligence), so definitely one thing that I see on the market today is the concept of the big data, right? That we accumulate more and more data, and we come up with more and more sophisticated algorithms to process that data and build intelligence out of that data. So that’s an interesting angle. And one other insight that popped in my mind is that, obviously, some people are key to the success. But then processes and tools actually help them influence other people on the team. It’s kind of an interesting flow where you may have a champion, somebody who is either creative or smart or experienced or versatile in change management. And then, through the use of tools and technologies, they actually multiply that knowledge or culture power. Going back to the plugged-in manager and to your definition, do you see many managers right now who you could say are really plugged-in, or is there still a way to go for all of us? Terri: I’m not sure about you because the technology your company is putting out is pretty plugged-in, in my perspective. But I’m a little bit sad to say that it’s more rare than it is common for me to get into a conversation with someone and to immediately be able to say: “Wow, that person gets it, that person’s completely plugged-in.” We collect a lot of data about this, and we continue to collect it because we want to make sure we have a tool that will help us assess different levels of how plugged-in you are, and then hopefully we’ll be able to change the kind of training and workshops to be based on the kinds of results that we’re getting. While a lot of people think they are plugged-in, when we actually put them in situations where we want them to make choices, often they are biased toward taking the shiny technology. And they’ll go rank a technology solution higher than a solution that includes the technology, the organization and the people. We’re doing whatever we can to make that change, and we would like it to be really common for somebody to sit down and say: “All right, we have a new team project we need to do. What are the technology tools we are going to use, who are the people that we need to have on this team, and what’s our process going to be? Is it going to be a very face-to-face kind of process? Is it going to be more virtual? How are we going to approach the problem? And just have it be super common that everybody goes through that kind of three-point checklist of people, technology and organizational process. But I’m not seeing that yet. Andrew: I like Gartner’s hype curve. They do an aggregate, but even when we look at the particular person or organization, oftentimes what happens is they get excited about a shiny tool, but they hope that the tool will solve their problems by itself, and they don’t make their organizational challenge, and then it drops, and they become naysayers. They become the other part, and they develop a culture of “everything is already invented.” Then I talk to those people and ask them: “Do you remember the time when we didn’t have mobile phones, Skype, e-mails, so it makes them think. If you put it in perspective, technology does change our life. You can’t delegate everything to the technology. You have to control the process, but technology does change our life in a big way. Starting from something that we consider everyday, like giving a phone call and air travel and obviously e-mail and everything else. As we look at it, more and more work becomes informational work. And that actually goes hand-in-hand with that trend of the big data that we’ve just touched because it reinforces it. There’s more and more informational work, the information systems become more and more sophisticated, and there are more and more helpful tools. Back again to the plugged-in managers, I think this concept is very important. But why do you personally consider this is a game-changing approach to management? Terri: I think it goes to the number of organizational changes, either technology changes or organizational process changes that fail. And the number hasn’t changed in decades! We’ve been collecting data about organizational change failure for a long time. The number hangs around 50%. So 50% of all organizational changes, either technology or process changes, don’t do what the people who set out to implement them think they are going to do. And generally it’s because they don’t manage the implementation process very well. Oftentimes, what they’ve done is they thought: “Well, if I just make this one silver bullet adjustment, and I parachute this change in, everything is going to be different.” And it just doesn’t work that way. As a result, that’s just painful as a professor of organizations to stand up in front of a class and say, “Here are all these ideas about great things you can do to improve your organization, but by the way, 50% of the time they are not going to work for you,” I would like to see that change. It’s almost painful, too. I was giving a talk on this issue last night, and they asked, “Why would you spend two years writing a book? And I said, “Because it’s painful for me to see the situation where someone’s only focused on one of those three issues.” I thought about the United States TSA, our transportation safety authority that brings us all that fine effort that we go through, as we come to the airport. And for the most part, that was a technology change. That was: “We’re going to run this technology, and the technology demands that you take off your clothes, and the technology demands that you take off shoes. And we’re going to focus on that technology.” I think all the fighting and unhappiness that goes along with going to the airport now didn’t have to happen if they had thought about their stakeholders a little bit more and thought about how they could integrate stakeholder needs into the process that they need to make airport security good. But they didn’t think about it that way, as far as I can tell from reading the external reports. Andrew: Yes, I think that’s a great point. Now, in your book, you speak about three key practices for the plugged-in managers. Can you please briefly describe them for the listeners? Terri: Absolutely. The way I like to describe it is that here we’ve been talking about 3 dimensions: the people, the technology and the organization, and then we also have these 3 practices. So if we just keep in mind the number 3, maybe it’ll all help to stick a little bit. So the first one is “Stop, Look, Listen,” and even though it has three words in it, it’s still just one practice. But the idea is that you stop and you look. Can you say who are the people who are going to be impacted by this? What is the technology that we’re talking about? What do I have available to me already, or what might I need to go buy, and then what’s the organizational setting that this thing has to go into? By stopping for just a moment to reflect on what the current status is, and what the opportunities are that are out there, what the different choices are. And I think that keeps us from grabbing for that shiny thing and forgetting about all the rest. So if we just say to ourselves: “I’m going to go into this process. I’m going to think about a new way of doing things.” First thing I’m going to do it, I’m going to stop and look, and then after I take that first step, I’m going to start to listen. Well, I took the first step. What was the feedback from that? And is it going well, or do I need to make some adjustments? So “Stop, Look, Listen” is the first practice. The second practice is really the most powerful one, and this is the issue of mixing, mixing together those 3 ingredients: the people, the technology and the organization, in a way that makes sense. And I’ve shown this a couple times, as putting out on a table all the different ingredients for a chocolate chip cookie, and if you look at those ingredients, some of them are pretty tasty on their own, but for the most part, we’re going to have a better outcome once we mix it together. We’ve got to mix it together in the appropriate proportions for what we’re trying to achieve. And so mixing becomes the key. I like food a lot, so mixing and thinking about mixing a great meal or mixing a great dish is the way I kind of keep that one in my head. And then the 3rd practice is — really, you were talking about it a little bit — how do you multiply or leverage your advantage? And it’s through sharing. Sharing is the 3rd practice, and I’m going to kind of think aloud as I work in a team setting or think aloud as I talk to a group of executives and say, “Always look how every time I assess a situation, I’m always looking at the people, the technology and the organization. And always see how I’m trying to figure out what the blend is. I’m not going to try and change everything all at once, but I’m going to change a few things as I go along, and then gather up the feedback. But as I talk aloud about that process, I share the process, I’m doing 2 things. The 1st is that I’m spreading the idea of how to be a plugged-in manager, but the other one is, as I teach that idea through sharing, it means that the next time we go to make an adjustment, they are already going to know what we have in mind. I won’t have to implement the idea of being plugged-in, as well as implementing whatever the changes are that we’re looking at. Instead, they are already going to be aware of that part. So sharing is an important one, if we want to expand or leverage the impact that we can have in our organization. The 3 practices are “Stop, Look, Listen,” the reflective piece; then mixing, which is really where the heavy part of the process takes place, to really find out what a good combination is going to be; and then sharing, just to make it easier down the road. Andrew: Those are indeed great practices. There was the PMI Global Congress in Dallas, and I was invited to speak on virtual teams, and I brought out the topic that in virtual and distributed teams, a lot of communications are asynchronous, compared to the team that is co-located in one office. And in that environment, sharing is really crucial because you not only want to tell people what to do, but you also want them to understand your thinking. Exactly what you said, thinking out loud, so they know your reason, and even though the communication is asynchronous, and you are not necessarily there to make the decision for them, when they need to make, it they know your reasons, so they can make a similar decision, so it’s very aligned with what you’ve just described. So in your opinion, this approach, does it differ between SMBs and enterprises?  And if so, how? And if we’re speaking about enterprise, will it work for all levels, or does it differ as we start speaking about enterprise-wide changes and things like that? Terri: I think it’s just an issue of scale. So in a small or medium-sized business, it will be easier to demonstrate the process. Even if it’s a small organization that is virtual, it’s just easier because you’re talking to fewer people. You have more opportunity to clarify what your meaning is and clarify the approach. But even at an enterprise level, some of the top executives have the skills that they’ve learned to be plugged-in through experience, they’ve learned over time, and they are already practicing these approaches. They may not be calling it plugged-in management, but they’re certainly doing it. And as I think about executives at Microsoft that I got to talk to for the book, that would be a big organization looking at how to manage a virtual team between Washington and China. Then if I look at some of the startups that I was able to talk to in the book, they’re all doing the same practices, it’s just the matter of scale. In the larger organizations, and I’m thinking about Nucor Steel — as I say, Nucor Steel, the largest steel company in the U.S., and I think the largest recycler in the world (metal recycler). And for them the process that I would describe as being plugged-in, to them it’s just the new core way of doing things. They’ve been building that approach since the 1960s, and it actually came from the top, which I think may be a little bit rare. Often what I see is people in the middle of the organization find that these are good approaches, and then as other people see their success, they learn from that. So it’s almost a top or bottom-down of that process in larger organizations. If you are a big enterprise, and people are practicing plugged-in management, that’s a lot of leverage, very successful. Andrew: Now I only have a couple questions left, one would be, could you share with us some interesting anecdotes that might illustrate concept of your book or your research? Terri: Certainly. I often think about sailing, as a process that helps people learn about being plugged-in. I have a sailboat, and I have a crew of other people on their boats.  A sailboat itself is a technology, and so if you think about the size of the sails, the size of the mast, the size of the boat, everything has to scale appropriately. Also because I’m a woman, I’m not as strong as some of these big football-player-looking guys who might be on the America’s Cup boat or something like that, and because of that I have to use more pulleys. I have a lot of pulleys on my boat because I don’t have that much strength, but I can use the technology to increase the strength and increase the benefit of the strength that I do have.  Sometimes in class I’ll draw a picture of a sailboat that has 2 sails, and then I’ll draw a picture of a sailboat that has 3 sails, and we’ll talk about the difference. As for someone who isn’t a football-player-strong person, it’s harder to pull up one really large sail. Maybe I’d be better off pulling up two smaller ones. How do you make those choices, and how do you keep those choices top of mind? And it really does back to this idea of reflection. If we’re just charging ahead, we’re not going to be thoughtful and think about the different options we might have. So if we do that “Stop, Look, Listen” practice, we’re going to think of a few more options and maybe make a slightly better choice. Then the other example I have is probably a little more standard. Here at the university, we haven’t been all that modern about our own collaborative practice. As you can imagine, as somebody who writes about collaborative practice all the time, it’s been a frustration for me. But we’re finally moving ahead and looking at our communication and collaboration and even workflow. And I’m getting to practice these very things myself. I’m the chair of this university task force on communication and collaboration. And I can see why some people are drawn to simply make a decision and move ahead quickly. We keep pulling ourselves back and saying, “No, let’s not focus on the technology, let’s focus on the work to be done. Keep those examples top of mind. And then we’ll bring in the technology as we need to.” Both of those, both the sailing and this collaboration task force have been great learning experiences for me. Andrew: Yes, I think that sailing was a great metaphor because oftentimes people just go with the flow, especially if the user of technology and the decision-maker are not the same people. If their CIO chooses the software for business users, they are not necessarily going to be the most happy and productive with the defect or the most marketed choice, or the most feature-heavy choice, or the most complex choice. So that’s an interesting metaphor because they are not those football players oftentimes; they just want to get the work done. So applying your ideas about plugged-in managers, I know you already gave a lot of good advice. Before the closing, what would be the final advice that you’d give to project managers and business managers for getting their work done more efficiently. Terri: It’s all going to come back to the “Stop, Look, Listen” idea, but once you’ve done that “Stop, Look, Listen,” and you’ve moved into mixing together what your choices are, the simplest way I have of describing that is you don’t have to be an expert, you don’t have to be a technology expert, you don’t have to be a management expert, you don’t have to be a people expert, but what you have to do is have an appreciation for all three of those being important, and then to be able to put yourself in the shoes or in the minds of the other stakeholders and really think about the work design as a negotiation. We all negotiate. We either negotiate well or we don’t, but we all at least know how to do that. And think about the organizational change. The thing that you’re looking at, as you’re trying to be a plugged-in manager, think of it as a negotiation and have the different issues of the negotiation that you have on the table be all those different options. So is it going to be a big team or a small team? Is it going to be a team that has core members, or is everyone going to be equal? Are we going to use this kind of collaboration tool or that kind of collaboration tool? Are we’re going to have experts on the team, or is everybody coming from the lower levels of the organization, and they’re going to have to learn on the job? And what’s the negotiation that I might go through that’s going to come up with the solution, that’s going to be best for us? I like to take a practice that we already understand at least a little bit, and so if everybody’s done a negotiation, then everybody has done a little bit of this mixing that I’m talking about. Andrew: I think that’s great advice to wrap up, and I welcome all listeners of the podcast and readers of the blog to go to amazon.com and check out Terri’s new book “The Plugged-in Manager.” There are both hard cover and Kindle versions available, and if you like the book, feel free to leave a great review on Terri’s work. Terri, thanks a lot for your time today. I hope the readers will enjoy it, and I hope the rest of you day will be great! Terri: Thank you so much. I’m going to go tweet about the conversation because you made me think about some new ideas!

Turning Employees Into Entrepreneurs: Interview with Adeo Ressi
Leadership 3 min read

Turning Employees Into Entrepreneurs: Interview with Adeo Ressi

You're a hard-working individual. You work long hours everyday, so you can breathe easy on the weekends. You also have a passion to start your own company, but you don't have the time or tools to do it. How do you fulfill your passion and find enough time to start a company without quitting your full-time job? We're excited to release our video interview with Adeo Ressi, CEO & Founder of The Founder Institute, who helps passionate individuals start their own companies. After founding nine companies himself, Ressi built The Founder Institute as a way to help people achieve their dreams while balancing their day jobs. During the interview, he shares tips on entrepreneurial best practices, how to deal with investors, and what qualities make a good founder. Check out the full video interview with Ressi: [inlinetweet prefix="" tweeter="" suffix="via @Wrike"]"A company dies when a founder gives up." —Adeo Ressi @adeoressi[/inlinetweet] Some key takeaways from the interview: Lessons learned from being an entrepreneur Differences between good and bad investors Qualities of successful founders Deadliest mistakes commonly made by founders The current state of the startup industry Why there are so many "Unicorns" (and if that's good or bad news) Are you an thriving entrepreneur? Share some of your founder tips and advice in the comments.

Talking to Project Shrink about Project Management 2.0
News 3 min read

Talking to Project Shrink about Project Management 2.0

, Wrike. I tried to briefly explain my view on what the new trend in project management is about. My opinion may seem controversial to some of you, but I think it’s only natural. Project Management 2.0 is an emerging trend, and it constantly evolves. As always, I’d like to say that I do appreciate you and your participation in the ongoing Project Management 2.0 discussion. Your comments are welcome.

Interview with Nir Eyal: How to Get Your Customers Hooked
Leadership 3 min read

Interview with Nir Eyal: How to Get Your Customers "Hooked"

Facebook, Amazon, Gmail, Spotify, Netflix... what do they all have in common? They all have us hooked on their products. They found a way to wiggle their product into our routines, and as a result, we've formed a habit dependent on their product that we simply can't break. What is so gut-wrenchingly addictive about these products and why can't we seem to shake the obsession? We were able to speak with entrepreneur and investor, Nir Eyal, about his recent book Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products, focusing on his acclaimed "Hook Model," and the secret to obtaining loyal customers. According to Nir, building a "hook" or a habit has nothing to do with being the best product out there. [inlinetweet prefix=" " tweeter="" suffix=""]"Engaging products don’t happen by mistake. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat know this." —@NirEyal [/inlinetweet] A few things you'll learn as you watch the video: Why he wrote Hooked What the Hook Model entails, and how it will help you understand your customers better Why going "viral" isn't always the goal How to create a habit out of a non-habit forming product What trends are up-and-coming that people aren't paying enough attention to Watch the full interview below! Tweet this! [inlinetweet prefix=" " tweeter="" suffix=""]"It's the product that has the "mind monopoly" that succeeds." —@NirEyal [/inlinetweet] Nir defines the "Hook Model" as consisting of these four steps: Trigger Action Reward Investment These steps define the various ways we engage with a product; whether it be reading their content and perceiving them as subject experts, or just feeling so comfortable using the product that you don't want to bother learning how to use a new one. Are you hooked on a product or service? Let us know in the comments what products have managed to hook you!

Bootstrapping: Definition, Benefits, and Tools
Leadership 10 min read

Bootstrapping: Definition, Benefits, and Tools

For some companies, bootstrapping is the first choice when it comes to expanding or innovating. Using funds from the firm's internal operations allows owners to retain their firm's equity while reinvesting profits into more profitable ventures. But you may be wondering, what is bootstrapping?  In this article, we’ll help you better understand what the term bootstrapping means, as well as its benefits and challenges. Keep reading to discover tips and must-take steps that will lead your business to bootstrap success at any stage. What is bootstrapping? Bootstrapping is a word that originated in the early 19th century. It became a lasting symbol of success. The concept of being able to pick yourself up by your bootstraps is a metaphor for overcoming the limitations of life. In business, it means overcoming the limitations of traditional financing.  Bootstrapped companies are traditionally defined as those that get off the ground without external funding. Google and Facebook are two of the biggest examples of this.  The word bootstrapping in business also refers to the process of developing complex software programs in various stages. But for this article, we define bootstrapping as building a startup company with little or no outside support. Instead of starting with a blank check, a bootstrapper uses their own personal savings or loans for initial funding. Bootstrapping is a strategy that involves taking on significant financial risk, which is one of the many threats to startup success. It can be very challenging to get started. The entrepreneur is more likely to have total control over all aspects of the business, which includes but is not limited to sales, marketing, and operations. The biggest appeal to bootstrapping is its ability to establish a safety net for future investments. Entrepreneurs can experiment with their brands and products without the pressure of investors or venture capital. On the other hand, there is a lack of credibility to bootstrapping despite its known success stories. This can prevent a business from obtaining the support of respected investors later on.  When it comes to funding a startup, the entrepreneur’s mindset must be different than that of a venture-funded company. For instance, while the former expect to be around for a while, the latter believe they will have high business growth and therefore need outside funding to fund their exit strategy. Entrepreneurs who choose to bootstrap must have a wide variety of skills and experience to succeed. Creating and maintaining a culture of excellence should also be part of their core values. What are the benefits of bootstrapping? For some people, it's a decision about how much they should retain to maximize their gains. Others believe that they should keep all of their capital to maximize their returns. And, there are also some other people who are simply looking for a way to get started without taking on external financing.  By paying back these debts, you can start to grow your business and avoid incurring any costly late fees or interest. And after you reach this stage, you can start looking towards future expansion (theoretically) sooner than if you had gone with a bank loan.  There’s also the ownership aspect. Some bootstrappers have a desire to retain all of the company's equity and receive all of its profits.  Plus, bootstrapping has a much lower barrier to entry compared to the alternative. So it’s an attractive option for new entrepreneurs or people who want to get their idea off the ground as soon as possible.  Another advantage is that bootstrapping is not just for startups. It’s a strategy that can be executed later on in the life of your business too. This is true even if you've already held an equity financing round. While some major shareholders might object to the use of company profits for new ventures (unless they receive a dividend payout), bootstrapping can still provide the same benefits as long as everyone is on board.  Companies that benefit the most from bootstrapping include:  Early-stage companies that do not require large amounts of capital Serial entrepreneur companies, which are typically started by former employees turned entrepreneurs What are the challenges of bootstrapping? Bootstrapping your company requires that you have a strong belief that your business can gain significant value quickly. It also means having an unwillingness as a business owner to give up decision-making powers to outside investors, no matter how tempting it may be down the road. For these reasons, having the right mentality is one of the biggest challenges of bootstrapping.  In fact, being a bootstrapper puts you at greater risk than you might think. If your venture doesn't go well, potentially losing the friends and family members who invested can be devastating. When your company needs an extra boost to expand or meet a one-off cost, it might be time to consider alternatives to bootstrapping. There are many types of finance available for businesses, and it's not just one type of loan. Knowing all of this might make keeping your nerve even more challenging, but it’s important to fully understand what you’re getting into before moving forward.  How to bootstrap your startup There are quite a few bootstrapping methods to come up with your own business funding. However, here are some foundational steps every business should take.  Step 1: Know what stage you’re in  You're either a beginner who is doing it on your own while also working another job, or you’re at the stage where crowdfunding and a personal connection with your audience provide most of your financial backing. If you're neither of those, then you're likely at the growth stage, and you can focus on credit or expanding your offerings.  Step 2: Create a roadmap  It is best to break a big idea into several parts and then execute it piece by piece. Doing this will allow the startup to execute smoothly. This should include gathering your essential tools, your investor pitch deck, and your team if you're choosing not to go it alone.  You then need to outline both the practical steps that will get you from point A to point B and your philosophies or mindset behind your approach. The latter will help differentiate you from the dozens of other pitches your potential investors are considering. Establishing a successful long-term strategy is a key element to building a successful startup. Step 3: Consider proactive solutions Bootstrapping assumes a high level of risk, which is why you need to plan ahead and create contingency plans now before something goes wrong. Ask yourselves what problems do you know of that other bootstrap companies have experienced? What about other bootstrap companies in your industry? What will your team do if these come up at any point during your own bootstrap phase? Step 4: Consider building a team  Even adding one member can help your bootstrapped business grow faster and more efficiently. For example, having a great co-founder can help you get more funding, spread the work out, and avoid tunnel vision. If you don’t have anyone in mind, try using a startup networking site to meet new people.  Remember that our first employees are the ones who will help make your business successful. Make sure that your team is motivated and committed to your goals so you can maintain a high level of standards and business continuity.  Step 5: Use a lean model  Before you start working on a product, you need to make sure that it is a viable product that can be used by early customers. This is also the time to learn about your product and its customers. This model works seamlessly with the nature of a bootstrapped startup because it requires minimal financing and is typically faster than a traditional startup approach.  Step 6: Get real about finances If you're bootstrapping a startup especially, then you’ll need to discuss your financial situation with your co-founders. Don't go overboard with expenses—there are plenty of ways to cut costs that startups have done successfully.  For example, if you're not afraid to try new things, then you might want to consider taking on a side job or even buying used office equipment instead of brand new gear. You could also start a home-based business by avoiding renting an office. This is also easier today due to the rise of online communication. Consider applying for grants sooner than later. And keep up the practice before, during, and after launch.  Tips for getting bootstrap funding Work with an angel investor. Angel investors are individuals who are able to provide advice on how to start a business or get your products on the market. If you're a new startup entrepreneur, having the expertise and experience of other startup professionals could be very beneficial. Remember, it’s not about you. It's about doing the right thing for your business and your shareholders. That should be the number one motivator you share with partners.  Always think big picture. If you can keep up with your cash flow and clear any debts that you owe, you will be able to keep your company running smoothly for the long term. Getting this vision in writing will go a long way towards impressing potential investors.  Start small. Even if your business requires a lot of capital, even some small form of investment can help you get started. Follow your expertise. Getting started with a new venture can be challenging if you have little or no experience in the industry or have no idea how to market it effectively. This is why it is important to create a company that’s already established in a certain industry or a specific area. Prioritize creativity. If your product or service is easy to replicate, a larger company with more resources can steal it and scale it much faster. Potential investors will be able to see that from miles away.  Do market research. Before you start investing in your small business idea, it is important to validate that your target market will pay for it. Bootstrap and startup tools you can't go without The top must-have tools for bootstrap and startup companies are project management software, website creation platforms, and SEO tools.  Project management software Project management software like Wrike is essential for showing potential investors an actionable roadmap they can feel confident about.  Wrike is a collaboration tool that works seamlessly across all types of businesses. It has bootstrap-friendly features such as visual project map tools that make it easy for collaborators to see exactly what you have planned and how you intend to execute on it.  This allows you to manage the wide variety of bootstrap-related projects you’ll have going on all at the same time. As an added bonus, your team can easily sync and collaborate across all your devices in real-time, so everyone stays on the same page even when working with third parties such as freelancers. Plus, it’s secure and will keep your data safe.  Website creation platforms Even running an offline, local business can be challenging without a strong web presence. However, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on an expensive web design agency. It’s possible to build a website from scratch using an intuitive website builder such as WordPress or Wix. But either way, having your own domain and website is a must for proving the legitimacy of your business.  SEO tools  When you can’t afford paid search ads and collaborations, you have to rely on organic efforts to reach the right audience. That’s where SEO comes in. Although it takes an investment of time, a solid SEO strategy and the right combination of tools can land you above your competitors for high-earning search terms on Google. Every bootstrapped entrepreneur should use:  A keyword suggestions tool for finding competitive targets A domain analysis tool to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie A website crawler for uncovering technical SEO ideas Getting started with cash flow is an important step in any business. Bootstrapping can help you avoid running out of money and control your debts at any point during your company’s lifetime. Use the right tips and tools like Wrike to get your bootstrap strategy started today. Begin your free trial. 

Interview with Lazy Project Manager
Project Management 10 min read

Interview with Lazy Project Manager

Working on this collaborative project was a very valuable experience for me, as I met lots of interesting people, who have profound expertise in project management. Today I want to introduce you to one of them, Peter Taylor, also known as "the Lazy Project Manager". Peter is a dynamic and commercially astute professional who has achieved notable success in Project Management; currently as head of a PMO at Siemens Industry Software Limited, a supplier of global product lifecycle management solutions. He is also very interested in maintaining a good work/life balance. Peter has very impressive project management background, which also allowed him to come up with his own methodology that helps project managers become more productive. Read our conversation below and find out how lazy project managers can be efficient.Peter, could you please tell us a few words about your pm experience and background? My background is in project management across three major business areas over the last 25 years; MRP/ERP systems with various software houses and culminating in a role with KPMG, and then Business Intelligence with Cognos, and now as Head of a PMO within product lifecycle management (PLM) with Siemens Industry Software. I have spent the last 7 years leading PMOs and developing project managers. Why do you call yourself a lazy project manager? It all began with an insult from my manager. At the time I had been working on a training program for our project managers and one of the common questions people asked me was ‘how do you manage to seem so relaxed and yet run a large business operation with hundreds of projects? I was on my way back from Milan, Italy, and travelled with my manager. Now we have worked together for the last 15 years across three companies and he does know me very well. As we chatted about what would we like to do in life I mentioned that I enjoyed writing and speaking/presentations and that sort of thing could be fun to do. He agreed saying that I would probably be very good at this but that I was too ‘lazy’. And there you have it – an insult? Perhaps but more an insight really, he had identified the key to describing my approach to work and life. From this came ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ and the world of productive laziness. Now have I always been ‘lazy’ – no I don’t believe so. Certainly in my early days of project management I worked long and hard and definitely was a ‘busy, busy bee’ but after completing a major three year project I looked back and reflected on the effort I had put in to make the project successful. I realised that that much of what I had done was unnecessary and that I often created work for myself that was either not really essential or that others could have done (probably better that my efforts if truth be told). The Lazy Project Manager was first a website in November 2008 and then a book in September 2009. Now I would love to share the world of productive laziness with the world through speaking engagements. What is Productive Laziness? 'Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.' Robert Heinlein (1907 - 1988) By advocating being a 'lazy' project manager I do not intend that we should all do absolutely nothing. I am not saying we should all sit around drinking coffee, reading a good book and engaging in idle gossip whilst watching the project hours go by and the non-delivered project milestones disappear over the horizon.  That would obviously be plain stupid and would result in an extremely short career in project management, in fact probably a very short career full stop! Lazy does not mean Stupid. No I really mean that we should all adopt a more focused approach to project management and to exercise our efforts where it really matters, rather than rushing around like busy, busy bees involving ourselves in unimportant, non-critical activities that others can better address, or indeed that do not need addressing at all in some cases. The Lazy Project Manager explores the science behind ‘productive laziness’ (yes there is some) and the intelligence behind ‘productive laziness’ (and yes there is some of that as well). It attempts to share with the reader some of my own experiences that have led to my style of project management where, it is often observed, that I appear to be less stressed, less busy and yet more productive. ‘Productive Laziness’ is the term that I use to express this approach and it is a style of working that is beneficial to an individual, through a better work/life balance, and to the project(s) that they are leading. How did you arrive at these ideas and came up with a whole methodology? As I explained the origins of the term were as a result of an insult but having created the Lazy Project Manager title I just worked through the typical lifecycle of the project and considered Productive Laziness at each step. I am not sure that I would describe it as a methodology but more of a way for project managers to better manage themselves when they are managing projects. The book does describe The Lazy Project Manager's Theory of Projects, from a Productive Laziness aspect: 'All projects are thick at one end, much, much thinner in the middle and then thick again at the far end. ' The point here is that, working with the productive lazy rule, a smart project manager should apply time and effort at the critical stages of a project, i.e. the start and the finish, and less time in the middle or the less critical stage. At this point it should be the project team that are productive and mostly self-sufficient. Does a project manager’s productivity depend on a project size? The size of his team? On the fact that the team is distributed across several locations? I don’t believe that it does. All of these factors complicate the process of project delivery but the principals of Productive Laziness remain the same. One of the biggest challenges to projects these days is the virtual project team. We all know about the Tuckman defined team phases, ‘forming - storming - norming - performing – (and these days mourning; the experience of leaving a good team at the close)’ – if you don’t there is plenty of information on the topic out there in ‘Google-land’. For virtual teams the forming part works pretty much as any team. Resources are identified and there you have a team. Some members will be happy and others less so. It starts getting tricky just after that. The ‘storming’ phase is important in preparing the team for working together, resolving character imbalances, sorting out territorial issues and generally getting everyone to know everyone else. Now without a face to face session (or two... or three) this will be very challenging and so you have to compensate somehow. At this time decisions don't come easily within the group and team members will no doubt vie for position as they attempt to establish themselves in relation to other team members. Clarity of purpose increases but plenty of uncertainties will persist. Typically cliques and factions form and there may be power struggles. The team needs to be focused on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationships and emotional issues. Compromises may well be required to enable real progress. Now in a virtual situation a lot of these issues can be hidden so, as the leader, you almost have to force the matter. It is also very easy to jump to a wrong conclusion about a fellow team member, apply stereotypical attributes and miss tensions hidden by a reduced communication process and lack of physical visibility at how people are behaving. If at all possible make the investment in a ‘hothouse’ face to face. By this I mean an intensive, almost 24/7 5 day team experience. Use an external facilitator to drive the storming process harder and faster to a conclusion. Make the business case that this is an investment, no matter how significant, that will pay off. If this is financially impossible then you may just have to accept that the ‘storming’ phase will be longer than usual. Can a team (not only the project manager) also be made more productive in a lazy way? Absolutely! In fact being a lazy project manager demands that you share the knowledge with your project team and teach them how to work in this way. For example in communications I talk about the importance of allowing yourself time to focus and concentrate at times. That the ‘open door’ policy is good but that there are times you, as the project manager, and your team should feel it acceptable to take time out and not get distracted by other matters. What would be the first 3 steps to becoming more productive, according to your methodology? Well where better to start than to focus the art of ‘productive laziness’ in the area of communication within the project. The would be ‘lazy’ project manager will think very, very carefully about what they need to communicate and how they need to communicate it and why they are communicating what they are communicating. The general guidance is that some 70-80% of a project manager’s time will be spent in communicating. That is 70-80% of your time! So, if you play the productive lazy game at all, and you only apply it in one area of project management it makes blinding sense to do it here, in communication. This is by far the biggest activity and offers the greatest opportunity of time in the comfy chair. Imagine if you would able to save some of that 70-80% of your time, how much more relaxed would you be? Beyond this then consider how you are using your project team. Are they being truly utilised in the sense of applying their combined knowledge and skills? Could you use them more, delegate more, trust them more, and benefit from their experience more? I bet you could. Try it. Finally, something I have always advocated if having fun.  Whilst this does not necessarily allow you to be more ’productively lazy’ it does bring a very positive feeling to any project and thus should encourage the wider team to more ‘lazy’ (in a good way of course). ‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by’ Douglas Adams (Author of ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’) You have to laugh; well I think you have to laugh. Without a little bit of fun in every project then the project world can be a dark and depressing place. Setting a professional but fun structure for your project can really be beneficial for when the problems start to rise up to challenge your plan of perfectness. And problems will inevitably arise. I'd love to finish my statement with a funny story: A man in a hot air balloon was lost.  He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below.  He descended a little bit more and shouted: 'Excuse me madam, can you help?  I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am.' The woman replied: ‘You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above alkali desert scrub habitat, 2.7 miles west of the Colorado River near one of the remnant populations and spawning grounds of the razorback sucker’. ‘You must be a biologist’ said the balloonist. ‘I am’ replied the woman. ‘How did you know?’ ‘Well’ answered the balloonist ‘everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help so far’. The woman below responded ‘You must be a project manager’. ‘I am’ replied the balloonist ‘but how did you know?’ ‘Well, said the woman ‘you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air.  You made a promise to someone that you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem.  The fact is, you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow it's now my fault!’ Thank you, Peter! It was a pleasure. For our readers I’d like to note that, if you liked Peter’s ideas and want to find out more, you are welcome to visit his site at www.thelazyprojectmanager.net and hear his free podcasts on iTunes. Also make sure to check out his book: "The Lazy Project Manager: How to be twice as productive and still leave the office early".   

Q&A with Errette Dunn, Principal Consultant at Wrike
News 7 min read

Q&A with Errette Dunn, Principal Consultant at Wrike

A common question we hear from new Wrike users is: "How do I maximize my ROI when I implement Wrike?" The answer is Wrike's consultation services. With our own in-house specialists, we can help take you from problem to sustainable solution in less time than ever before. We spoke to Wrike's Principal Consultant, Errette Dunn to learn more about the challenges faced by digital teams, and how Wrike's Consultation Team can help. Why does Wrike have a Principal Consultant? The reason I’m here, and why my team of consultants is here, is that we want our mission of making teams insanely productive to extend beyond just building software. Teams who come to Wrike aren’t necessarily looking for project management software. They’re looking for a solution to a problem that they can’t quite pinpoint on their own. So our job is to help them visualize their workflow, identify the problems, coach them through implementing a better version of that workflow in Wrike, and — through adopting Wrike — to sustain the improvement. Why do you think there are so many challenges in the digital workplace? Online tools allow us to do something that was never possible before, which is visualize our flow of knowledge. Since the traditional tools used by teams are fragmented within companies, we see that the flow is broken for a lot of workers. The reason is that internet-based knowledge work is very new. To put it in context of the industrial revolution, we’d still be in the Cotton Gin age. Manufacturing has had over a century to focus on process and efficiency. For digital workers, we’re still in the early stages. Wrike is part of a movement to fix digital work. What are some of the problems? Put simply, I think it boils down to keeping track of our commitments to others. That includes colleagues, customers, and managers. A significant amount of day-to-day work is about providing visibility into our commitments, which a lot of organizations do very inefficiently. Ever prepared a report for management? A report is a way to give higher-ups visibility. Ever attended a status meeting? That’s just a way to give a team visibility. Ever sent someone an email to ask for an update on a task? That’s you trying to gain visibility. So, by improving visibility into work, we can reduce the need for all of those time-consuming activities dramatically. So, how do you solve those problems? Like everything, we first have to admit that we have a problem. If you’re here with Wrike, you might be at that stage. A tool like Wrike, one that gives you status visibility and a searchable database of your company’s knowledge, is a huge step forward. But software isn’t a silver bullet. Anyone who has bought Rosetta Stone and never gotten around to opening it (guilty) knows what I mean. We need to implement software in a sustainable way that makes sure users are active and enthusiastic, and simultaneously make sure we’re not just using the software to replicate our existing problems. Workers need to ask themselves: Where does my work originate and where does it end? By mapping that process (even in simple pen and paper) we start to understand how others play into our work, where waste enters the process, and where we can make improvements. That’s the part I specialize in from my time at Toyota and Airbus — and that’s what our consultants do here at Wrike. If a customer uses Consulting Services at Wrike, what should they expect? In the spirit of what I’ve said so far, they should expect some introspection. We want to know what you do, why you do it, how you do it, and who you do it for. If you can’t answer those questions, don’t worry, you’re in good hands. This is especially valuable for anyone who has never worked with any sort of outside process consultants. Once we learn that about your work, it's time for goal setting. We’ll hone in on exactly what improvements you want to make, and work with you to decide how you’re going to quantify your success with Wrike. This helps you determine if the deployment was successful, and it also helps us measure if we’ve done a good job for you. Once goals are set, we help you configure Wrike in a way that will make sure you meet those goals. This may mean building project structures, designing templates, getting integrations in place, and making sure that what we set up together is scalable over hundreds of projects. Finally, we spend some time training your teams on the new procedures, because the human element is the most important in making sure you meet those goals. "Teams who come to Wrike aren’t necessarily looking for project management software. They’re looking for a solution to a problem that they can’t quite pinpoint on their own." What’s your favorite part about the consulting process? My favorite part, and the most rewarding part for all our team members, is when you see in a client’s eyes that they are having an “A-ha!" moment about a better way to work, and when they become confident that they can sustain the improvement in the long term. Imagine someone who has worked in a job for years, and has experienced the same challenge for years. They may have felt a little defeated, and had the mentality, “That’s just the way we do things here.” When you leave their office and know that you haven’t just changed their one work day, but you've really changed their attitude about work and reduced their stress - that’s rewarding. If people would like more information about Consulting Services, where can they go? Your Account Manager or Account Executive on our sales team will be the best place to turn. They’ll be happy to give you information and help connect you with a consultant. Interviewee Bio: Errette Dunn is Principal Consultant at Wrike. Prior to joining our team, he worked in process improvement for companies including Toyota and Airbus. He holds an MBA from the IESE Business School, and has studied Management at Stanford and MIT, as well as Engineering at Universidad Panamerica at his home town of Guadalajara, Mexico. He currently lives in Silicon Valley with his wife and 4 kids. If you're interested in using Wrike for your team, start a free Wrike trial today and contact us at https://www.wrike.com/contact-sales/.

Optimized Collaboration in a Fast-Paced World (Podcast Interview)
Leadership 3 min read

Optimized Collaboration in a Fast-Paced World (Podcast Interview)

CloudScoops podcast interviewed our CEO Andrew Filev to discusschanges in the way business works, and share what he thinks is most important for today's companies to be successful.