Wrike Is a “Game-Changer” That Brings the Sonance Product Lifecycle Management Process to Life
Sonance is one of the most recognized and highly awarded architectural speaker and outdoor audio manufacturers in the world. Creator of the in-wall speaker, Sonance offers ceiling and outdoor speakers installed in residential and commercial spaces across the United States, as well as the TRUFIG product line, which allows any technology to be installed flush with the surface of a wall or ceiling. Sonance also offers the iPort brand, which transforms tablets into dedicated-use devices that can control automation systems in a home or act as a kiosk, mobile sign, or conference room controller for a business.
As Sonance and its product lines grew and expanded, the company struggled with its product lifecycle management process. The process had been developed and refined
over time but wasn’t producing the results it used to. The company still operated as a lean startup, but now that it had grown and had teams in both California and China,
it was difficult to keep work on track. Roadblocks popped up throughout the process, and as more people became involved, meeting deadlines became more challenging.
On average, Sonance product development projects consist of 400 tasks. Sonance used multiple methods and tools to manage the workflow, including Microsoft Excel, email, meetings, presentations, and project management solutions, but the team struggled to find the right solution. Communication and collaboration across time zones and continents was also difficult. “We needed to coordinate complex phasing of developments and launches, and it was critical to have a built-in system to manage approvals with multiple contributors — and we didn’t have those abilities,” said Derick Dahl, Director of Product Management. “Delays became the rule instead of the exception.”
Because Sonance was simultaneously juggling multiple projects and launches, errors occurred, launch elements were overlooked, and sequencing of approvals was unclear.
This led to engineering delays and last-minute firmware updates that threatened delivery, putting Sonance’s long-standing reputation at risk.
Perhaps the most critical issue Sonance needed to address was resource management. With 18 product categories and more being developed on a regular basis, employees
worked across business lines, products, and teams for engineering, development, and launch projects. Each employee could be assigned to up to 12 projects at a time. There wasn’t much visibility into individual workloads, which was leading to overcommitment and burnout. Management knew that constantly switching between multiple projects and teams was draining employee energy and morale, and grew concerned about an exodus of talent.
As Director of Product Management, Dahl is responsible for managing the product development process across Sonance’s business lines, from design to delivery, coordinating efforts across engineering, operations, product, and marketing. Dahl led the search for a solution that could improve the lifecycle management process and help Sonance:
- Manage resources effectively and efficiently
- Improve on-time delivery
- Reduce confusion and better facilitate collaboration
- Provide visibility into the entire lifecycle
- Monitor accountability
- Streamline the review and approval processes
Additionally, Sonance wanted a cloud-based solution that supported collaboration between offices in the U.S. and China, could handle complex interlinking between
dependencies and milestones, and offered the ability to view projects from a macro-level perspective and drill down into details.
Sonance tried multiple tools, including Microsoft Excel, Smartsheet, Teamwork, and Redbooth. While some handled a few requirements, only Wrike met all of their objectives.
“Just using Wrike right out of the box resolved a bunch of the problems we were having and helped avoid delays,” said Dahl.
Building a product management framework with Wrike as a single source of truth
Streamlining the review process and delivering powerful reporting
Wrike Resource helps marketing contribute more to the bottom line
“Around the office, we say Wrike is our friend. It’s something people rely on because they know how much it helps them, and that means a lot,” says Dahl. Wrike has become the backbone of the program management department, and implementing Wrike has greatly benefitted Sonance. The communication around product launches has been more timely and tied to engineering progress. And delays following product announcements have decreased by 80%. Wrike helps Sonance deliver what they say they will, when they say they will.
Additionally, Wrike Resource has alleviated project stackup in marketing and changed the atmosphere of that department. Employees are less stressed and more productive and now have the bandwidth to be creative.
“Wrike has been a game-changer for Sonance,” said Dahl. Wrike provides the collaboration, resource management, and reporting capabilities Sonance requires in one single source of truth. It’s the solution Sonance needs to elevate its product life cycle management process and improve the reputation the company has built over more than 35 years in business.