Digital Creative Agency Discovered a Solution That Supports Their Agile Work Structure

Fergus Adam

Managing Partner

Dare is a digital creative agency located in Bristol, UK. They create platforms and products for some of the world's most ambitious brands, bringing together design, engineering, and behavioral science to help make brands more efficient, effective, and creative.

Their story

A combination of inefficiency and scattered information led Dare to seek a new solution

Dare is an agency that prides itself on its Agile approach to projects. Agile is a disciplined project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaptation. With tight deadlines and requests constantly coming in, it's important to stay on top of each and every project and Agile enables them to do so. Dare: the Bristol team is made up of 12 full-time team members and additional freelancers are brought in regularly.

Dare’s Bristol Hub uses the Scrum framework across all projects; so the team can work as efficiently as possible, but stay flexible for last minute changes. The team adopted Agile in 2015 and soon realized they needed a solution that could fully support it by enabling them to work in an Agile way, facilitate collaboration with clients, and ensure everything is transparent.

Dare used an alternative project management solution but it lacked the functionality to support their processes. Managing Partner, Fergus Adam recalls, “Because the conversation was all at a project level, rather than at task level, we just found it replaced the Inbox. But with an Inbox, it was really hard to search, so it was just a nightmare finding stuff.”

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Nobody here has written a status report for 18 months, because it’s all automated and that's a massive time saving and a huge increase in accuracy.

Fergus Adam

Managing Partner

Additionally, administrative processes used by the agency were tedious and time-consuming. For example, the invoice processing system wasted time the team could be spending on client projects.

The project management solution the team used meant that information around projects still wasn’t necessarily centralized and that particulars around specific elements were not clear. Adam recalls, “We were used to using stuff at a job level, but I think the move onto individual task level was a real benefit.”

The combination of a lack of transparency and manual processes hampering projects drove Adam to seek an alternative solution. After researching different options available, Dare chose Wrike because it offered a clear and user-friendly solution to provide an audit trail for clients as well as a single source of truth. The agency adopted Wrike and migrated all their information from the business over from their old platform over the course of a few days.

Just the volume of work we're able to get through, the speed of it, the reduction in email, the efficiency in not having to look stuff up with clients. All of that is a colossal saving.

Fergus Adam

Managing Partner

Their victory

Wrike helped cut down on costs and cement a single source of truth

The implementation of Wrike at Dare’s Bristol hub meant changes that they hadn’t even anticipated. “When we started using Wrike we really didn't know what it could do.”, recalls Adam, “It was only when we started delving deeper that some of the real benefits came to light, and those are the things that now really make a difference. It's things like workflows and dashboards and reports that we didn't discover until a bit later on, but are now really central to how we work.”

A Cost-Effective Solution

The implementation of Wrike served not only as a time-saver but also saved the company on expenditure. By managing all their projects in Wrike, the team was able have a central location for all their work and eliminate their use of several other tools where work was done across several platforms.. As well as being a better fix, the tool was also more cost-effective.

A Central Platform for All Stakeholders

Dare won a pitch on a large website development for a well-known renewable energy provider in the UK and the site was to be live in 8 or 9 weeks. It was an incredibly fast project and the team determined the only way to execute was to have everything be completely open and transparent. This was the moment where they decided to open Wrike up to clients and add them as collaborators. “It really started to gain traction at that moment because it became our main, our only, real form of communication with the client.”

Dare uses freelancers regularly for projects and at times these contributors can be located anywhere in the world. Wrike has facilitated collaboration and connectivity despite the distance that is sometimes involved. The team worked on an app recently for a client located in the US. “We brought in a freelancer and we ended up hiring someone in an extremely remote forest outside Seattle,” Adam explains, “We did it all through Wrike and all the development tasks were managed in there. It would have been impossible to do it, I think, without that central place for everything.”

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Integrations Facilitate Automation

The agency had built their own Slack integration through Zapier prior to the launch of Wrike’s Slack integration. “We use Slack as our internal comms tool as much as we can instead of email. So being able to flag things between the two is really helpful”. The integration means developers are updated automatically about changes in tasks or projects in Wrike. Additionally, an integration with OpsGenie, via Zapier, manages any issues in website monitoring. If a client's site goes down, OpsGenie will automatically be updated and will raise a ticket in Wrike. The team is made aware and can track its progress in Wrike.

A Flexible, Connected System With Clear Workflows

Wrike allowed Dare to develop their own custom workflows to manage and prioritize different projects. “The prioritization functionality is absolutely core to the way we work because everything is done in two-week sprints. The prioritization allows us to work very openly with a client about what they want to do first.”

The team has developed different workflows for different aspects of their projects. For client projects, they have a 13-stage workflow from identifying the problem to completion. Additionally, the team has separate workflows to determine costs for jobs. Items will go through being ball-parked to fully estimated to fully signed off. This work sits alongside the job process, meaning admin work at the end of a project isn’t overwhelming or time-consuming.

Less Painful Processes for Administrative Tasks

Tedious but necessary tasks were transformed after the implementation of Wrike. The billing process was simplified and condensed. Rather than the laborious system previously in place, the team now manages incoming invoices in Wrike; clients are directed to a request form that loads their invoice with the PO number, amounts, date, and who it’s going to, and it’s all processed in Wrike. As a result, it takes seconds for the team to manage invoices using that information. “Because it was so time consuming before, we’ve probably saved between 2 and 3 man-days a month.”

The agency uses a separate form for external suppliers to upload their invoices, and a workflow with the finance team was developed to facilitate processing and payment leaving the agency more time to do the work they love. Dare even uses Wrike to determine staff vacation time, with the system letting team members see when their colleagues are out and when it may be problematic to take time off.

Their superpowers

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Reports

Wrike reports allow users to view projects at a high level so they can manage expectations better. All information is in real time, ensuring accuracy and saving creative teams time to concentrate on what’s important.

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Custom Workflows

Wrike allows teams to create workflows to meet their needs. Dare uses 12 separate workflows to manage everything from backlogged items to the billing process to personal to-do lists.

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Focused Communication

Wrike enables teams to have targeted conversation around individual subjects. Dare is able to find work easily by tagging tasks across multiple folders while focusing on individual tasks at different levels.

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