User Stories is a regular column on the WorkflowMax blog. Here, we get a company to walk us through their workflow process. Every company is different, and every firm has different methods and processes for managing their projects. Our hope is that by taking a look at what others do, you can gain an understanding of how WorkflowMax could work for your business.
Today we talk to Jon Jackson, technical director at BeSeen Marketing, a UK-based digital marketing agency.
Tell us about your creative agency, BeSeen Marketing
We’re a marketing agency, we work with small to medium sized businesses across complete marketing solutions, online marketing, and also technical solutions. So we build websites, Facebook applications, and do advanced system integrations between online shops and back-end systems.
What kind of clients do you work with?
We like partnering with businesses to help them get the right systems in place, and then help them grow effectively. Our client base varies, we work with some e-commerce businesses - we specialise in Magento to build large e-commerce platforms, as well as with larger companies on social media campaigns, for example Staples (a large office supplies company) and the National Health Service in the UK.
This last year has been particularly good for getting bigger clients, bigger projects, and WorkflowMax has been helping us organise it all.
What tools do you use to manage your agency?
We use Xero for our accounting. We’ve also synced Dropbox with our WorkflowMax account. We like Dropbox because it has lots of space, does unlimited versioning for files, and all our data is protected. All the files are organised by client and then job folders, so it keeps things organised without us even having to think about it. Files just drag and drop into WorkflowMax, so we don’t actually need to have Dropbox open at all.
I love the fact that Xero and WorkflowMax integrate with so many systems!
What challenges were you facing when it came to your workflow?
We formed BeSeen marketing four years ago, which was three separate businesses that came into one, and we were looking for the right systems to put in place at the start. We didn’t want to be brought down by desktop software and license fees, which we’d have to maintain and would become out-of-date. So at that time we decided we wanted a system where we could run all our projects in once place, that also tied in with our accounting software as our timesheeting was being done on spreadsheets without any way to connect the data.
All the partners in the business were quoting in different ways, so WorkflowMax has since allowed us to have a professional, consistent format. We’ve now also got a quote template that includes our terms and conditions, so that’s an easy way of ensuring that it always gets supplied.
Walk us through the life of a project:
We start by creating a quote in WorkflowMax - which is great because we can break it down into jobs and split-up different parts of a project.
Once we get a quote signed off, all we have to do is approve it in WorkflowMax and it creates the job with all the tasks - it’s brilliant. If we put notes on the quote they come across to the job as well, so there’s complete consistency.
Then, a project manager will double-check the time estimates are still correct and applicable. They’ll set four or five high-level milestones based on the project and what we’re expecting from the client and when, and what we need to deliver and when, or if there are any fixed deadlines such as a launch. We can also add more granular milestones to keep things on track.
As the project goes on, our staff record their time against the relevant task in WorkflowMax. We then run our invoicing through WorkflowMax, so our accountant will log in, create invoices from WorkflowMax and once they’re issued they sync with Xero. A brilliant feature is being able to set up fixed monthly recurring invoices that just fire off every month.
It’s a nice end-to-end process using one system, and it’s helping us stay organised.
What do you love most about WorkflowMax?
WorkflowMax has been important for business intelligence. I have in front of me the number of hours that have actually been spent on a project compared to what was estimated.
It’s also given us visibility in terms of what we need to be hitting to meet deadlines and keeps us on track. We can add more granular milestones, and if we miss a deadline then we’ve got to either move it or assess why we missed it. We’ve had to deliver on a couple of tight deadlines on some larger projects, and I know the WorkflowMax milestone system has helped us stay on track on those projects.
Thanks Jon! If you’re running a company using WorkflowMax and want to talk workflow with us, then drop usan email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can interview you for User Stories.