how WorkflowMax proved to be vital for success
The philosophy that architecture and design is simple, elegant and timeless is at the heart of everything dwp Architects does. Proud of its entrepreneurial spirit, dwp isn’t afraid to push boundaries and face new challenges using cutting edge collaborative, sustainable and creative design technology. The team has a huge skill set in hospitality, workplace and educational design, and thinks about all their projects through a hospitality and lifestyle lens.
Over the last two years, dwp put in the time, effort, and planning to become a 100% cloud business, which was instrumental in the smooth transition to working remotely during COVID-19 lockdown. “We’d already digitised all our systems and processes,” says Scott Whittaker, Creative Director.
“It certainly meant that we could shut down 12 offices at the speed of light on a Friday afternoon, send everyone home and be completely back up and running, business as usual, the following Monday. I just don’t think that speed and agility would have been possible without having such a solid tech solution and all the virtual communication tools already in place,” Scott adds.
To access productivity, performance and project data in real-time, from anywhere is key to our survival and business continuity."- Scott Whittaker, Creative Director
As the team transitioned to working remotely, dwp made it a priority to create new ways to stay connected. “In the early days of the pandemic we made a point of over-communicating. We created an online structure for each office to check in with senior management each morning, plus the project teams would check in at lunchtime and at the end of the day. We lived by this structure religiously and created a ritual of ‘meeting and greeting’ which fostered a real sense of community between our people and all our offices. Plus, we included fun elements and social catch ups to build a strong sense of belonging. In fact, I think I know more about our people now and how the business is performing than ever before and we all feel more connected,” says Scott.
Scott led the charge for change and the change management process within the organisation and says that Xero and WorkflowMax have revolutionised how they work and interpret their project data.
In the past year, dwp consulted with a WorkflowMax developer who built a set of robust dashboards that show all team members an up-to-date picture of how their projects are progressing, the financial performance of the project, the team on the job and how they are tracking against project deadlines. Being able to access this kind of data from anywhere has been invaluable for their clients, job performance and teams. In fact, dwp Chairman, David Rose, wrote a letter to everyone in the organisation to say how grateful he was that they had made the decision to move to cloud technology as it’s held dwp in good stead to not only survive, but to thrive during this time.
Fresh Accounting - our implementation partner - had a positive way of doing business, managed the change process for our team, and shared the vision with key stakeholders which meant we could keep iterating and refining our systems and use of the technology to make data-driven decisions."- Scott Whittaker, Creative Director
Cloud solutions like Xero and WorkflowMax provide greater transparency, accountability and insights into how our business is performing at a project level.
In a global business like dwp, with over 300 staff plus contractors distributed around the world, training and support are a huge part of transitioning and optimising new software. “If your staff don’t buy into the dream, the solution won’t get used, and all that time and money has gone to waste. Implementation is only one part of it – there is constant training and support afterwards to make sure everyone can use it, run it and be happy with it,” says Scott.
Scott reflects on the value of working with a group of experts from the start to make sure dwp could implement, refine and optimise the systems that support the growth of the business. “We worked with Paul Gardner and the team from Fresh Accounting to roll out Xero and WorkflowMax worldwide starting off by implementing Xero. We both learnt a lot during the process. Scott says, “Paul’s positive way of doing business, managing the change process for our team, and sharing the vision with key stakeholders has meant we can keep iterating and refining our systems and use of the technology to make data-driven decisions.”
It’s not often that as a business you get 8-10 weeks to reassess what’s important and what’s unnecessary in your operations. Early on in the pandemic, dwp created dwp Imagine, a platform for their teams to share and provide feedback about this experience to build their new normal post COVID-19.
Scott says, “As a result of the feedback, it’s highly likely we won’t go back to all our normal processes. There are a number of new initiatives we are validating right now. We’re looking to implement a two to three day work week with certain days in the office together to manage and avoid the creative blocks that can sometimes happen when working remotely. We want to include more job flexibility for our people, which will require a change in our management style too. We’ll be staggering the return to offices and in some locations we will not be renewing leases and looking to downsize office space. In our key Asian head offices of Bangkok and Vietnam, we plan to create colab environments where other suppliers and like-minded businesses in our industry can come and connect with our teams, and use our cloud infrastructure and office space as meeting and coworking hubs. We think this is a great way to foster more collaboration, build better relationships and grow our own ecosystem.”
Using the right technology, processes and communication strategies are essential to keeping things running as close to business-as-usual as possible. Here are some ideas to keep the momentum going:
As a starting point, your team should be able to easily access:
Here are some things you could put in place:
To help motivate everyone to do their part, make it as easy as possible for your team to track and submit job time and costs. Job management and time tracking software offer different ways to track employee time (including desktop and mobile apps, daily and weekly timesheets and built-in timers to record time as work is in progress) and then automatically allocate that time to the appropriate job.
Here’s what you can do to keep the balance:
Common examples of job milestones include:
Customising a set of reports can help you answer questions like:
Try some of these strategies:
Formally scheduling time to not talk about work may seem counterproductive to staying on top of jobs, but informal social time often forms the glue that keeps your team working together cohesively.
To keep your team feeling happy and healthy (and therefore empowered to stay on top of their work), consider the following tips:
This content is an excerpt from a recent blog post by Paige Sopik. Read the full version here.
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