changing software doesn’t have to be...rocket science
The quick move to remote working wasn’t something any of us expected this year. Including Rocket Science, a policy, research and grant management consultancy with offices in Edinburgh, London and Newcastle.
Before COVID-19, Rocket Science’s project managers would meet clients face-to-face and consultants would conduct face-to-face interviews. Now they make use of Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
In regards to their project management system, they used a mixture of spreadsheets and a legacy system that was written for them 15 years ago. Irene Kinroy, Head of Finance and Operations at Rocket Science, says, “The data in the legacy system was great but we couldn’t easily extract it. It wasn’t flexible and we had to have reports written by the developer.”
Irene says she found WorkflowMax through a simple Google search. And since they had recently moved their accounting to Xero, using a project management system that fully integrated with Xero made sense.
We needed to replace our legacy system which wasn’t very good for a modern, agile business. And we wanted it to integrate with Xero."- Irene Kinroy, Head of Finance and Operations
After an extended trial with a small team, Irene was happy with what she saw and recommended WorkflowMax to Rocket Science’s management team. She enlisted the help of Liz Tobin at Gingersnap Consulting because, as she says, “You don’t know what you don’t know and during our trial we stumbled around a bit. Liz knows WorkflowMax and advised us on how to best adapt our business processes to use the system effectively. Out of the three consultants that the WorkflowMax team suggested to us, we went with Liz because she understood our business best and just seemed to ‘get us’.”
Liz Tobin is a small business systems expert and a certified WorkflowMax consultant. She helps business owners and their teams apply the right technology and get the best processes in place to save time and be more productive. She specialises in working with professional services companies and thinks WorkflowMax is the best match for these types of businesses. “Depending on how you work and how many projects you’ve got, you could set up WorkflowMax on your own. But when you work with an advisor like me, you’re making sure your needs are reflected in the product as much as possible. I helped mould WorkflowMax especially for Rocket Science,” says Liz.
A partner like Liz allows you to be focused and you can also bounce ideas off them."- Irene Kinroy, Head of Finance and Operations
“I think my clients get far more productive work out of me being remote. I have more time to spend with them because I’m not travelling, which is a plus for both of us."
Liz worked with Irene and the Rocket Science team completely over Zoom. Irene gave Liz a list of things they wanted from WorkflowMax so Liz could factor those into her business process analysis. Liz says, “Rocket Science needed to move from the legacy system at the same time lockdown was starting and they were working hard on lots of projects – now remotely – so they couldn’t have any business interruption. It was very important that the transition to WorkflowMax was timely and successful.”
Planning included four Zoom sessions together – looking at the teams and who Liz needed to train, what tasks needed to be included in each project, the types of custom data Rocket Science wanted to access, reporting requirements, and of course how everything tied in with Xero.
Then Liz configured WorkflowMax and migrated a few projects so the Rocket Science team could get a real picture of what they’d see on WorkflowMax before she did the full migration.
Next came the remote training sessions that included scheduling and quoting, timesheets, change control, purchase orders and month-end processes. Irene says, “Liz has a very flexible training approach and offered us one-to-one and task-specific training, including report writing for project managers.”
Liz thinks the remote way of working is easier than face-to-face in a number of ways that save time and money. “If someone needs help with raising an invoice, a 10-minute Zoom meeting and a screen share is all it takes,” she says. Neither the staff member nor Liz have to book out portions of their days so they’re more efficient.
She adds, The way we work is very agile. Now I can fit around their schedules.”
The Rocket Science team has been managing their projects with WorkflowMax since 1 September 2020 and they’re going to roll out lead management soon. Irene is looking forward to having end-to-end management of client relationships and projects all in one place.
Liz adds, “When you’ve got a less than optimal project management system but you’re all working together in an office, you can make do because it’s easy to catch up and discuss how jobs are going. But the moment you’re not in the same space, that system becomes a headache. Because it’s cloud-based, WorkflowMax gives everyone the same information wherever they are, which is so valuable.”
On a more detailed level, Liz says that you need your project and job management software to tell you which parts of a job are profitable and which aren’t. Where is the time going and how did actual time spent compare to the quote you sent out? You need that granular information that WorkflowMax gives you.
We asked Irene Kinroy of Rocket Science and Andrew Stroud of Design Activity – another company that implemented WorkflowMax during lockdown – for their advice to other businesses that are thinking about moving to a new project management system. Here’s what they said:
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