Digital Publishing Company Aligns Multiple Teams with Wrike to Improve On-Time Delivery of Projects by 50% 

Court­nie McK­one

Project Man­ag­er

Brief Media — pub­lish­es the Clinician’s Brief: the #1 most reg­u­lar­ly read pub­li­ca­tion among Amer­i­can Vet­eri­nar­i­an Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion (AVMA) mem­bers. Oth­er pub­li­ca­tions and prod­ucts include Vet­eri­nary Team Brief, Plumb’s Ther­a­peu­tic Brief, and Plumb’s Vet­eri­nary Drugs.

Their story

Due to sig­nif­i­cant growth in read­er­ship and strate­gic part­ner­ships, projects at Brief Media increased in vol­ume and com­plex­i­ty, and a new sys­tem was need­ed to coor­di­nate efforts across teams, part­ners, and clients

The com­pa­ny reor­ga­nized, adding a Cre­ative depart­ment and shift­ing Court­nie McK­one into a ded­i­cat­ed Project Man­ag­er role to man­age projects across Cre­ative, Tech­nol­o­gy, Sales, Mar­ket­ing, Audi­ence Devel­op­ment, and Con­tent teams. 

Pri­or to imple­ment­ing Wrike, Brief Media uti­lized Base­camp to man­age projects, Piv­otal Track­er to man­age Devel­op­ment and QA tasks, WuFoo forms to man­age inbound requests from Sales and clients, and Google Sheets to track time. They used instant mes­sen­gers and email to col­lab­o­rate and man­age work­flow. One of their key chal­lenges was dif­fi­cul­ty orga­niz­ing and search­ing for project mate­ri­als. There was lit­tle hier­ar­chi­cal struc­ture for orga­niz­ing con­tent which meant peo­ple spent a lot of time man­u­al­ly search­ing for items. “With Base­camp it’s hard­er to find files,” says McK­one. “You have to cre­ate so many projects, and it’s only a list view.” There was also no auto­mat­ic way to mon­i­tor time spent per project in Google Docs, and no way to proac­tive­ly iden­ti­fy issues. 

McK­one real­ized they need­ed a more robust project man­age­ment sys­tem to track and coor­di­nate efforts across teams, part­ners, and clients. She eval­u­at­ed over 20 sys­tems includ­ing Work­front, 10,000 Feet, and Resource Guru. She select­ed Wrike because its com­pre­hen­sive, time-sav­ing fea­tures: a faster, more user-friend­ly inter­face, pow­er­ful Dash­boards, com­pre­hen­sive task man­age­ment, and time-track­ing capa­bil­i­ties.

Company story photo/image
The biggest ben­e­fit from Wrike was that my team is able to focus on their work more dur­ing the day vs. being in my office, ask­ing ques­tions.

Court­nie McK­one

Project Man­ag­er

* Pho­to pro­vid­ed cour­tesy of Brief Media.

Every­body was real­ly pos­i­tive about Wrike because almost every­body was using 2 or 3 sys­tems each, and it gets exhaust­ing for peo­ple. So telling them you can do all the same stuff in rel­a­tive­ly the same way, in one place — they were pret­ty excit­ed about that.

Court­nie McK­one

Project Man­ag­er

Their victory

McK­one and team saw key improve­ments after imple­ment­ing Wrike, such as an increase in on-time project deliv­ery by 50%, and a reduc­tion in email vol­ume by 15–20%

It cut down on late projects because requesters were able to set due dates ahead of time, so you knew what the expec­ta­tions were imme­di­ate­ly,” says McK­one.

Pri­or to Wrike, the team was using 4 dif­fer­ent sys­tems, where­as now, they’re only work­ing with 2, which has reduced admin­is­tra­tive costs by 30%. “It’s nice to be able to say, ‘Pret­ty much every­one works in Wrike. This is the process no mat­ter what depart­ment you’re sub­mit­ting a request to,” says McK­one.

The ease of train­ing on Wrike was huge in scal­ing the tool across dif­fer­ent teams. McK­one says: “I start­ed train­ing with the sales team. First with their man­ag­er, who liked it, then we went ahead and brought on the oth­er sales man­agers for a month or two. Then, we pulled in the Mar­ket­ing Man­ag­er, and we test­ed Wrike with her team for a cou­ple of weeks, and then pulled in the rest of the mar­ket­ing team. So, it was a smooth, easy tran­si­tion.”

Their superpowers

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Dash­boards

McKone’s depart­men­tal dash­boards enable each team mem­ber to get to all of their tasks on a sin­gle Wrike page. “I make sure they know how to access their dash­board so that they know where all the projects are. I have a sales dash­board, a mar­ket­ing dash­board, and a cre­ative dash­board,” says McK­one. “The Dash­board has been key to our suc­cess. The cus­tom work­flow tags and the Dash­boards — I think that’s what helped us with our process­es the most. Instead of them hav­ing to find things in dif­fer­ent fold­ers, when you onboard peo­ple, being able to tell them, you just have to look on one page, and you find every project you need to find. It’s less over­whelm­ing for them.”

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Cus­tom Work­flow Sta­tus­es

The cus­tom work­flow sta­tus­es align all teams, and replace the bulk of sta­tus-ori­ent­ed phone, email, and IM com­mu­ni­ca­tions, max­i­miz­ing effi­cien­cy. “That’s real­ly helped us com­mu­ni­cate where some­thing is, with­out hav­ing to actu­al­ly com­mu­ni­cate. I used to have to IM or ver­bal­ly go tell our Cre­ative Direc­tor, ‘These 4 projects need your review.’ Now, I have the dash­boards set up so that any­thing I have marked for ‘Ready for Review’ fil­ters through there, so he auto­mat­i­cal­ly knows he needs to review these tasks. And then, when he approves some­thing, he doesn’t have to tell me, ‘I’ve reviewed all this’, I can just look and if it has the tag approved, I know I’m good to send it to the stake­hold­er to review. It’s cut back on a lot of com­mu­ni­ca­tion that isn’t need­ed,” says McK­one.

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Cus­tom Fields

McK­one sets up cus­tom fields for all ana­lyt­i­cal report­ing of tasks, while her team focus­es on the task descrip­tions and details. “Cus­tom fields are vital to my tables when I export reports,” says McK­one. “We use cus­tom fields a lot to track time esti­mates, and if the project was marked as planned or a rush job, and things of that nature. So, it helps me keep tabs on the tasks.”

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Request Forms

Brief Media reduced their use of WuFoo forms and increased use of Request Forms to man­age inbound projects for Audi­ence Devel­op­ment, Design, and Devel­op­ment. WuFoo form requests are inte­grat­ed into Wrike via the Zapi­er inte­gra­tion, and dis­played on an inter­nal cal­en­dar. Oth­er requests are made via tasks to McK­one, who final­izes projects and assigns them to Design and Devel­op­ment teams, requir­ing lit­tle to no back and forth with the requester. “Being able to task it out, putting all of the descrip­tions in, adding the files for them, and just hav­ing every­thing com­plete­ly set up for them to just jump in there and start on a project has real­ly cut down on our plan­ning time, and cut down on ques­tions from design­ers,” says McK­one.

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Reports

McK­one cre­ates reports for each team on a reg­u­lar basis, using dash­boards and the Table view, then export­ing the details to Excel. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she would have to gen­er­ate reports out of WuFoo, Base­camp, Piv­otal Track­er, and Google Docs. Now, she can gen­er­ate her reports sim­ply in Wrike. “For the Cre­ative team, I cre­ate quar­ter­ly reports and have a bunch of cus­tom fields that I fill out for every task. At the end of the quar­ter, I just turn on the Table view and export that as an Excel file,” says McK­one.

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