Communications is always one of the most important things in regards to working with any company for any type of web or development project and this is one system that we have been working on over the past year to help improve the internal workflow, communication and management of our web design and development projects here in the Sydney studio. The engagement between the web design studio and the Client is critical in all of our web projects.

Problem

Over the years I have found myself and the team swimming through the tide in an overwhelming sea of constant emails and phone calls coming from all of our clients, support requests and even new leads. Timely responses and contact are needed to keep anything going and any client dealing with a Sydney web design studio just wants to keep up with the communication so they know where their project is up to, delays or critical stoppers in their project at hand.

Some days I find myself with over 20 missed calls in one day and an email inbox flooded with over 200 emails that were requests from existing clients or new clients. That 200 didn't include emails from spam and email lists. That much communication becomes overwhelming and you just don't know where to start other than the top of the email pile with older emails disappearing or conversations threads getting crossed and lost.

Solution

JIRA by AtlassianJIRA by Atlassian

We now use JIRA, a lovely piece of software by the team at Atlassian that we subscribe to and run within the team.

This allows us to time track projects, allocate resources to tasks and report on projects at hand.

It also acts as a nice little portal for our clients to log issues and tasks for us as well.

From using it over the past few months, we've found where more issues lie within our own company and things that we need to fix in order to streamline the process even more. At a glance I can see where resources are lacking and where more resources are required to be pulled in on projects or to smooth out the workflows.

It has indeed changed the way we work. It has changed the way I engage with people and manage the web design and development team/agency here in the Sydney office and we're slowly rolling it out to all of our customer and clients as the projects need them.

How the Workflow Works

The workflow is quite simple and from the diagram you may be able to follow the process. This is a simple flow process that comes with JIRA when setting up a new project.

JIRA screenshotScreenshot of JIRA workflow for our clients

All issues or tasks are sent into the system and set as a status as “Waiting for Triage“. For us this means that the request has been entered into the system and it is time for us to investigate the issue and gather more information to be able to perform the tasks. This is usually my own role as project and client lead. Once all of the information has been gathered, I can pass the task on to one of the front end implementors or web developers to process the task and issues.

This is when it goes into the “Waiting for Support” stage.

At this stage time on the task is tracked. We use the addition of Tempo in our JIRA setup for time tracking and reporting of tasks and this is critical for us internally to be able to report accurately time spent on jobs. Especially for our clients that are on monthly retainers and want to know what has been worked on and the time spent on all of the tasks so they can manage their own internal budgets and plan for new upcoming work.

When a task is actioned we pass it back to the client and the status of the task/issue changes to “Waiting for customer“. Here we wait to see if the work done is complete or if there is still more to do and test. Depending on the clients feedback the task either goes back to “Waiting for support” or “Resolved“, hopefully the latter.

Once resolved we can close the task down and report on the time spent on the task accordingly.

It's as simple as that.

All emails that come in are converted into tasks and managed accordingly.

For monthly retainer clients we also add in monthly meetings, allocated work times and resources for the client to help ensure that the clients needs are met.

How is our little Sydney office now? It's a bustling hub of productivity and transparency in all of our projects.

Indeed it has been a good change and if you want to engage us, just contact us and you can see what it is like working with our little web design studio here in Sydney.