Case Study: Project Management Implementation

Our goal was to find a project management platform that would replace two separate existing platforms, one used for the corporate office and the other used for the retail stores. 

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The Problem

Pet Supplies Plus has rapidly grown over its short 30+ tenure in the pet specialty industry. As the number of retail stores have doubled over the last five years, process and procedures became more vital as time passed. The design and integrated marketing teams had two platforms to manage incoming requests – one PM program was for requests from the corporate office and the other program was for requests from the retail stores. This created the need for designers to manage two separate platforms concurrently and often created confusion and opportunities to mistakenly yet easily overlook projects.

Additionally, both platforms had limited capabilities for markups, workflows, team insights and completely lacked the ability for customizable request forms to help facilitate incoming projects.

Users & Audience

We had a few potential types of users to account for: the owners and store leaders from the corporate and franchise stores who would request projects, a variety of individuals in the corporate office who would also submit project requests, as well as the designers and integrated marketing team who would execute and oversee the projects through completion.

Team & Role

I have had the opportunity to play a vital role from the beginning and continue to pave the way as the company's "Wrike Guru," while we continue growing as a company.

As I took on the lead role for the development of the combined platform, myself and a member from the integrated marketing team closely worked together as we were tasked to research potential platforms that would meet all of our must-haves and as many of our like-to-haves as possible. 

Once we chose the application that was best suited for our needs – Wrike – I was spearhead for the implementation of the platform with the help of the art director, graphic designer and members of the integrated marketing team. Together we worked to analyze existing project workflows, discovered ways to improve efficiency, develop comprehensive request forms, train the company and mentor other department leads for their own team's separate needs.

Platform Research

Before my coworker and I began researching the vast platforms available, we sat down to determine what features were important for all parties involved. Some of the more vital problems to tackle were the need for comprehensive and dynamic proofing and markup capabilities, the ability to create project templates, customizable and dynamic request forms as well as the ability to account for the requests that would be coming in from 500+ stores and their employees as well as many people from the corporate offices.

We worked together to drill down the many, to six potential companies to further investigate –splitting them into two groups of three – to see if any were the right fit. I focused on diving deeper into Wrike, ProofHub and Admation. My coworker focused on researching Asana, Basecamp and  ProcessMate. 

As I started looking into the different applications, I learned that our must-have list was a unique set of circumstances that not many were capable of handling. The list quickly cut down to Wrike and Asana. As we got closer to deciding what would be best for us to pursue, we opened the conversation up to the integrated marketing manager and art director. 

Choosing Wrike

Myself and the team decided that we wanted to pursue a trial run with the Wrike platform, so I began to work with my coworker on setting up a testing atmosphere to suss out the capabilities. As we set up basic forms, we worked with a handful of testers that represented each type of user needed. 

After multiple rounds of testing and valuable tester feedback, we were confident that Wrike would be the solution for us. We excitedly got the ball rolling on the daunting task of setting it up for real world application. 

Developing Request Forms 

I was excited to get started on developing the many request forms that we needed in place before any type of rollout was achievable. A major selling point of Wrike was the ability to build dynamically intuitive request forms that allowed us to tailor each form to a variety of our specific needs.       

Whether the form needed to be quick and concise or thorough and detailed, I was able to create one for every possible scenario. Over the course of the last two years, we have developed over 20 forms that are now consistently used through many departments such as operations, marketing, merchandising and eCommerce, among others.

Building a Request Form

Filling out a Request Form

Building Intuitive Project Workflows

A blessing and a curse of choosing Wrike has been their continued development of the platform itself. The robustness of the request forms is no exception. As Wrike continues to expand the ability to dynamically build forms, myself and the team have continued to relearn how to best utilize the features available. A major development was their rollout of workflow templates, called Blueprints. 

By taking advantage of all the features of the platform, I worked very closely with the art director to define the existing workflows and identify how we can maximize accountability, efficiency and transparency of our projects both large and small. Below are screenshots of the various Blueprints we have built.

Training the Teams

As the company continues to grow, I also continue to coordinate and execute training to new users as well as provide refresher courses and one-on-one sessions for further help. 

When we first started using Wrike, the design, integrated marketing and merchandising teams were the primary users and the focus was around the design projects. As the "Wrike guru" I am responsible for walking teammates through the nuances of the platform and being a constant source of support for the team. It has allowed me to continue to provide my expertise and also allows me to stay on top of the new platform features. 

Outcome: Productivity + Minimum Effort

The biggest goal of the initiative was to consolidate two separate PM systems into one that would be as easy for the stores as it was for the designers – I am proud to be able to report we achieved it without a doubt. Wrike offers the feature of having different Spaces, where we were able to mimic individual spaces for the two main divisions in the platform, while allowing designers to maintain one project list and managers one reporting location. 

Additionally, the workflow processes have become much more streamlined, provided accountability throughout the project and overall insight into the health of the projects as well. Each full user has the ability to tailor dashboards to each person's needs. 

The benefits of the platform were so quickly recognized, that the CRM tech team soon wanted to jump in and use it for their own project management needs as well, providing me the reassurance that we did make the right decision. It was a long and arduous process to get it up and running, but the unique features that Wrike created has allowed us to continuously improve the departmental workflow.

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