How CIT used the Teamwork suite to make repeated projects more efficient
17 June 2019 | 0
Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) is a university-level higher education institution located in the Cork, Ireland. CIT offers a wide range of flexible full-time and part-time courses in science and information technology, business, engineering, humanities, music, nautical studies, and art and design.
Philip O’Reilly, head of websites and digital ,arketing at CIT, introduced Teamwork Projects and Teamwork Desk to the marketing team to help them structure their work and more efficiently communicate with their wide-reaching audiences, which range from potential students, to stakeholders, to government bodies and policy decision makers.
Going around and around
When O’Reilly joined the marketing team in 2015, one of the first things he noticed was the lack of tools being used to manage their processes – and how much time this was costing them.
Having come from an IT role in the same institution, O’Reilly had used software to manage his projects and knew first-hand how much it helped with meeting deadlines and organising details in even the most complicated projects.
“When I first started, the marketing team was managing their daily tasks using pen and paper, files were stored on shared drives, and conversations were happening across e-mail threads,” he said. “It was difficult to track individual and project progress without having constant meetings.”
He also noticed that the team wasn’t using help desk software. Instead, all communication – with prospective students, the more than 30 departments at CIT, and outside contractors and companies – was happening in long, siloed e-mail chains that were difficult and time-consuming to read.
Using this system, team members had to read each message, identify which project it belonged to, categorise it manually, and then forward it to the correct person. With hundreds of e-mails per day, this process could take more than an hour for each person.
With much of their work across both projects and e-mails following a standard, repeatable process, O’Reilly knew they were losing time that they could easily win back with the right tools.
Streamlining the process
With the combination of Teamwork Projects and Teamwork Desk, O’Reilly and his team were able to cut out repetitive manual work, organise their projects, and more productively manage their communication.
Now, the marketing team have every facet of their projects in one place: tasks, conversations, files, and more. Rather than having to search for important details spread across shared drives and private email threads, the team can pinpoint the information they need in seconds.
By using Teamwork Projects to streamline and systematise their workflows, they’ve managed to become significantly more efficient. Because much of their work is cyclical – involving yearly projects like creating a refreshed prospectus for potential students – they often have projects that need to be repeated every year. Using project and task templates lets them set up new projects instantly, saving all of the hassle of starting from scratch… and potentially hours of work each month. All they have to do is populate a new template with the updated due dates.
“Setting up to-do lists for new projects used to take forever, and it seemed like we’d always miss something,” said O’Reilly. “Teamwork Projects has given us a way to refine our process and make sure everyone is clear on their responsibilities at every step along the way.”
As part of their newly streamlined process, the team also eliminated all of the inefficient e-mail protocols that were eating up large chunks of their time. Now, team conversations happen within specific projects and tasks in Teamwork Projects, so that every detail is retrievable, accounted for, and most importantly, centralised.
With Teamwork Desk in the mix, conversations with external collaborators are similarly more transparent. Everyone on the team can view discussions in Teamwork Desk – they’re no longer locked away in individual e-mail exchanges. “No matter what the issue, we have a history of all of the correspondence for context, so that anyone can quickly get up to speed and jump in.”
More efficient where it matters
Using Teamwork Projects and Teamwork Desk, O’Reilly’s team have integrated tools within one software suite that helps them to cut the fat and accomplish more every day. Team members use Teamwork Projects to manage their tasks and internal communication, keeping everyone organised and up to date on project progress.
The combination of the two tools has helped the marketing team to totally overhaul their communication and processes for the better. They rely on Teamwork Projects for their own conversations on internal project work, and they funnel e-mails from external sources to shared e-mail accounts through Teamwork Desk. Each e-mail is turned into a ticket, which can be assigned to a specific team member in just a few clicks – and if needed, can be quickly turned into an actionable task in Teamwork Projects straight from their Teamwork Desk inbox.
Like project templates, canned responses in Teamwork Desk allow the team to save time by reducing the amount of manual work they have to do while still ensuring that everyone who contacts them gets the answers they need and a seamless communication experience. Team members can also add private notes to these tickets if they need to discuss issues without the correspondence being visible to outside collaborators.
Best of all, better processes lead to better projects. Each year when O’Reilly’s team repeats a project, they can measure their success against previous iterations. Because they have a documented project history, it’s easier to spot patterns and course-correct if necessary. As they go forward, they can tweak the templates for maximum efficiency, meaning that their processes can grow with their team. The same is true of Teamwork Desk; O’Reilly’s team use Happiness Ratings to get feedback and learn where they can improve.
“Using Teamwork has allowed us to meet our deadlines, become more efficient, and improve the way we work,” said O’Reilly.
This article was supplied by Teamwork.