High end design & communications firm attains time management nirvana
“What I like about it is that it has its own space. It's online, it's 24/7, and it's separate from email—it's our special sandbox. It's where everyone gets together, gets their assignments, writes comments, logs their hours, and manages their own time and tasks. All the stuff I used to do for everyone else. So it frees me from managing my guys' time.”
Birgitte is a producer in a socially responsible design and communications firm based near New York City. Her job at LUCITÀ is to make sure she doesn't go gray before her time-so far so good, she says, but it's a tough act.
Why Birgitte uses Intervals.
We do a lot of national as well as international work. Our people are spread across three different time zones and our clients and partners are all over the world. This requires a tremendous amount of logistics, organization and coordination. Not to mention eternal patience.
Before Intervals, Birgitte used Excel spreadsheets, paper timesheets, email and yes, even the backs of envelopes to keep track of project assignments and hours worked. When it came to billing clients, a lot of time literally evaporated looking for those scraps of paper that just happened to be nearby when hours needed to be recorded. And as we all know, evaporated time is not billable.
But the moment of truth came when a client significantly expanded the scope of a web site project LUCITÀ was working on, changing many functionalities in mid-stream. Not only did it become virtually impossible to distinguish the "extra" new hours from the original contracted work, and thus bill for them, there were now two versions each of some functionalities—making Birgitte and her team spend even more time keeping track of them all.
In our desire to be fair both to the client and ourselves, we spent massive hours going back through emails to be 1000% positive that a particular feature had X hours allocated to it under the original contract and now, given the changes requested, we needed to bill them Y hours more. That's when I realized, we need a time and task management system. If we're serious about the health of our business, then we'd better find a reliable way to track and manage our projects and the time spent on them.
So Birgitte sat down one day and began the long process of comparing, assessing, and testing the project management software out there. She tried Basecamp, eproject, teamspace, projectspace and every other space, but they were all missing something: if the price was right, then it had no time management. If it had time management, it looked like it was run over by a freight train. If it was designed well, then it was outrageously expensive.
And then, out of the blue, Birgitte came upon Intervals, listed on a web directory somewhere. It was love at first screenshot, she says, completely serious. It had everything we were looking for: a great, completely intuitive user interface, time, task, project and people management, client-side functionality, various levels of access for different types of personnel, graphs and charts, it's scalable, customizable, and the price is very comfortable. That was it. That was the end of the road.
What Intervals does for Birgitte.
What I like about it is that it has its own space. It's online, it's 24/7, and it's separate from email—it's our special sandbox. It's where everyone gets together, gets their assignments, writes comments, logs their hours, and manages their own time and tasks. All the stuff I used to do for everyone else. So it frees me from managing my guys' time.
Not only does Birgitte no longer have to stay chained to her desk, it gives her team a lot more independence and autonomy. If there's anything I can't stand, she says, it's micromanaging my guys. Some of our people are based in Europe, so seeing how engaged they are with Intervals is a really great feeling—they all love the timers, and they send each other notes and instructions. It pulls our team much closer together, on a daily basis... Intervals is our temple.
But the other, perhaps less often seen side of Intervals, is the client interface. Clients can submit work requests and track their progress—eliminating any question about what job was submitted or assigned or completed when. And that makes billing very straightforward, not to mention complete. No more revenue that's evaporated into the stratosphere.
Intervals has paid for itself many, many times over, says Birgitte. No more obsessing about lost timesheets. No more trawling through emails at 36,000 feet. I can actually look out the window now.
Intervals Helps Communication Firms:
- Centralize and organize a distributed work force in multiple countries
- Control project scope by making clients an integral part of the process
- Show your clients how hard you are working for them
- Spend less time micro managing your team
“After using this for less than a month Intervals has really enhanced the way our department bills out our hours to our clients.”