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Apptension, August 25th, 2016

How do we use Podio to get the most from it?

How do we use Podio to get the most from it?

Being a software house (or simply a company for that matter), we’re dealing with multiple processes at the same time. From upcoming projects and their delivery to controlling internal resources and communicating with each other, they all need to be harnessed in order for the business to function effectively.

Many companies manage all of those processes using separate products, which often leads to either multiplying the data unnecessarily (e.g. entering the same things many times) or losing important insights because the tools are not properly integrated. Needless to say, we didn’t want that to happen. That’s why, 2 years ago, we set out to pick a tool that would cover as much ground as possible. As it turned out, Podio was a perfect match for us (and we made this match even perfect-er by adding our own element to it – more on that below).

Today, we want to share the 4 things that we use Podio for, and the way we’re handling it. You’ll see some tips on project management via Podio, our bespoke solution for resource management and a more out-there idea that we created to increase employee engagement.

1. Delivering projects on time

We’re constantly working on several projects at a time, and, obviously, we want to deliver them all as smoothly as possible. We wouldn’t be able to harness the flow of information without a tool to keep it all together. That’s why we’ve customized some of the Podio apps to create kanban boards or product backlogs. It is a pretty standard use case for this software, but we took it a step further by implementing an app called “Client’s Bugs”.

We’ve noticed that clients happen to spot bugs or inconsistencies and let us know about them across different channels. As a result, information can be imprecise (as in “I’ve noticed a bug on a homepage), it can get lost easily and, even when resolved, the client gets little follow-up about the issue.

The app we’re using is essentially a bug submission form available to the client. Simple as it sounds, it’s actually helpful on many levels:

  • our QA team receives detailed information about the presumed bug and they can verify it right away instead of looking for it,
  • the client gets some follow-up, they see whether the issue is being fixed, or maybe it turned out that is was not a bug after all,
  • both the team and the client form a relationship that helps them understand each other and work together on achieving the common goal (I’ve recently written a piece on why such togetherness is very important when working on a project).

client bugs app

2. Recruitment

As many companies out there, we’re looking for people to fill out several different roles all the time, so it’s extremely important to stay on top of everything. We transfer the incoming applications to Podio, where we also schedule the interviews with the most promising candidates. At any stage, we can filter the data to browse only through the relevant applicants.

Once the interview’s been held, everyone who attended it from our side is able to leave their assessment within Podio and see what others think. It helps in drafting a feedback message we send to every person we interview.

There are several recruitment-dedicated tools on the market and they certainly have their merit. What we like about our choice to use Podio is that we can seamlessly connect different processes once a person is actually hired: from recruitment to onboarding, from onboarding to everyday tasks. There’s no need to enter the same data into different systems and the new employee is able to get the hang of our main tool quickly.

3. Employer branding

It’s no secret that there’s a great demand for IT specialists and companies go to great lenghts to attract them. You’ll see chill rooms with video games or table tennis sets in most software houses around here (and we’re no exception). In order to build a distinctive and appealing employer brand, you simply have to stand out.

We asked ourselves: what is it that would make our employees happier? New office gear? Frequent team retreats? Internal hackathons? Making everyone equally happy is borderline impossible and research shows that employees want the benefits to be customized to their individual needs. Our answer to this dilemma? An internal crowdfunding platform! We customized two Podio apps to create the Wishlist.

The Wishlist is essentially a list of ideas that our staff came up with. Each of the initiatives has a predetermined cost that needs to be covered for this idea to come to life. Every person on the team has a vote (all votes have the same financial value) and each month the vote is renewed. In short, once a month you can cast your vote for one of the ideas listed in the app or add your idea and vote for it.

wishlist podio app

As a result we’re able to provide benefits that are tailored to our employees’ needs and build a stronger employer brand. The Wishlist app has seen a 90% engagement rate among our staff.

4. Resource Management

Working on multiple projects (and planning several other) at any given moment makes it essential for us to have a visibility into resource utilization and capacity forecast. We decided to build a tool that would cover resource scheduling, time tracking and availability management. That’s how teamdeck came into being. You can read a more detailed story of our first Apptension-owned product here.

teamdeck resource scheduling

Teamdeck helped us better manage our resources and we needed it to be integrated with Podio from the get-go. You see, both PM tools and resource management tools require a lot of the same data – list of people, holidays, vacations etc. Everyone who uses Podio can import these into their teamdeck account making those two products connected without unnecessary hassle. We’re really stoked about our recent beta launch so don’t hesitate to express your opinion about it.

What’s your opinion about one-for-all tools?

There you have it, some of Apptension’s use cases for Podio (and teamdeck). As you can see, we were able to cover a lot of ground with one product thanks to the system of customisable workflows.

What are the advantages of handling most of company processes with a single tool? For starters, we know that everyone on board is fluent using it – we simply have fewer tools to master. One-for-all software also helps us to nurture our core values, the voice we use within the tool is the voice of the company. Finally, the workspace architecture helps us maintain transparency and smooth communication while we still can create space for confidential information.

What is your go-to software and how do you use it to its fullest? We’re looking forward to hearing your use cases of Podio and other tools. Let us know in the comments!

Z C