As an award-winning, fully integrated digital marketing and advertising agency, Sparxoo works with a wide variety of clients with a broad range of needs. In order to continue trailblazing, we needed project management software tailored to creative collaboration. Our list of criteria included a way to manage our day-to-day work for team members, a central hub for critical brand assets and project information, and a way to analyze progress in an easily digestible format for better visibility into their business performance.
As Sparxoo sought out a platform that delivered these features, we found them across multiple different technologies, but nothing that was an all-in-one solution. This required us to have multiple accounts, multiple tools, and ultimately more segmentation and red tape. The fragmented use of multiple tools and platforms impacted productivity and made reporting on performance a difficult outcome to measure accurately. We needed a centralized software that combined project and business management, and when we couldn’t find one, we created it ourselves.
CROOW was developed by some of the innovative minds currently at Sparxoo. Two of the lead developers for CROOW were previous Sparxoo employees who had the first-hand experience with the problems of other project management platforms. The CROOW team identified that the existing PM technologies were often super-specialized, created with one individual end-user in mind, rather than created for a team of different roles to collaborate on together. CROOW was built to conquer these barriers and bring relevant functionality, and personnel, together. One tool, for the whole team.
Our team onboarded CROOW to a number of different departments as testing groups, starting with Sparxoo’s highly skilled developers who focus on the experience. We worked hand in hand with Alison Engelhardt, Director of Web & Mobile Development at Sparxoo, meeting weekly to talk through tool adoption, workflow enhancements, and other feedback she and her team had. Having their perspective steered us in the right direction when planning how to organize our software. This led us to develop CROOW differently from other PM tools, adding workspaces for a new level of organization, more in-depth testing of new features, and faster updates and releases.
The way Sparxoo organizes branding projects is very different from how we organize and manage website projects, and from how we manage teams. With CROOW, we wanted to provide individual user flexibility to build out a system customized to how you do business. CROOW provides the ability to structure projects that are organized into groups of deliverable types or in phases to make team workloads visible and easy to understand.
For many agencies, being able to predict workloads for team members before and throughout the week is crucial in measuring bandwidth and performance. Having a project management tool that can organize these elements into a single visual display helps agency leadership predict when new projects can be signed and which resources will be available to work on them.
Project Management Meets Business Management
Strong project management benefits more than just account managers and agency leaders. Creatives gain a central place to gather design edits and are able to share updates with clients and both internal and external team members. Project management within an agency is all about collaboration, so having a direct line of communication for work from a client to the team also drastically reduces the need for redundant emails or calls that results in saving everyone time. The ability to collaborate directly with clients and easily manage visibility has allowed us to take on new clients and bigger projects than ever before.
Using a strong project management tool has allowed us to expand our impact and get more work done this past year. As an agency, we are always looking for ways to grow our services, and staying organized with CROOW allowed us to do that. The amount of time to plan a development project has decreased significantly with the use of the project builder template, making a huge difference in efficiency. Visibility into our workload is also significantly higher.
“I can easily see work 3-6+ weeks out, which has helped us to both sell more projects in that timeframe and allows us to get ahead on work and begin delivering numerous projects early,” said Alison Engelhardt, Director of Web & Mobile Development at Sparxoo. “Previously I only could truly predict workload and visibility 1-2 weeks out, but with much less accuracy.”
Better visibility has led to more accurate billing of clients, which has increased profitability for projects. With exact time tracking, there’s less room for error and far more visibility into where work hours are spent on projects. Sparxoo has a real-time assessment of client work, as opposed to end-of-quarter reviews that leave room for under-billing.
CROOW has allowed us to both improve workload visibility and increase workflow efficiency through just one centralized tool. At Sparxoo, we have seen significant growth in our agency since developing CROOW and recommend centralized project management to any agency who wants to grow their reach.