FCB teams tracked tasks and projects in several different tools, including Basecamp, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel. Individuals manually updated status reports and everyone relied heavily on email to communicate. For example, one office emailed employees a daily HotSheet to ensure every team understood the status of the agency’s digital and print projects, yet some team members still remained out of the loop, at times causing a scramble for resources.
“We had a difficult time ensuring that our engineering and operations group had a clear view into all upcoming site launches and major file releases,” remembers EVP and Chief Product Officer of FCB Health, Graham Johnson. “Those teams would often get caught off-guard, and without proper planning, we may not have the appropriate time or resources.”
Consistent communication and reporting were also challenges. FCB team members managed spreadsheets tracking breakdowns of resource availability and sent these once or twice daily via email between offices and departments. This process, which took more than 20 hours every week, reduced billable staff hours.
Moreover, different clients had distinct ways of tracking tasks and each manual report took staff members a few hours to complete. Although FCB tracked hours worked on projects, the data was pulled exclusively from the agency’s financial system, which only tracked actual and client approved hours.
“There was no automated mapping of actual time spent against planned project hours, which hindered our ability to negotiate for more hours or course-correct potential issues before client work started,” says Katherine Haven, vice president and director of the strategic operations Project Management Office (PMO) for FCB.
Opportunities to develop more efficient operations as work became more project focused globally had FCB seeking a single platform for project planning, task assignment, and resource management.