Web development can take on many different forms. For larger teams, it might make sense to develop a proprietary framework in-house that the team themselves can upkeep and maintain; for smaller companies, it might be more worth their while to contract a team to build their website using an existing framework, platform, or builder. With new businesses cropping up every day, there is a large demand for website creation services, especially for ones built using existing frameworks. Because of its ease of use and wide range of customizability, WordPress has become a popular platform for website creation. Facing an uptick in business, one company that builds WordPress websites came to us needing a way to manage their customers and project work.
Our client is a WordPress web development company. They are currently a small team of just a few people, but have recently started to collaborate with some additional outside consultants on a new product. With current working arrangement the greater project team is comprised of two smaller teams, so our client wanted to make sure that they could keep projects separated. Being a small team, they want to be nimble and hit the ground running with little overhead in managing their work. That being said, they outlined the need to track all work, whether it is feature development or support work.
In terms of managing work, OneDesk excels at giving our client the tools to do so. For feature-focused project work, OneDesk has a project management application through which our client can log every piece of work that needs to be done as a ticket, and manage them. On each ticket, details can be added to describe the work to be done, including an estimate of time to be spent and whether the hours are billable or not. Tickets can also be assigned out and go through different statuses in a workflow that our client can define. This tracks the progress of the ticket over time and is saved in OneDesk that can be referred to for tracking interactions for a piece of work. In terms of making sure work is tracked, but kept separate, OneDesk has organization features at the project level and beyond. By setting up a portfolio for their internal team and another portfolio for their consultants, our client can easily distinguish whose work is whose. Within a portfolio, our client can then set up each of their team’s projects.
Because our client uses WordPress for their web development, there are a standard set of tasks that need to happen as set up for any new project. In OneDesk, our client can speed up this process by cloning portfolios and projects. By creating a template portfolio, our client can set up template projects within it. For each project, template tasks can also be created. All of these can then be cloned with their hierarchy maintained so whenever our client needs a new portfolio or project, they can spin up a clone from the templates. For example, if our client has a template for every new website project, they might have template tasks under it for setup and configuration. This ensures that any standard tasks for the initial project phases are captured and surfaced right away. This also saves our client a lot of time as they don’t need to enter these items all manually.
For incoming support requests, OneDesk also has a helpdesk application that works seamlessly with its project management software. Following the idea that work items are logged, tracked, and stored, the helpdesk treats incoming work as tickets that can be assigned out and transitioned through different phases of a workflow. These tickets are different from project tasks in what workflows they follow and what data is recorded on each one, but otherwise are very similar, which makes it easy and intuitive for the team to move between project and support work. With OneDesk’s customer portal application, our client can set up an environment for their customers to log requests directly into the system. For the customer portal, our client can customize what their customers see and require specific data when customers are logging requests. This ensures all of the data is there upfront before the team starts investigating and doing the work.
One area that our client was concerned about was managing their customers. From ensuring that communications are going to all relevant people, to having the ability to pull statistics on who their most vocal customers are, our client wants to ensure their customers’ needs are met at all times. By default, OneDesk sets up a customer entity for every e-mail address that interacts with a ticket. These customers can then be grouped by organization, which is a simple level of customer management. Having these customer entities stored and tracked in OneDesk allows our client to use them as filter criteria and create custom views around this data. This means our client can see which organizations are logging the most issues and who in particular are the most frustrated users. In terms of managing communications with customers, once the customer entity is created in OneDesk, they can then be added as a follower on any issues tracked in the system. Followers are notified of any public discussions, meaning our client has an easy way to keep communications flowing to their customers in a channel that’s visible to the whole team.
Because our client is a fairly small team, they noted that they need to be able to work quickly. By tracking and managing their work in OneDesk, they save on setup time and can reduce the overhead of managing the work itself. With the combination of project management and support helpdesk, OneDesk gives our client full visibility into what is most pressing on both fronts, whether they are urgent customer requests or high priority project work. By integrating communications with customers directly into the work items being worked on, our client doesn’t have to dig around to find all the details of what’s going on. For teams of this size, it’s crucial that they can focus on what’s important—the development and the customers.