Interestingly, many software companies, when asked about which tools they use, don't even mention their own. They simply don't use their software to the extent that they hope or want their clients to use it. This doesn't make sense to us. Why would your clients use the tool if you don't even use it yourself? If something doesn't work for us, it means that it might not work for other teams with similar tasks. So, we fix it. If you're interested in finding out more, check out how Developers, or Sales and Customer Success use Forecast.
We are asked very frequently how does Forecast use Forecast. Internally, our in-house marketing team naturally uses Forecast every day. But it might not be obvious how we use Forecast. Marketers and marketing teams have many different use cases. Although, for some inspiration, we'll show and explain how Forecast's marketing team uses Forecast in our daily workflow.
We lined up a few questions for ourselves and had our team answer each.
What do you use Forecast for in your team?
Forecast is the backbone of all of our marketing projects. We use it for all things planning, tracking progress, and execution. For us, it is truly the one-stop hub for everything work-related. The marketing team has a few shared projects, including Marketing Operations, Content, and Editorial. The Marketing Operations project is where everything is managed and collected from across the team; it acts as our overarching project. We set up milestones, which are usually monthly or quarterly focus points. We track the progress of our tasks in the workflow view. After, we create sprints, which are our 14-day plans of what needs to get done. We have a few tasks for each of us that considered ongoing and are not included in the sprint. Instead those ongoing tasks are tracked in the workflow with an according stage, i.e., 'Ongoing Kasper.'
How are you using Forecast on a daily basis?
Besides being our one-stop hub, we use Forecast to collaborate. It doesn't matter whether everybody's in the office, or if somebody is working remotely, we have all of our tasks available in one place, and it's linked to our schedule. Every week we have an Editorial Meeting and Sprint Planning Meeting. Our Editorial Meeting provides us with a high-level overview. Every month we produce a marketing report that explains four objectives for the month. For each goal, we use Scoping to create Milestones. During the Editorial Meeting, we plan out our Social Media content on our Editorial Calendar and discuss current initiatives or strategies for the month.
Our sprint planning is where we get down to the nitty-gritty, in a matter of speaking. We look at our current sprint, what we've accomplished, and if we've experienced any problems along the way. Every second week, we end the current sprint. Meaning that, the sprint we planned two weeks ago should hopefully have been successfully implemented, and we can move on to planning the next upcoming sprint.
What are some projects you manage with Forecast, and how has the tool helped the execution of your projects? What is your work process?
One example was in June when we announced a set of new integrations. Xero, Harvest, Trello, and GitHub. We ran a sales play around the integrations, and used Forecast to plan, execute, and align every task within our team. The result was a well-structured and successful execution of the sales play - in just one week. Back then, we were running sprints of 7-days, but later we switched to 14-days sprints as we learned from experience that 14 days, with 7-day checkups, fits our workflow better.
"For my work process I utilize 'Subtasks' feature for every new card I create. I love being able to break down a Card further into smaller little tasks. I make the video content for Forecast, which includes conceptualization, research on the topic, storyboarding, recording the video and audio, and editing. Lastly, I had the promotional material for all videos. There are a lot of small components for making just one video, so I like to create subtask on a card, for example, 'Jira Integration Video.' Another great feature of Subtasks is that I can estimate how long each one will take. This helps me stay on top of the Card and keep to a deadline when I know how long each smaller component demands rather than just estimating a time to the whole video. Lastly, if a subtask requires more attention or effort than I anticipated, I can spin it out and convert it to a new Card. Using Subtasks has helped my work process immensely." - Kelley, Content and Community Specialist at Forecast
What do you particularly like about using Forecast? Which feature would you highlight out of all of them?
"A cool feature in Forecast that I use on a daily basis is the Notes for time entries. Every time when I log hours on non-project time, such as Meetings, I put a note next to it. The note contains relevant information about the meeting - why it was hold, what was discussed or what was concluded. This allows me to see on a weekly overview how many meetings I had throughout the week and plan my sprint tasks accordingly.“ - Zlatomira, Digital Marketing Specialist at Forecast
One feature I personally really like is the combination of the Workflow boards and Sprints. These combined allows for a smooth and aligned collaborative effort with your colleagues. Everybody knows what's planned, and everybody knows the progress of each of the tasks. You can quickly open a task to learn more, comment on it, or attach a file. Super easy!
Are your team using any additional tools during your week?
We are of course using a few additional tools, but those are not directly related to neither project- or resource management. Among those extra tools we use, the Google Suite and Adobe Suite are our lifesavers. For Google, we use Google Drive and Google Calendar the most, and for Adobe, Photoshop and Premiere Pro run our graphical and video needs. Slack is used for internal communication at the office. Marketing has their own channel to communicate new ideas, share articles or inspirational material as well as direct messaging. Lastly, Zoom is used for video conferencing and webinars. However, generally, we like to keep our tool stack as simple as possible.
Do you have any tips to share with others who may be managing similar projects?
Well, yes we do have a tip for you from our own experience. One mistake we did with using our own tool was the habit of quickly adding new tasks directly to the Workflow boards instead of going through the Scoping, and Sprints, as it is intended with the tool. We quickly experienced that when you don't have milestones or sprints attached to tasks, or don't spend the required time to plan and align tasks across your team - your workflow will (sooner rather than later,) begin to get out of hand. Scoping and Sprints exist for a reason, and we clearly see how much that has helped our productivity, reaching our goals and with meeting our deadlines. We now can see the importance of knowing why you're doing something. Lastly, it's always necessary to align your tasks with the rest of the teams.
What you read above is a quick glimpse into how our internal marketing team is using Forecast to plan and execute our projects. There are many ways to use the platform, many ways to collaborate and integrate various tools to fit your specific needs. It all depends on preferences and the nature of your projects. In the case that you have any questions for us, the marketing team, or about the product in general - we're always ready for a talk.
Check out our other articles on how Forecast uses Forecast: