I am Borja Gramage, responsible for organizational development and people at Arisnova. I am the second generation of a company present over 30 years.
We are a Spanish company specialized in the development of control systems, automation, and custom software development since 1989. We make technological, exclusive, and intuitive applications that increase the competitiveness of our customers.
Our applications are designed to be used by different roles within the company. This is achieved by adapting their use to satisfy the simplest operations to the most specialized or demanding jobs. Some examples of our developments are GAS PLANT and SMARTPORT.
Arisnova is a family company with 45 employees, and we are currently in the process of evolution and growth. Internally, we have launched several lines of action to digitize our processes and professionalize our operations. It was in one of the digitalization actions that we decided to bet on ActiveCollab.
Before we started using ActiveCollab
We did not have a standard work methodology. Until now, in a company of 30-35 people, organizing ourselves was not complicated: projects with small teams where each one had its own management methodology on a different platform (Trello, Excel, etc.).
We did not measure the workload of our colleagues. It is true that, with a staff of 30-35 people, the workload is not your primary concern. It's easy to know which tasks the rest of the team is engaged in because communication is fluid. However, with 45 people, the challenge changes.
We failed to record information. We live in the generation of data. For instance, we develop applications that control and monitor in real-time more than 12 million variables (that's crazy at an industrial level). However, with more than 30 years of developing projects, we had not considered measuring in-depth concepts such as profitability, tracked hours, lags. The significant numbers were going very well, but we did not have more detailed information.
In a company that develops cutting-edge technology, we were almost not digitalized. A lot of paper in the office, everything was done in person, and different methodologies were used. If we wanted to continue enjoying our next 30 years, something had to change quickly.
A single, cross-cutting tool for the entire team
We needed a tool to standardize the work methodology. Nowadays, working by iterations and validating work is essential (at least in the software development industry). ActiveCollab has facilitated this methodology as it allows creating task lists to know if the tasks are in CYCLE, DOING, or DONE.
- Easy to assign and distribute tasks.
- Establishing priorities.
- Describing a task's scope.
Allocating hours to the corresponding tasks
The Stopwatch improvement has helped a lot to record hours on projects. Thanks to ActiveCollab, we can now say that we have three years of hours recorded and attributed to projects. The retrospective view of where you have spent your time is also very useful for us.
Knowing the workload
We are starting to make use of this new feature. Until now, it has been complicated because we have many projects in progress, the scopes (dates and estimates) are changed almost every week, so it was challenging to keep ActiveCollab up to date. However, the team is making an effort to know the workload and avoid possible peaks/attrition of our colleagues.
Easy integration with other applications
As a developer company, we needed a good API to integrate with other tools we use: ERP, budgeting tool, Power BI... Thanks to the integrations, ActiveCollab is not "just" a tool, it is one more tool in our environment.
A day-to-day improvement
ActiveCollab has really improved our day-to-day operations. As I mentioned earlier, we have improved our budgeting considerably. There is less intuition and more information.
The teams have become more cross-functional. With a common tool and a single project management methodology, it has been much easier to assign people to projects (and managers) they were not used to working with. The time to adapt to new projects has been reduced by 80%.
Unfortunately, the Covid situation in Spain has been quite dramatic. In 2020 we had four months of home confinement, during which teleworking was quite an experience. Just as well, and I repeat, just as well, that we had already been digitizing and modernizing the company for two years. For us, it has been a mere experiment successfully passed. Tools such as ActiveCollab that allow you to work asynchronously and cut meetings will enable us to continue working during this experience and have helped establish teleworking as another option within our offer.
Finally, I would like to thank the Customer Support Team because they have always responded kindly and have gone out of their way to solve my doubts (and I had a lot of them!).