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Balfour Customer Interview

Name: Michael Rainwater
Company: Balfour
Location: Dallas Texas
Website: http://www.balfour.com
Possition: Director of Engineering at Balfour

Tell us about your company

I am the Director of Engineering at Balfour. We are primarily a manufacturing company, providing yearbooks, graduation products, personalized jewelry, and sports fan jewelry. We sell our products in schools and on the internet through several large retail partners.

The engineering team in Dallas, TX primarily focuses on the yearbook business. Yearbook advisers need online software to plan and manage the yearbook product, provide educational material to students, and create the yearbook online. Our tools are much like Adobe InDesign, but provide a solution customized to the yearbook market. We also provide online selling tools to market and sale yearbooks and other products (such as graduation items). We have many different businesses with different priorities and selling seasons.

Why Tempo?

We were evaluating tools to replace our previous agile toolset. The cost of the previous tool was prohibitive and we could not involve all the stakeholder across the company. This tool also provided time management, and this was a critical part of our decision process. Our company is owned by a venture capital firm, and our finances are primarily judged by EBITDA. This means it is important to account for costs that can be capitalized vs operating expenses. Without a good time recording system, we are left to guessing.

Tempo provides a solution far superior to our last agile tool, and integrates well into JIRA. We made the decision to move to JIRA and Tempo at the same time. For me, this was a single decision and I would not have used one without the other. Our developers have different ways they like to record their time (at end of day, one issue at a time, etc). Tempo provides them this flexibility and they do a better job because they're not fighting with a tool.

How do you use Tempo?

We get very good data because people keep the information updated. We used several other time tracking tools, and we did not receive nearly as strong of adoption.

How would you say your employees are feeling about using Tempo?

We love Tempo. We get the data we need, and we get it painlessly.

What would you tell another company asking about Tempo?

Tempo and JIRA are a great combination at any company. Even if you don't currently think you need to track time, I would strongly recommend you develop that culture. It's a culture of communicating and it helps everyone make decisions about how they use their time. The most important tool that any leader has, is simply how we use our time. If we don't know what we're doing, then we can't make decisions about how to use this most precious resource.

Michael Rainwater Director of Engineering

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