One of the things that we take pride in at Tempo with our time tracking plugin is its versatile use. It’s not just a basic time tracking tool for development teams anymore, but can be used for so much more, including resource planning, project management, and data analysis with our new business intelligence gadgets. We’re learning more and more about how customers are applying Tempo for ‘non-traditional’ uses — for instance, using JIRA and Tempo as a help desk (like Nyherji does), and for their sales and marketing teams (like Red Bricks Media does).
Tempo’s marketing team uses JIRA, GreenHopper, and Tempo for project management, planning, and time tracking, and we thought we’d share some of our processes for those looking for alternate uses for Tempo. Like our development team, our marketing team has adopted Agile methodologies, so our aim is to always maintain an efficient workflow and deliver quality results.
Using Kanban boards in GreenHopper
While our development teams generally work in GreenHopper, using Scrum with (generally) bi-weekly or monthly sprints, we use its Kanban boards for its temporal flexibility. Our marketing team is rather small, so we’ve realized, through trial-and-error, that things inevitably pop up that need to be addressed ASAP, and Kaban allows us to re-prioritize our issues efficiently and optimally, without making us feel overburdened by time.
We create issues in JIRA as we would assign tasks to members of our team. Some marketing tasks require the assistance of our in-house graphic designer or a developer, so assigning those tasks allows us to plan people’s time, keep track of the status of those tasks, and it lets our project managers know what their team is working on. Working in Kanban allows us to prioritize our tasks and alter them as needs change. We can easily view what’s in the pipeline, what is currently in process, what’s ready for publication, and what’s recently been completed.
Once we’ve completed all of the tasks on a Kanban board, we’ll close it out, or, alternatively, if a particular Kanban has become inundated with issues, many of which have been completed and closed out, we can create a new Kanban board to remove all of the clutter.
Planning With Tempo and JIRA
Our marketing team generally meets on a weekly basis to go over assignments that have been completed in the last week, those that need to be completed in the next week, and whether any difficulties or circumstances have arisen which would require us to re-prioritize our tasks. In these meetings, we also flesh out the details. If we have a particular blog post in mind, we might need the help of a graphic designer, a member of our QA team, or a developer to help us with graphics, screenshots, or special HTML coding.
We can contemplate the steps that are involved, and include the participants needed in the JIRA issue. If we require the help of someone outside of our immediate department, we can plan their time, and, with Tempo’s planning approvals process, request approval of their time from their immediate supervisor. And, if they are within the Tempo team, we can plan their time on the specific task to give them a heads up of when we’ll be needing them.
Campaigns and Events
We’ve got a number of marketing projects on our plate at any given time, and the ability to create separate Kanban boards in GreenHopper for each campaign or project helps us to keep all JIRA issues associated with them defined and organized. For instance, we have a board for a new website that we’re currently working on, one for general marketing issues (blog posts, customer evaluations, etc.), and as we get closer to Atlassian Summit 2013, we’ll add another board for that.
Considering all of the details and people that go into a single campaign or event (e.g., creating the next issue of the Tempo Times, designing the new Tempo tee, or building a social media campaign focussed on Summit), this process eases our pain by making our work transparent, collaborative, organized, and flexible. With Tempo, our Product and Marketing Manager can easily plan and view our planned time, and adjust projects and schedules as needs and plans change. Then, our team keeps track of time spent on each issue/task, which, based on the workload scheme that we're assigned to, is tied to our organization’s payroll.
Brainstorming Blog Ideas
We often use Confluence to brainstorm our blog topics for Tempo releases and campaigns to flesh out the details, but once we’ve agreed to a tentative plan of action, we’ll add it to JIRA and assign it to a Kanban board. More often than not, any marketing project will involve a number of pairs of eye — for blog posts, for instance, we might need screenshots, videos, graphics, or some help with customized HTML, which might involve the assistance of our graphic designer, QA guru, developer, or technical writer.
We also like to mix it up with blog posts from various members of our team, so assigning posts to them in JIRA and planning time for them to work on it is important, since it often diverts team members from their other projects. Overall, JIRA, GreenHopper, and Tempo keep our marketing team organized, planned, and on track.
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