Twice the number of employees means double trouble - but not for goodylabs. This company was determined to get a complete overview of its plans and finances while delegating responsibilities to managers, as it was already aware of the importance of such processes. Here’s how we helped them accomplish that!
Head of Operations Department
In this case study, you will learn:
Goodylabs is a software development company specializing in UX/UI, e-commerce and mobile development. It employs over 60 people, and it plans to grow even further.
Even though the company has been operating in its current shape for just over a year, it has over 10 years of experience in the market, as the business originated from two other entities: a creative agency and a software development company. After years of successful and fruitful cooperation, these two organizations have decided to join forces to create goodylabs - and since then they have benefited from the arrangement, providing its customers with comprehensive services.
Thanks to the fusion of the two companies, goodylabs can offer its customers a wide array of services. With development, research, strategy, and UX/UI departments, the organization can cover both simple and complex requirements, tailoring its services to the needs of its target audience.
Currently, the organization offers end-to-end solutions and bespoke software for corporate clients and e-commerce enterprises. It specializes in applications, e-commerce websites, and innovative digital products for the market. In Goodylab’s portfolio, you can find programs for managing pricing in B2B companies and solutions for managing work and contractors. In some cases, goodylabs is also involved in maintenance projects.
Goodylabs also intends to expand its operations even further. As the e-commerce market is dynamically changing, the company wants to enter the POS market by providing customers with online sales points that combine offline and online services. With features such as a virtual shop assistant or digital mirror, the company has already attracted the attention of major players in the Polish market, including OTCF - a large Polish retail company owning brands such as 4F or Outhorn.
Naturally, there are other prominent customers goodylabs can be proud of. It has also cooperated with:
Importantly, the projects were critically acclaimed by both target users rewarding them with excellent ratings on AppStore and Google Play, as well as the leaders in the IT industry that have nominated goodylabs’ creations to numerous prestigious awards, including Mobile Trend Awards - a major Polish contest for creators of mobile applications.
Right now, goodylabs is working on 40 projects - both internal and commercial.
Tom Mazurek is a Head of Operations Department in goodylabs. Tom’s main responsibility is ensuring all processes, teams, and departments are running smoothly, so goodylabs can scale further without any obstacles. To give you few examples, Tom’s role consists of:
Still, Tom’s role changed as the company grew. At the time of Primetric’s implementation, when goodylabs first came to life after the two companies decided to join forces, Tomasz was responsible for creating and maintaining the key process in the whole business. While this may sound like a simple task, his main objective was, in fact, very complex: to delegate responsibilities and to enable the company to scale in the years to come.
"I would like to know how the company will be performing next year. How much money we’ll have, what we can afford, and what not. It is a matter of looking at the company’s condition through the budget. Of course, business is dynamic, but we must have a clear plan and be able to control it. Having such an overview is extremely important."
But why was the change necessary in the first place?
"After the merger, goodylabs lacked a tool combining time tracking, project profitability, resource planning, and budgeting. As we used to work in some larger organizations, we knew that we needed to share the responsibilities between the managers of different departments and teams. They have to be responsible for their respective fields. A convenient tool is an excellent finishing touch to the process, as it gathers and presents the overview of their actions for the executive board."
When two smaller companies merged, it became apparent that their management and calculation methods were not suited to continue in a business twice as large as its predecessors. In some places, the processes weren’t even matching, and they needed to be unified to provide the managers with reliable and precise information.
Of course, goodylabs was already using a few tools to manage its processes. Thanks included Clockify (for time tracking), Jira (for project management) and Excel spreadsheets (for allocations, budgets and time offs). However, these tools took a lot of work to combine and, more importantly, they had significant problems with access levels, which was particularly important for delegating responsibilities. Therefore, Goodylabs needed to find a new, more comprehensive tool.
"The tools had one basic flaw that prevented us from moving forward - lack of a system of access levels. Managers could either see everything or nothing; there was nothing in between. We couldn’t get our managers to see the information for their respective fields."
Naturally, difficulties with reflecting the processes in the existing tools were only one of the problems Tomasz had to solve with his new prospective solutions. His other challenges included:
As the company doubled in both size and number of operations after its fusion, calculating its profitability also became a considerable challenge.
The most fundamental problem was the formulas for calculating different KPIs. Before the merger, each organization had its own ways of estimating key indicators - and now, with twice as many people on board, they were incomparable and misleading. As a result, the reports and calculations couldn’t be used as a source of knowledge for making critical decisions.
"The greatest challenge was managing the profitability of both companies. When they were smaller, everyone had 100% of utilization. As a result, everything could easily be calculated. [...] When the team grew, allocation problems began to occur. People were not correctly assigned by their skills, benched employees appeared, and the process of calculating profitability was much more complicated, too. "
Additionally, performing hundreds of calculations for dozens of projects and employees was a very burdensome task that was almost universally despised by the management. They were frustrated with the process's length and the mistakes it generated.
"When the realities of two separate companies clashed, we did not have a general overview we could use to draw some key conclusions."
The errors were sometimes inevitable. As the data was stored in several different tools that were not connected, any changes were only present in a single source. As a result, other programs stored incorrect information that were sometimes used in calculations, causing chaos and management problems. To avoid that, changes had to be made separately in all the tools, and all the managers had to be informed that they happened.
"We had to monitor such things to see exactly where our losses originated from, where we could make profit, what the profitability looked like, and where we could save some money - these were my initial challenges. "
When goodylabs was created, the number of its employees effectively doubled in size. As a result, the number of resource-related problems were also doubled, as things weren’t as simple to calculate as they used to be.
First and foremost, the company lacked an overview of the people's workload and project allocations. This has resulted in schedule conflicts and overlapping allocations that harmed employees’ morale. It was also a frustrating situation for the managers, who couldn’t stay on top of both short- and long-term allocations with so many tools that were not connected.
"Planning is thinking about the future and preventing problems from occurring. Each company that doesn’t wish to be just a seasonal thing needs to think forward, and without planning it can’t be done; we couldn’t get it done without the right tool."
To add to that, people were sometimes mismatched with the projects they were supposed to complete. Due to the lack of skill management, concisely assigning them was a challenging task that - apart from causing chaos - was also very time-consuming for managers.
Worst of all, despite all the efforts from the managers, in some cases, people were simply not assigned to the projects. As a result, the bench in the company was dynamically growing, as did its costs. Consequently, the company came to the conclusion that it could save money by reducing the costs of idle employees.
The number of employees and technical inconsistencies weren’t the only things stopping goodylabs from growing stronger daily.
"In managing profitability, the key was understanding and predicting where we could add more work and where to limit it".
At the time of the merger, the company did not calculate the number of billable and non-billable hours. As a result, goodylabs wasn’t aware of the costs of internal work, and it could not tell how much of these expenses should have been covered by commercial operations.
"Such overhead costs were not the only problem. The calculations were made even more difficult by other additional expenses, such as costs of management, rent or support departments. Due to the lack of tools, such spendings remained a mystery, and they were actively affecting the entire company's profitability - and it couldn’t even tell to what degree. I want to know what our costs are now, which things generate them, and how the forecasts will look in a year."
Last but not least, the company needed an overview of its current income and expenses, as well as its forecasts. This resulted in numerous difficulties in decision making processes and effectively tied managers’ hands, stripping them of their ability to influence the overall shape of the company.
"The bigger the company, the more additional costs it has. More people, more non-billable employees, more additional overheads - and all of these things have to be categorized, calculated and managed from a bird’s eye view. "
First of all, the combination of a few incompatible tools made it extremely difficult for the managers to get a full overview of operations and key statistics. As a result, they were forced to perform burdensome calculations to access the data - and they were very time-consuming and prone to human error.
Additionally, the information wasn’t exchanged or automatically imported from one tool to another. In consequence, obsolete data was sometimes used in the calculations and reports, providing the managers with incorrect information.
To make things worse, the previous tools in goodylabs were also incapable of reflecting the hierarchy in the company. Establishing access levels was one of the most pressing issues here; as it was missing from the pre-existing set of programs, the administration could not assign a partial access to the data, limiting the abilities of some lower-ranking managers.
"Managers should be responsible for the performance of their departments, and the tool should only summarize the data and help us assign the responsibilities - and that’s what we were missing."
As the company gained a large number of new employees, that posed even more of a challenge, as the situation prevented the executives from delegating responsibilities to others. In a longer perspective, this issue would prevent goodylabs from scaling further. Therefore, it was time to find a solution to that problem.
"It’s so good to have a tool that solves multiple problems at once - in the end, the multitude of tools doesn’t really help manage a company."
While goodylabs had multiple problems that required an urgent solution, some of the challenges went away when Primetric was implemented in the company with various features addressing the most pressing issues.
But what really changed in the company?
Primetric introduced several financial tools to goodylabs.
"Primetric allows us to standardize the calculations for all the key indicators so that everyone in our company is on the same page and uses the same formulas."
First of all, the system successfully unified what once were two separate companies. Consequently, all the managers now used the same formulas for their calculations, making the information comparable once again. They were also automatically updated whenever something changed.
New features are particularly popular among the managers responsible for the profitability of the projects. With the system, they can monitor the progress of their operations in real time and see their real costs - with all the overheads included. They can also check the project budget usage and the work costs. In short - they can stay on top of the finances and react to any issues that could damage the profitability without making a single mistake.
Thanks to Primetric, we have all the costs in one place, we see our overheads in the projects and in the company. We know how many new devices we can buy, how many new products we can start working with. Without such an approach, it wouldn’t be possible. [...] Primetric was a choice that helped us create such an overview we can use right now to draw conclusions.
Executives also benefited from the new features. With the new financial reports, they can see both the overview and the details of all the incomes and expenses in the company. Consequently, they can monitor the profitability of people and projects alike and adjust their finances when necessary, generating more profits.
"Up to this point, we weren’t calculating the costs in detail. After doing so in Primetric, we discovered that 20% of the projects were on the verge of being profitable. This information led us to renegotiate the prices for our cooperation with some of our customers and reshape our teams to be more profitable.
I’m particularly delighted by the change in managers’ and tech leads’ approach. Now, they are much more aware of the profitability of their project thanks to access to the data. If they see something wrong, they can react and look for a solution immediately. This is an enormous change.
So far, we have yet to tell how much money we have saved thanks to Primetric, because we have just been using it for a few months, but I am convinced that the yearly financial report will show us that it was indeed profitable."
As far as the planning features were concerned, they introduced several significant changes in the company.
From the employees’ perspective, the only thing that changed was the time-tracking tools. However, from the managers’ perspective, things changed even more.
As Primetric can combine tracked time with costs of work and compare the information to the plans, they were now able to:
Consequently, the managers could control the project and ensure their profitability every step of the way. They were also able to make precise allocations and avoid schedule conflicts, which was a benefit greatly appreciated by the specialists, too.
The executives also could not be happier about the changes.
"Right now, we can see that we have some people on the bench and we can react to that, and assign them to some projects."
With the new tool, they gained the long-awaited overview of people’s work, as well as key indicators, such as utilization, availability and profitability.
As a result, they can now see a bigger picture of their company, see the unused potential of the operations and use it to the maximum - for example, by choosing the right people for the job or eliminating the problem of growing a bench.
First and foremost, Primetric has automated the information flow in the company. Every change is now registered in every single report or calculation it is included in, improving the accuracy of all the processes.
"Changing a salary in one place results in an automatic update of the information in all the projects. Before, PMs used to calculate the profitability of their projects, and they didn’t necessarily have the information about the change in the salary - and all their efforts went down the drain."
Then, as Primetric has combined the abilities of numerous other tools, it drastically reduced the length of all the calculations. In fact, they were performed automatically based on the most recent data updated all across the system. As a result, everyone with the right access levels could see the summary of operations of choice in just a few seconds.
"Primetric forced us to get better control of our costs. It allows us to think forward and determine what the costs really are, and whether they are justified enough."
Speaking of which, the access levels have changed, too. With three basic sets of settings (employee, manager and administrator) and a wide range of customizable features, every manager could browse exactly the information they needed - no more and no less. As a result, goodylabs could start delegating responsibilities and is on the right track to further growth.
"In Excel spreadsheets only a limited number of people could access the files; right now, everything is available in a single place. "
"This tool has organized many processes and gathered many loose threads. Because of that, it simplified planning, monitoring and evaluation of all the things that have been done and will be done in our business."
During its cooperation with Primetric, goodylabs:
"When I use Primetric I do not have to worry that if I send a ticket to support, I will get a response in a few days time. Here I have a tool that is responsive and it’s still dynamically growing."
Since the implementation of Primetric, goodylabs have successfully joined its teams together and created a stable and scalable structure capable of serving the company right for many years to come.
More importantly, the company also gained advanced, future-proof processes that help it achieve its key objectives, including:
Still, this is just the beginning of goodylabs’s journey with Primetric. We strongly believe that we will spend many years working together!
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