The primary challenge itCraft faced was the lack of a bigger picture view of what was happening in the company and the inability to track, measure, and analyze data.
Head of Delivery
Founded over a decade ago, itCraft counts more than 110 people who specialise in web and mobile development. The company operates six branches all around the world, including New York City, London, Stockholm, and Warsaw.
itCraft completed over 250 projects in healthcare, telecommunications, transport & logistics, enterprise solutions, and m-commerce for companies such as Makro Cash&Carry, Sodexo, Rossmann, Top Secret, Deloitte, Roche, and DHL. The company focus on the outstanding quality of implemented processes, services, and all aspects related to safety, confirmed by the ISO 9001 / ISO 27001 certificates and multiple awards awards from Clutch, Tech Reviewer, and The Manifest.
The primary challenge itCraft faced was the lack of a bigger picture view of what was happening in the company and the inability to track, measure, and analyze data. The company can now measure indicators that were previously difficult to track or forecast, which translated into a better estimation of working time and the availability of specialists.
Project managers can now control the complexity associated with a large number of ongoing projects. They no longer had to answer distracting questions about who is assigned to which project and for how long - they can simply say “Check it in Primetric.” Keep on reading to see how itCraft achieved all that.
itCraft’s Head of Delivery, Agnieszka, was responsible for the entire process of project delivery and implementation, including the management of people, project portfolios, project managers.
Her daily challenge was managing the project portfolio efficiently, ensuring a high utilization rate, taking care of appropriate allocation, analyzing project implementation statuses, and making strategic decisions.
As the very first project manager in the company, Agnieszka’s job was also creating standards and processes for collaboration between project managers.
itCraft primarily allocated people on a long-term basis. Usually, a single employee works on one or two billable projects at the same time. Each project is divided according to the delivered work package - for example, design, frontend development, backend development, testing, etc.
Since these activities are cross-sectional and often cover various issues, the estimates are made at the level of project phases, not specific tasks.
“We work in Agile methodology, so we manage tasks in Jira, but we do not estimate or settle the time spent on a single task. Instead, we focus on monitoring time at the level of milestones in the project in line with our arrangements with clients."
When itCraft counted no more than 50 people, using a combination of Excel spreadsheets and Harvest for allocation and time logging was enough. But this changed when the company started growing. The Head of Delivery jumped on the problem and implemented Harvest Forecast to help with people allocation.
But it quickly turned out that the new combination didn’t allow itCraft to:
Every Monday morning, all project managers would sit down and walk through people’s schedules one by one to learn what they were up to that week. It would sometimes take several hours to find out what was going on, who might be available for new projects or phases, who is overloaded with work, and what the financial forecasts are. This caused a lot of confusion. Moreover, project managers weren’t sure that the data was up-to-date and could be relied upon.
Measuring employee utilization rate, monitoring it, or comparing plans to reality was just impossible. On top of that, Forecast couldn’t handle different currencies or settlement models - in such scenarios, the team had to come up with a custom solution.
“Our previous tool loaded and refreshed data slowly and didn’t provide us with sorting and filtering allocation data from various perspectives. For example, it didn’t have any custom fields to define people. Also, there were no data sheets or advanced reports where we could upload data and compare our plans vs. what really happened in a given project.”
The implementation of Primetric was divided into several stages:
Stage I - Identifying the scope of implementation and method of data import. The Primetric team organized a workshop to define the main objectives of the implementation, the project planning process, and the scope of responsibility.
Stage II - Transfer of employee and project data, testing Primetric with several people, and integration with Harvest Forecast. After signing the NDAs, the Primetric team imported data based on the data exported from the current systems. This allied testing Primetric on real use cases.
Stage III - After implementing the data, the Primetric team showed how to use the system. At this stage, Project Managers were invited to test the tool and collect feedback. Primetric also carried out additional workshops so that everyone knew how to use the system correctly.
Stage IV - The last step was to invite production employees to log the working time.
“Primetric’s Customer Support team provided valuable assistance at all times. They helped with configuration, data transfer, and integration with Harvest Forecast during the first stage of implementation - and then went above and beyond to make sure that the solution covers our use cases by 100%."
More about the Rapid Implementation Methodology you can read here.
itCraft uses Primetric for both billable and non-billable projects. The company runs quite a lot of non-billable projects and Primetric supports that with dedicated features.
Here are a few examples of non-billable projects at itCraft:
Thanks to tracking non-billable projects, itCraft can optimize the planned utilization and optimize customer rates to maintain the right level of profitability. Take a look at this article to learn more: What is the utilization rate formula for software companies?
“All our knowledge about project implementation and customer relations that can be translated into work planning is located inside Primetric. What's more, these plans are directly correlated with finances, so we can easily relate our revenue forecasts to our targets."
What’s notable, itCraft uses Primetric to log working time - not only among software developers but also designers, business analysts, and managers. Analysts, designers, or project managers don’t have any tasks organized in Jira, so they don’t need to track time spent on each and every task. Still, thanks to logging time in Primetric, the company can calculate its utilization rate.
Primetric made it easier for itCraft to measure various indicators that were previously difficult to track or forecast. The reports streamline the analysis of employee utilization and allocation, allowing the Head of Delivery to combine this information with financial insights.
“Before implementing Primetric, I had to manage these and many other tasks. Primetric helped me delegate responsibility to the right people and develop a process for it.”
An itCraft employee can now check their daily schedule and even see what’s planned for the following weeks and months. Before that, employees often had to ask about their future engagements. Now they can get all this information in one place, as well as upload their resume. That way, everyone listed in the system is more than just a name but a person with a specific skill set reflected in their profiles.
"Primetric has become the base system for team and project portfolio management from both the financial and workload perspective. It’s now the main system used by our project managers and the only source of information for me as Head of Delivery. I can zoom in to a single employee and out to a project and the perspective of the entire portfolio easily.”
In the near future, itCraft plans to use Primetric to streamline the process of settling accounts with clients, capture project and financial risks, and take advantage of more reports and data analytics features to expand its forecasting capabilities.
Thanks to close coperation and ongoing feedback, the Primetric team implemented custom dashboards and project RAG status, so itCraft can improve operational efficiency even more.
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