Small Developer Team Delivers Big Results Using Teamwork Projects

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Lotus Apps is a small software development team delivering big results for clients. From their headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee (USA), the team focuses on providing a professional and personal experience for customers throughout North America who are seeking to launch a new business idea or software solution.

Matt Millsaps-Brewer, owner and software engineer at Lotus Apps, chose Teamwork Projects back in 2015. Today, he depends on it for its flexibility to manage projects of any size and easily interact with clients every step of the way.

“Teamwork Projects allows us to engage customers, iterate quickly, and stay focused.”

The Challenges

Soon after Lotus Apps was founded in 2015, Matt knew his company needed a strong project management solution that fit their budget and could expand as needed. The Lotus Apps team didn’t require software to coordinate dozens of users, but it needed to adjust to their clients’ projects, which might be fairly straightforward or entail layers of complexity.

“To be honest, our greatest challenge was selecting a software product that was affordable, offered basic features, yet was complex and customizable enough to support our development. Competitors such as Trello are just too simple, JIRA is too costly, and customers don’t enjoy or understand how to engage using Pivotal Tracker.”  

Matt and his team had worked with most of these systems in their dev work before starting Lotus Apps and found significant limitations with each, especially when it came to client transparency. It was very important to Lotus Apps to have a single tool that allowed them to manage their own work and loop customers into the process as needed.

A better-coordinated workflow was a major priority, and so was the ability to use some of their favorite apps with the project management software. Lotus had already set up well-oiled systems for time tracking, invoicing, and other key elements of their business, and they didn’t want to have to spend valuable time learning the nuances of different software platforms or transferring data from one app to another.

The Solution

Lotus Apps seemed to be stuck with inadequate solutions for internal and client-facing workflows — and then they discovered Teamwork Projects. Right away, they saw that the software was customizable: powerful enough to chart out layers of tasks and subtasks for their larger projects, and also flexible enough to use for projects with fewer demands.

Even though Teamwork Projects offered time-tracking features, they decided to stick with Harvest, one of their favorite apps for time-tracking and invoicing. Integrations, like the one developed for Harvest and other popular apps like Google Drive, function seamlessly with Teamwork Projects, giving them the best of both worlds.  

“Teamwork Projects does many things well, and it does everything we need. The ongoing commitment to integrations continues to offer us more options for speciality tools.”

Lotus Apps team members are big fans of the Boards feature, launched in 2017. Boards allows them to organize their user stories (tasks) into epics (task lists) that they group together in milestones to build their project timeline.  Boards gives them a way to work through user stories and get an immediate visual grasp of an entire project without getting overloaded with a mountain of details. The team uses simple columns to track “Pending,” “In Progress,” “Approved,” and “Deployed” tasks to stay agile, involve their product owners, and have visibility into the development process.

Because Teamwork Projects has a user-friendly UI, they’ve been able onboard their clients right away with very little coaching needed. Clients can choose to interact on Teamwork Projects as much as they are comfortable. Some clients don’t look at the main dashboard and choose to interface only via email messages instead, which means they can get updates on tasks directly into their inbox. Other customers are very comfortable logging into Teamwork Projects to use the task lists and reporting tools to get a quick, accurate overview of their project.

“Having a project management tool that lets us update our projects quickly and communicate with our customers has made a significant difference in our projects. Now everyone is working together smoothly.”

The Benefits

Lotus Apps has used Teamwork Projects for all of their work, both internal and client-facing projects, since the beginning of their organization. Having one software solution to manage their work has given them a level of efficiency that they were unable to achieve with other tools.

“The time savings has been a key factor for us. Teamwork Projects lets us get the repetitive work and the time sinkholes out of the way so we can focus on our clients and the activities that help our company grow.”

Client communication through Teamwork Projects is much easier, saving Matt hours of time that would typically be spent on non-billable activities like giving project updates or clarifying task assignments. Using the comments attached to each task, team members can reply to client questions quickly and updates that would usually require long explanations or emails can now be accessed with a simple report in just a few clicks. Teamwork Projects also generates daily project report emails that are delivered directly to each team member’s inbox.

Having a single platform for tasks, documents, and messages has given Lotus Apps the ability to pull in all of the project’s shareholders, like developers, freelance designers and clients. Everyone is plugged into the same system for communication and tracking, whether that’s through desktop or mobile apps.

“We’re constantly impressing contractors and clients with the level of organization, detail, transparency, and effectiveness that Lotus can provide a group of separate entities and individuals together to craft solutions for the client. One of the major reasons I love Teamwork Projects is that I can get everyone involved.”

Overall, Teamwork Projects gives Lotus Apps the ability to get more work done in a unified, professional way and deliver more value than most two-person teams can. That means cost savings, more referrals, and satisfied clients.

“Using Teamwork Projects has allowed us to stay organized, focus on our goal of delivering great software and stay engaged with our customers in a way previously not possible.”

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