Plans are the central nervous system to our and your company. The single common factor across all clients is a plan. A clear set of plans creates transparency because they hold all the data for:
- Project health
- Plient health
- Company health
- Resource needs
For some reason however, those plans rarely are easy to make and consolidate within one tool set. Castle needed to make sure:
- People made plans they could actively manage
- The plans are simple to maintain.
- Plans provided accurate data around budgets, time, resources, activities and milestones.
- Plans can easily translate to invoices
- Rate cards at the project level
- Flexible pricing models for T&M, Fixed Fee and Retainers
One key thing we did to simplify the overall situation was take Task Management out of the equation. We believe there are great tools out there for Task management: Jira and Pivotal to name two, so instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, we integrated. In Glass Factory you create and keep accurate high level plans that take a few minutes to set up, and then manage your tasks using a tool set you already have. Our integrations take updates from the 3rd party tools including time so we have accurate status but our team members do not have to complete data entry in multiple systems.
Glass Factory uses Plan Styles to support any methodology - because we all know there is no "one right way". Our plans have a familiar look of spreadsheets and we integrate our resourcing at the plan level to immediately avoid conflicts - this nearly eliminated our weekly resource meeting because all the right people had real time visibility into staffing. Our Plan styles are living records of activity that are dynamically populated with real actuals data so you always know at a glance your project or client health. We enabled project level rate cards and client and program level pricing options so we can always be flexible with our contract needs and ensure accurate reporting.
Because no plan is ever right the first time - we made sure that we could track against a baseline and different pricing models as well. This way we are always learning from history and preparing for the future.
Our plans are completely integrated with our resourcing and rates so we can generate accurate invoices without needing to compile a lot of data or use a separate finance time for invoice generation. Our billings can integrate with QB and soon Xero so all our data is in synch with our back office accounting. Our ability to manage invoices like this gives our business owners flexibility as well to make discount and adjustment decisions that will tie back to reporting. A planning and billing ecosystem working in harmony.
Perfect, we now have plans people will use that don't take days to create and 10 hours a week to modify and manage, and not to brag, but they look slick - like share with a client as is slick.