Company: Cromatic Studios
Speaker: Cristian Stoicescu, Business Development
Years using Paymo: 1+
Creativity, full sail!
Have you ever felt like breaking off your daily routine and starting fresh again?
Daniel Stoicescu wanted to express his ideas and design vision without barriers. So he took the leap and left the former company he founded with two college colleagues to launch Cromatic Studios, a design studio, in 2012. His brother, Cristian, recalls joining the company together with 4 other colleagues one year later, bringing marketing and business management skills to the table.
This melting pot of funky, yet genuine professionals gradually evolved into what it is today, a fully-fledged design and tech studio focused on solving creative puzzles.
Although fun, the ride was nothing but smooth as many would expect.
Roadblock ahead: growth
Cristian and his team would soon find out that growth comes with its own costs:
When we reached the point of 10 people, we couldn’t manage to deliver our work without a project management tool. This made us miss deadlines, underestimate the workload, and it was impossible to forecast the cash flow or the volume of work.
So the search for the *perfect* project management tool was on and the stakes were high: get everything under control – projects, budgets, deadlines, cashflow – or risk getting out of business.
Cristian remembers trialing a few tools, but none of them met their needs. Some were too complex and hard to customize, others were way too expensive. They ended up settling for Trello, then FunctionFox, which were far from what they aimed for:
Before Paymo, we used Trello and then Function Fox. The main problem was the adoption rate. This situation was generated because we didn’t manage to fully map our workflow inside these tools and their UX was awful.
Paymo would be just a few Google searches away in a “project management tool for marketing agencies” listicle, soon to be discovered by Cristian:
The experience of using Paymo is great. This is very helpful for the adoption rate. It made it very easy for us to set-up projects and track them and now everybody uses it daily. The support team is extremely helpful, never trying to sell us anything and very quick in responses. Actually, if I remember correctly, we first wanted a more expensive subscription, but after the discovery call we settled for a cheaper one.
Cristian Stoicescu, Business Development @Cromatic Studios
Getting out of the box
Hopping on board was actually a small feat, thanks in part to Cristian as well who gamified the whole process:
I started by configuring the workflows, clients, project types, and all the information about the company. Then we presented the tool to the team and started to use it as much as we could. The next step was to make a kind of contest for the top user that would track most of their budgeted time.
After two months, the whole team was using Paymo on a daily basis and getting the much-needed value from it. They mostly rely on the My Tasks area, without having to stress anymore about deadlines or missed tasks – a recurring problem in the past. And also the Project Overview to find everything project-related from brief to the exact time estimations.
As for himself, Cristian is a heavy-user of the Users Overview:
This way I can use the user information to balance the workload, extract KPIs (like % of tracked work), make estimates, and have a very nice overview of the business.
User Overview in Paymo
He combines these with Time Reports that give him a clear understanding of the projects yield and team performance, bringing the whole team on the same page.
Onward to new seas
Perhaps the largest risk when designing without limits is having no safety net. Despite this, Daniel and Cristian Stoicescu have managed to keep business goals in mind, heart, and their processes with a little bit of help from Paymo:
We didn’t accurately track time before Paymo. We now managed to do that because the team is more focused on every project since they rarely interrupted by missed tasks that need urgent attention. I can estimate a 25-30% increase in productivity and maybe, more importantly, a decrease in the overall stress level.