Company name: Strongway Webstudio
Speaker: Leonardo Baptista Lopes, Founder
Years using Paymo: 9
Sisyphus: The Freelancer
At the beginning, every freelancer is much like Sisyphus: they have to worry about attracting clients, understand the project in detail, control tasks, and make sure they get paid. Only to start this process over with the next client.
So was the story of Leonardo, who became a web designer ever since he got out of college in 2007. Back then, he was an art director for a game development studio and a front-end developer for another two web design ones. All while having his own projects, so you could say he was a pure-breed entrepreneur. Up until 2010, when he decided to go out on his own and open a freelancing office with a friend – who soon bailed him. With a high workload and rent putting pressure on him, Leonardo knew that he had to step up his game.
I founded Strongway in 2012 with a new colleague. What drove us was our collective desire to do things in an orderly and solid fashion. We would call it the “strong way”, which also gave name to the company.
The struggles of a one-man business have been enough for Leonardo, who finally had the courage and resources to hire professionals to help him with the extra workload. A step that enabled him to expand and become profitable in the end.
Unlike other users, he was already familiar with Paymo from his time at the game and web design studios.
I was part of a team that used Basecamp and another that used Zoho. I was looking for a free solution that included time tracking, something that was paid on both. Paymo was very similar to Basecamp at the time (which made it very easy for me to migrate) and also had the free time tracking feature that allowed me to understand how much time I spent on each kind of task. So I could better estimate new projects and, with it, their costs.
But with a new team in place, he knew he needed to use Paymo more intelligently, other than just assigning people, task descriptions, and estimates to completion.
Paymo was, in the beginning, my task and time management tool. As features like team scheduling were released, I started adopting them to manage the company’s available time. The last big feature to be adopted was the custom task workflows, which help us to better understand the task lifecycles.
Leonardo Baptista Lopes, Founder StrongWay
Evolving together with the product, Leonardo didn’t need too much training as he adopted most of the new features on the go. For creative teams that are just about to hop on Paymo, he has a few words of advice:
First, understand how you work, what steps do you take. Second, study a bit of project management concepts like SCRUM (Agile in general), Waterfall, and Kanban, which fits exactly within the task board view. Third, see how Paymo allows you to adopt those concepts and be happy.
Sisyphus on wheels
With a lot of iterations and the distilled experience of over 10 years of freelancing, Strongway has become a self-autonomous design studio that can deal with a high volume of tasks even if they’re a small team of just three.
Task statuses and assigned comments are cornerstone features for the entire team, allowing them to understand where are they standing in a project at any point in time. And feel comfortable above all to tackle multiple work streams at the same time:
Before using task workflows, keeping track of their actual status was so hard because of the fleeting nature of communication, which forced us to have fewer tasks running at the same time. By tracking task statuses with Paymo, it became so crucial we felt safe enough to tackle more concurrent tasks, doing much more at the same time.
Kanban workflow in Paymo
The team has even gone so far as to consider Paymo the primary source of truth. If someone has a doubt about a task requirement, or client feedback, or task status, they will probably check Paymo first, before asking anybody else for information.
As for Leonardo, he primarily relies on Timesheets to see whether or not a task has taken too long to complete on purpose or because of a human error (a developer that has left the timer running right before lunch, for example).
Time Reports also help him measure his team’s performance and better estimate time for similar tasks, hence charge accordingly for future projects.
When we asked how has Paymo helped them deliver projects faster, we actually got an unexpected answer, in line with Leonardo’s most cherished value – stability, a value we deeply strive to bring to all the teams using Paymo:
I don’t particularly value speed, but rather reliability. I would say we even got things a little slower by using Paymo to track the workflow in a more precise and conscious way. Slower but more reliable and documented.