Method1 case study

How creative services agency Method1 enjoys greater visibility and control over projects with Hive

Method1 is a full-service marketing agency that specializes in using system 1 behavior psychology to create digital-first marketing systems for indulgence brands looking to thrive on the digital shelf. It serves as the agency of record for its marketing clients, which involves not only developing marketing materials, but also developing  the research plans and strategies that inform their clients’ decisions throughout their projects’ life cycles. Method1 provides a wide variety of services to its clients, including social media, planning, branding, design, analytics, influencer marketing and more. 

Formerly known as XenoPsi, Method1 began using Hive in 2020 when its current project management platform wasn’t fitting their needs. When we spoke to Brock Whitfield, Head of Project Management at Method1, he explained that the wider company had been using Basecamp as its incumbent project management tool for about five years. But as the company grew, the team realized that Basecamp could not provide the functionality, efficiency, and visibility that their creative teams needed. That’s when Method1 found Hive. 

Using Hive to solve creative project management needs

As a full-service creative agency, Method1 relies on project management software to help it deliver complex projects on time and within budget, especially as many of its clients plan their projects up to 18 months in advance. 

Here are the main issues Method1 could not address with Basecamp, and therefore turned to Hive to solve.

Problem #1: Resourcing and communicating across teams

At Method1, team resources are shared across multiple brands, making resourcing a major factor in project delivery. As the team grew in size and complexity, Basecamp’s inability to forecast team resources or create custom resourcing reports became a real problem – which caused Method1 to look for new solutions.

The Solution: Hive Resourcing

Hive’s Resourcing functionality has been instrumental for Method1. The agency typically builds project plans out for six to eight months, but for some clients, planning projects up to 18 months in advance is essential, due to long lead times with production and distribution. Because of these long timelines, it’s crucial for the team to have really early preliminary conversations around resourcing and to be able to forecast at a glance. 

Method1 Resourcing

Hive allows each team member to create detailed plans ahead of time and assign tasks to people across various departments, at various stages of the project. This helps Method1 understand where how the team is devoting time, resources and funds to quickly see who has the  to take on more work at any given time. 

Using Hive has given us the visibility we need to make resourcing decisions much earlier. It also gives us a central place where we can have a conversation with all of the timing in front of us together. – Brock Whitfield

Problem #2: Multiple tools needed to schedule projects

In the past, the project management team used Smartsheet to build out their project schedules, but then had to copy and paste the timelines into Basecamp, and prepare reports on Google sheets. This became time-consuming and frustrating, especially as each project manager had to manually edit the timeline, update report documents and communicate with the team anytime changes were made to the project or the project plan.

The current process was simply no longer tenable for a company of its size, as there was no central location where all the planning was happening. Method1 needed something that would actually help its team with reporting, scheduling and resourcing, without the repeated manual processes. 

The solution: A centralized place for project planning and execution

In Hive, Method1 organizes its work based on brands. Each brand is structured as a Parent project, with multiple child projects underneath that are roadmapped on its timeline. Each project manager is dedicated to a brand, with the task of managing multiple projects at any given time. 

Now, all members of the team can enjoy an up-to-date single source of truth of project statuses and can see at a glance what stage a project is at via Hive’s Gantt view layout.

Once we know exactly what it is that we are commissioning our team to build, we go into Hive and we build a very specific, down-to-the-day timeline for each step of that development. Essentially, we have a sub-action for any time work changes hands, so we use Hive dependencies to link all the actions together. – Abdul Wasiq

Method1 Gantt chart

In the planning process, teams forecast when a project needs to be done and then the timeline is built around weekly client status meetings (external) and internal “status prep” meetings to prepare. Status prep meetings are one day before the external client meetings, and due dates for deliverables are set to be one day before their prep meetings. This assures that the deliverables are finished and reviewed internally before important client meetings.

If feedback arises from any of these meetings, the project manager simply plugs the feedback into the parent action card. Timelines include a follow-up action for the next day so that the team remembers to address any feedback that came from the meeting.  All project files – the project deliverables – are also saved in Hive. 

Our process is heavy on the project management side, but when things are really crazy, Hive makes sure nothing falls through the cracks. Because each individual step is plotted out, anybody on the team can look ahead and know that we’re presenting this to the client on this day, or we’re having an internal review on this day, for example. – Abdul Wasiq, Project Manager

Method1 also loves the ability to connect an email to an action card. This is helpful when keeping track of new developments and making sure all information stays in one place as the project progresses. 

Method1 Email attachment

For example, if a client provides a useful reference in an email thread, we can assign that email thread to a specific deliverable within Hive, so it appears on the relevant action card for future reference. – Abdul Wasiq, Project Manager

Problem #3: Reporting and visibility for senior leadership

Brock also wanted a tool that would enable teams to create output reports to show high-level project overviews to the leadership team. In the past, the project managers had to manually search through their suite of project management tools on a daily basis to get the most accurate updates. And without an automated reporting solution and a way to see status updates in real-time, project teams had to manually rebuild reports each time a new project was started. 

The solution: Creating reports using Hive’s label and summary views

Method1’s reporting process is much more efficient in Hive, giving teams  the ability to create custom reports and share them with leadership in just a few clicks. Method1 uses Hive’s Label View and Summary Views to quickly generate reports and keep senior leadership updated on how things are progressing. This high-level reporting keeps senior leadership involved, without making them dig through the weeds themselves. 

Method1 Summary View

That’s extended the benefit of Hive – the reporting has been tremendously easy. We can just pull out a Summary view and have everything in front of us. – Brock Whitfield

With this diligent reporting, Method1 has clarity over what steps have been taken at every stage of project development. Leadership enjoys a macro-level view of key actions taken, while project managers can create reports at a really micro level for those who need more detail.

Moving Forward With Hive

Hive has enabled Method1 to move away from time-consuming and frustrating project management to an altogether slicker, more centralized system. As the Method1 team discovers the many useful features within Hive, it enables them to work in even more innovative ways to deliver projects on time and on budget for their clients.

With Hive, Method1 can now maintain end-to-end control and visibility over its project timelines and actions, right down to a granular level. All members across teams can enjoy an up-to-date single source of truth of project statuses and can see at a glance what stage a project is at via Hive’s Gantt view. 

And like Brock himself, Method1 project managers can now resource and schedule in real-time without needing to duplicate work. From planning and resourcing through to project management and reporting, Hive is helping Method1 focus on what it does best – delivering incredible creative marketing assets and services for its clients.

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