Kesem is the largest national organization supporting children around the United States affected by their parent’s cancer diagnosis and treatment. The program is run at no cost to the families, and their flagship program, Camp Kesem, provides free summer camp to children of these families. The organization was founded at Stanford University in 2000, and now operates in over 120 chapters throughout the country.
The Kesem team is entirely remote, based in different places throughout the United States including Illinois, Florida and Texas. In 2017, Kesem updated its framework, processes, and tools for decision making and project management using Google Sheets. From 2017 until 2019, most of Kesem’s projects and associated action items were tracked through Google Sheets project plans using this model. There were an increasing number of project plans, all living as independent documents, that were difficult to manage.
It was also difficult for managers to see the interconnection of these projects and monitor the workload assigned to their direct reports. When they started looking for a tool to help connect their remote team, they were looking for four main things: increased visibility to workstreams and projects, strengthening of cross-departmental communication, increased efficiency of project creation and management, and centralization for all project progress and data tracking. The Kesem team also wanted something that was compatible with Google Mail and had native messaging.
Our staff communicates more effectively now that we use Hive, and we have so many fewer emails! The ability to use mentions and follow ups in cards has accelerated efficiency. – Kelsey Bialek, Manager of Data and Systems
Hive was the all-in-one solution that Kesem needed. The simple projects layout and native messaging component were two aspects of Hive that made a huge difference immediately in the way they worked. In terms of the four key things Camp Kesem was looking for, Hive delivered in all areas. First, projects and action cards enabled improved visibility across projects. Their team was able to easily collaborate tasks using the “@ mention” functionality to alert a team member when their help is required. Second, Kesem used Hive messaging to help strengthen their cross-departmental communication. Their team previously used Google Chat, but Hive messaging was a great way to speak one-on-one and to larger groups or teams.
Third, they wanted to increase efficiency of project creation and management, which they’ve done with forms and templates. Their team has started using forms to manage their “Needs Queue,” which are the items and areas that need addressing — before Hive, they did this all via email, Google Sheets and Google Forms. Hive Templates have also been useful as they’ve on-boarded certain teammates and restructured projects, and they’ve used Hive Notes to track meeting agendas and follow-ups.
Finally, Hive has given the Kesem team one central hub on which to track progress and data. Using all of these features, the team is able to archive and track past action items, notes, templates, tasks and project on one platform, which has totally revolutionized the way their remote team works.