M/I Homes is a Columbus-based company that has been building homes for more than 40 years in the Midwest, Southeast, and Texas. M/I Homes is currently the 14th largest home builder in the country — they’ve fulfilled the dreams of over 120,000 homeowners and have grown to become one of the nation’s leading homebuilders. Currently, their marketing team uses Hive to run, scale, and strategize all campaigns and develop marketing collateral across all divisions.
Before Hive, M/I Homes was primarily relying on Sharepoint and their accompanying intranet to store and update files. This method of storing and sending out information was limiting and lacked cohesive structure, especially because they needed to log large volumes of marketing material requests. When they used Sharepoint to do this, it left them with a lack of clarity, lack of details, and overall confusion.
It was difficult for the marketing team, which oversees corporate communication across 15 markets, to operate with this system. They needed a clean and clear project management tool that could store all information, receive marketing material requests from their divisions, and enable seamless communication.
When M/I Homes started their search for a project management tool, they brought together a cross functional committee to test tools in the space, who helped pull together a list of requirements. First, they wanted a tool with dynamic fields and forms that would allow them to source information from their divisions. Another necessity for M/I Homes was action cards with a commenting functionality that was timestamped, because this would help the overall flow of communication.
They were also looking for a tool with a clean, intuitive interface that was web-based and had a mobile app, as members of their team are constantly on the move. Finally, M/I Homes wanted a tool that was customizable and had multiple project views — everyone in their organization works their own way, and they wanted teams to be able to customize their project management experience.
When M/I Homes found Hive, they knew that the clean, intuitive interface was going to accelerate and amplify their communication and collaboration. On top of that, their onboarding and implementation process was more seamless than they ever could’ve imagined.
As they got started in Hive, their cross functional committee worked on creating the robust Hive form to include all requests that would be needed. Their team built out a workflow document that would be used by both the corporate team and division teams, which allowed everyone to be on the same page and have a universal understanding of how jobs would move through the system.
They then allowed the corporate team to play around in Hive to give feedback and thoughts for how they would receive and interact with the jobs. After receiving feedback, they then held two Lunch & Learns with their divisions, which allowed them time to test the form and Hive platform. They knew that transitioning to a new system would put people outside of their comfort zones, but by fully highlighting all the benefits (with the help of the Hive team), giving teams a preview, and letting them play around in a “test” environment, their team quickly bought-in.
After teams had played around in Hive, they then had one week where they transitioned out of their old project management tool and into Hive. The leadership team led the process by using the phrase “condense the chaos” — they wanted to move as quickly as possible to avoid jobs being missed while everyone was managing two systems. Ultimately, the transition went more smoothly than anyone at M/I Homes could have imagined thanks to Hive’s streamlined processes and support from the Hive team.
Once they fully onboarded their team into Hive, it was critical that they built out their workspace quickly. Within Hive, the marketing and communications team breaks their workspace into parents projects that correspond to the 15 divisions. This way, each division has their own world they can work in, while the corporate team can view the parent projects across all divisions. Being able to have separate parent projects for each division is crucial, as the way each one operates is different.
One of the main ways M/I Homes uses Hive is to track and manage marketing requests submitted to corporate by their divisional teams. Hive Forms is a critical part of this flow, as it gives their team a fully customizable form with dynamic fields. These dynamic fields allow their corporate team to capture all information and marketing request details in one go. This limits back and forth between teams, which has saved each M/I team member hours of time each week, on both the division and corporate sides. Developing one central form to use across all departments also made the M/I team really think about their processes and helped them solve for many issues present in their workflow before Hive — Hive served as the catalyst for cleaning up processes that previously slowed the team down.
Summary Views, powerful macro-level views in Hive, also fuel their daily creative reviews, which is another crucial part of their workflow. These reviews occur every morning, and help the marketing team filter through the tasks assigned to their creative and design team. With a custom Summary View, the marketing team sorts all tasks by label, highlighting only the tasks with the label “Creative” on them. They also filter by assignee so they can better understand each designer’s workload and reassign tasks if necessary.
When they’re not in Summary Views, M/I can most often be found leveraging table and Kanban view on their internal marketing team, or using calendar view when they’re working with their divisional teams.
Finally, because the M/I Homes marketing team is so active across all of their divisions, they love the tagging and notifications feature in Hive, which gives them a running list of all cards they’ve been tagged in. The “Follow” feature on individual action cards is also often used by their VP of Marketing, Will Duderstadt, who adds himself as a follower on any tasks that he might need to chime in on.
The tagging functionality in Hive has really increased our efficiency as an organization. Being able to get those alerts in our Notifications section is critical to ensure we get the information we need in order to hit our deadlines. – Stephanie Mutzman
Overall, Hive has been an irreplaceable part of M/I Homes workflow and has helped them become more connected, communicative and productive. Hive is an invaluable resource for their corporate team and ensures they can effectively support all divisions and M/I Homes as a whole.