6 Productivity Tools That Helped Grow Our Business
I’m assuming you’ve read my last post about how we growth hacked our business to $300K in revenues in 9 months, and would love to know the tools that we’ve used to build a successful business. But if you’ve not read the article yet, I strongly advice you do so before you read further (to set the context).
In the last 3.5 years of running Arkenea, we’ve tried various tools to create a better experience for our customers as well as make our proposition attractive enough to increase our leads. There are some that didn’t work and many that helped our customers stick around for longer enough to recommend us to their network.
Here are some of the tools that we used and continue to use in our business. You can pick these straight away, or one of their competitors, whatever suits your business or style.
#1 Basecamp (for project management).In a services business, one of the biggest challenges is managing the actual project where a number of team members have to collaborate with each other and the client to deliver the final product.
The moment we sign on a client, we create the project on Basecamp and invite the entire team that will work on the project as well as the client or their team. Basecamp helps us to manage the project effectively by maintaining a thread of all conversations and documentation. The client does not have to worry about whether their message was communicated right down to the developer as every single person part of the project gets the communication notification.
This tool has helped us in keeping our clients engaged throughout the development lifecycle.
#2 Jira (for QA). This tool is used more internally than externally with our clients. We need to make sure we deliver robust builds to our customers. The only way for that to happen is when our QA team is efficient. Jira brings that efficiency to our processes and makes sure each bug or issue is tracked and the relevant stake holders within the company are informed of those.
Jira also helps us to effectively collaborate between the teams of QA and Developers.
#3 GitHub (for code share, versioning, QA). We use GitHub for multiple reasons. Among those, the biggest implementation for us internally has been for code version control. GitHub helps us maintain changes and revisions to the backend, web or mobile app codes as part of the development lifecycle for our clients.
Should there be a need to make a course correction, our developers can quickly pull out an earlier version of the code and work from there on. We also use GitHub to share codes with our clients and to some extent, our clients also use it to log issues while testing the build at their end.
#4 JustInMind (for wireframing). A large part (also important) of our service is defining usability or user experience for the mobile app or website that we’ve undertaken as a project. Our team uses JustInMind to create completely interactive user flows and user experience wireframes that help our designers and developers to understand the product better before they start designing or coding.
This also helps our customers get a better idea of the complete flow of the app along with the structure (wireframe) or the form and function which they can see in an actual app format. This helps us as well as our clients’ in bringing clarity to the user flow and is derived from the technical specifications document that our business analyst draws up.
#5 BeeBole (for timesheet management). A certain set of our clients require dedicated resources based on time and material model. For them, maintaining time sheets is of key value and BeeBole is a great tool at that. This helps bill hours as well as track project budgets.
#6 Skype (for communication). Effective and timely communication is the foundation for a consulting business. We do realize that and therefore use Skype regularly in all our communications with our clients.
Our project managers are available on Skype to our customers at all times for interaction and updates. We can quickly jump onto a conversation to understand and discuss any issues or feedback or sometimes the roadmap or even aid our clients in brainstorming on features and enhancements.
These tools not only keep our clients engaged and happy, but also make our own teams efficient and more productive. We are also learning and discovering newer products that help further our promise to our clients. If you would like to share any such products with us, feel free to email us.