This week I spoke with Craig Gilbert of Weather Source about small business growing pains and the importance of getting and staying organized.
For starters, can you give me a little background on Weather Source?
Weather Source specializes in providing historical weather information through our online store, the Weather Warehouse and through consulting. Weather Source was founded in 2004 by Mark Gibbas and myself. It took over a year of development to finally get to a point where we could generate revenue. Since then we’ve been growing at a slow but steady pace.
What’s business like today?
Roughly half of our business is generated through the Weather Warehouse and half through consulting work. Business in both areas is pretty vibrant, so as a small team it is sometimes challenging to keep up.
Can you name any particular project management challenges?
I can name two. The first is that our workload often exceeds our capacity, and when this happens we naturally look for ways to streamline our process. One way to gain time for critical tasks is to bailout on tasks that are less critical and time consuming. While there are penalties, project management is a very tempting target to put off when you’re looking to gain some time for an important project. The second is that since our web team is on the west coast, and the weather team is on the east coast, communicating project details is a challenge. Fortunately, LiquidPlanner helps us with both these challenges since: 1) it is very easy and quick to use, and 2) the web-based platform is perfect for distributed teams like ours.
So how are you making project management a priority?
To be successful, we need to work smarter and more efficiently, and solid project management is the key to making that happen. Since we started Weather Source, we’ve tried everything from index cards to spreadsheets to proprietary project management software. All of these approaches were frustrating and largely ineffective. Then about nine months ago, in a desperate search for something better, I discovered LiquidPlanner. It offered so much more, was more professional, and easier to use than anything else we tried. It does just about everything we need.
Have you seen any results from your project management efforts?
The short answer is yes. Using LiquidPlanner, we are much better at keeping track of projects (both internal and client projects), which has increased our efficiency and improved our delivery times. Another huge benefit is that our internal projects, which very often take a back seat to client projects, are finally getting done. LiquidPlanner has also become the perfect place to store ideas and notes, which is much better than post-it notes or index cards since our whole team can view them. We finally have a project management system that really works. Now our foundation is stronger and we’re better prepared to handle the challenges of growth.
This articles is the third in our series called, “Project Management in the Wild”. We’re reaching out to the LiquidPlanner customer community to hear, and share, their real-life project management stories.
Got a story that might help other teams think outside the box? Send it to info @ liquidplanner.com.