Agile methodologies to work in faster interactions

 

Interview en exclusivité

(pour l'édition spéciale 2018 Visionnaires du 21e siècle)

avec

Andrew Filev, CEO

WRIKE

 

by Ingrid Vaileanu 

Interview Francophone: What are the main challenges in businesses for the 21st century and how is Wrike a part of the solution?

 

Andrew Filev: There is no doubt that we are witnessing a radical reshaping of the business world and a fundamental shift in the way work gets done. The convergence of a number of trends has led to this moment. From the internet becoming ubiquitous and the rise of mobile, to the on-demand economy, digital transformation, and automation, as well as the increase of distributed teams and remote workforces.

 

One of the biggest challenges businesses face today is the incredible speed at which teams must work just to meet the on-demand expectations of consumers. To be a market leader, you need to be prepared to take orders from customers wherever they are, and deliver what they want, when they want. 

 

Whether your brand is on-demand or not, this on-demand mentality affects your business. Even if you don’t work at one of these brands, it’s likely that in some way, you compete with them or partner with them to serve your customers. Or at the very least, you must respond to consumers now expecting instantaneous (sometimes even predictive) interactions, and you need to be always on. This notion of order-to-order is invading the corporate world, making repeatability, automation, and digital transformation the difference between disruptor and disrupted. 

 

Which brings me to the next challenge companies face today: Technology. And lots of it. In a survey we conducted recently, nearly 50 percent of respondents said they use at least 4-6 apps just to manage their work each day. It’s no wonder that a study from EMC conducted by Vanson Bourne found that 93 percent of business leaders cite technology as the primary driver of change in their markets. 

 

Another major challenge companies must overcome is managing distributed teams and the increase of the remote workforce. According to a new survey from the Swiss company Zug, 70 percent of business professionals around the world work away from the office at least once every week. Full-time employees - not just self-employed or contractors - want and need more flexibility in order to bring balance back into their lives. 

 

In order to attract and keep top talent, companies now need to offer their teams options. That also means they need to provide the tools and platforms that enable remote workers to collaborate just as easily with their coworkers as they would if they were sitting across from each other.

 

Wrike is a collaborative work management platform that addresses each of these challenges. The Wrike platform unifies discrete systems and applications used throughout organizations to deliver a single digital workplace that everyone can work within, wherever they are - as long as they have access to that ubiquatious internet, of course. This helps cut through the chaos and noise caused by the influx of systems, apps, and channels of communications that so many of us are struggling to manage. My hope is that Wrike makes work feel a little less like a Whack-A-Mole game - a feeling I am sure just about everyone can relate to from time to time.

 

Collaborating with remote workers and teams distributed around the world is also made easier in Wrike because conversations are captured within the context of a task or project. The platform also serves as a single source of truth that everyone - on the team, in the department, or throughout the organization - can rely on for current information. And not just communications. Files and digital assets too. Everything can be stored or linked to within the respective task, project, or folder. This helps eliminate the information silos created by email, various messaging apps, and personal hard drives or hard to navigate shared servers. 

 

The Wrike platform allows routine tasks to be automated, improving efficiency and freeing up time so workers can focus on more strategic, creative, and non-routine work. In fact, on October 2 we announced a new automation and integration engine, Wrike Integrate, which allows users to seamlessly automate complex workflows at scale across people and teams with more than 400 cloud or on-premise applications. This helps connect the whole organization and saves time so users can focus on more high value, strategic work. 

 

Ultimately, our goal is to empower workers with all the tools, features, and integrations they need to be incredibly productive and do their very best work at scale. We want our customers not only surviving in today’s fast-paced, highly competitive global marketplace - we want them thriving and to be leaders in their respective industries.

 

Interview Francophone: How do you take into consideration the asymmetries of different actors that could collaborate to create

shared value ?

 

Andrew Filev: If you’re asking how do we build a product that is great for all levels of a company, from interns to CEOs, you’d be surprised to learn it’s not as difficult as it sounds. While these individuals all have different goals and different skills, they really have a similar fundamental challenge when it comes to executing work: the information they need to do their jobs too often exists in the head of someone else in the organization.

 

When we design software, we focus on taking those silos out of the mix, and making a platform that allows people to quickly sync and get up to speed on new projects, and also access the learnings of people who have done them before. 

 

It doesn’t mean that we build a one-size-fits-all solution. It means that we build a flexible product that adapts to all levels of a company, and surfaces different key data to different contributors. As a CEO I can view a high level report on the status of different initiatives, while a team lead can see a granular view of specific projects for their team. The collaboration comes when everyone is confident in that level of visibility, and comfortable sharing their ideas and expertise across the organization.

 

Interview Francophone: What is the role of the TIME MANAGEMENT in the WRIKE solutions?

 

Andrew Filev: Wrike approaches time management in a few different ways, ranging from reporting on time-spent on work on the contributor level, to advanced Business Intelligence (BI) analysis of projects at an executive level. We feel that time management is important at the contributor level, as is effort management at the management level. 

 

For managers, the most important thing you can do to optimize your team is to make sure they’re not overloaded. Unrealistic deadlines cause stress and burnout, which in the end, is counterproductive. So when I say “optimizing resources,” I’m not talking about squeezing as much productivity from a person as possible. You can’t squeeze blood from a stone - but a team running at optimized productivity is far more productive than an individual running at maximized productivity. 

 

Instead, with our new product, Wrike Resource, managers can get a never-before-available level of visibility and clarity on the workload of every member of their team, and use that information to set realistic deadlines for projects, and divide the workload appropriately. 

 

We’ve also announced a BI connector for Tableau, so that data from Wrike can power reports for the C-suite about the results and impact of time spent by teams on different projects and initiatives. 

 

Interview Francophone: How could WRIKE help better innovate in the 21st century: innovate more, together with more actors and with shared limited resources?`

 

Andrew Filev: We understand that 21st century companies need a variety of systems and apps to get work done. That is just the nature of work today. This makes it important that we build a complete ecosystem of integrations with Wrike at the center so various departments within an organization can continue to use their preferred tools from within our platform. Wrike is the single, digital workplace where everyone can meet, share ideas, and work together.

 

This ability to collaborate throughout the organization and work together not only cohesively, but symphonically, is critical to the Operational Excellence journey. This will ultimately help companies serve their customers remarkably better and it will help them distinguish themselves from the competition. This will result in significantly higher returns with less effort - which is something we can all get behind. 

 

Interview Francophone: How do you consider developing Wrike in the perspective of the Artificial Intelligence Future solutions in the sector?

 

Andrew Filev: I think one of the biggest benefits of automation and AI is its ability to deliver what I call “tribal knowledge” to workers who need it, without turning others into bottlenecks. If I can find all the information I need to make an important decision on my own, then I don’t need to wait until another expert in the company is available to meet with me and help make that decision. 

 

Imagine a system that can predict what you were working on  after just a few keystrokes and anticipate your needs when launching a new product or running a new marketing campaign. A platform that has learned from similar projects in the past and can now help you schedule the project, assign tasks, and even estimate budgets and expenses if you use Wrike as the cornerstone of a unified digital workplace.

 

With the recently announced Wrike Integrate, we have taken automation to a whole new user-friendly level. Wrike Integrate comes prepackaged with automated workflows, but can also be customized to meet the unique needs of the team, department, or whole organization, saving time and allowing users to focus on more high value, strategic work. From establishing integrations to automating workflows and creating new ones - customization is all done within Wrike and does not require any help from IT. This makes it easy for users to build an engine that works for them.

 

Interview Francophone: What is your favorite memory about developing Wrike and your best advice for its future users ?

 

Andrew Filev: Many of my favorite brands use Wrike, so it’s always very cool to know that our software played a part in developing many of the products that I personally use every day and that we’ve helped those companies be successful. I also love learning about some of the really extreme projects that people have used Wrike to manage. 

 

My most proud moments in product development are the moments when we find some really simple way to improve the product that drastically improves its value to customers. We keep customers front and center of all of our decisions. I truly believe they are our most important investors. I like to say that success is not deploying a new feature, success is when people are using that feature every day. 

 

My advice for new customers is to have a collaborative approach internally and externally. Embrace agile methodologies to work in faster interactions, and bring transparency to your priorities internally.