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Our teams recently welcomed a brand new campus in San Jose, a 15-acre complex hosting multiple business units of our parent company in the bay. When it came time to get it operationally ready, the global real enterprise team knew they needed a tool powerful and integrated enough to keep 20+ teams across admin, workplace planning, construction, real estate, etc. on track and more than 300 tasks checked off within 3 months.
While Asana was suggested for this operation readiness project, the team soon noticed the best project management tool was right around the corner within the workspace they used day in and day out at work. Lark's Base helped our own global enterprise service organize tasks in each phase, keep important milestones on track automatically, and stay up to date using automation.
The challenge: many teams, enormous tasks, countless deadlines
Operation readiness is the work of developing a cyclical routine for everything. The team needs to invent flows and ways of working customizable enough to make all the machines, people, and logistics for the campus run together seamlessly, so that everyone can step into the new office feeling welcomed and supported.
Coordinating the efforts of so many teams and managing such a large volume of tasks can be a daunting task, especially with all the various deadlines that are impossible to track using calendars. Taking the building from the previous tenants, planning out construction and purchases, and quality assurance throughout - there is no easy task. Without the right tools, it can be easy for tasks to fall through the cracks or for team members to become overwhelmed.
"I remember utilizing Asana in my previous job for project management," said Chris, our regional real estate manager, "but for this project, we need a very robust sort of project management tool to help us track everything." Asana could not meet the team's requirements on the timeliness of task updates and the need for consolidating everything into one, and collaboration might therefore fall apart with any node of the chain missing. The team then discovered Lark's project management facet and found their answer on Base.
The solution: one customized project basis for all teams
"I created this table that I wanted literally within an hour on Base with some guidance from a colleague at Lark. An entire table, dashboard, reports, and automated flows. It can really be customized for all enterprise service tasks with the new campus opening."
When looking at the operational readiness project as a whole, it seemed to be mission impossible with all the challenges mentioned. But after breaking it out into milestones to be hit, then listing out tasks to finish in order to realize the milestone, the grand mission started to be more digestible for each team.
For the global enterprise service team, the milestones were identifiers across all members who were involved in the readiness project. Each task, cascaded from the milestones and assigned to specific individuals, linked back to the milestone using the two-way link in Base. This way, the team would be able to track progress for each task and gain a holistic view of a milestone's overall progress.
By breaking out this massive project into milestones and then tasks, teams under global enterprise service could finally see how long it would take to complete one milestone from start to finish. Chris leveraged the Gantt chart view to generate timelines automatically, then used a simple formula to calculate progress and duration from within the Gantt by counting the start day of the earliest task and the finish day of the final task under this milestone.
"We wanted to stay in the know on how long it would take for us to finish one milestone, say, the design of the office. And this really helped us showcase it easily by just pulling the data from the team's views and whatever that task is, and it would automatically populate this Gantt view for us. Magical."
2. Unified project information for tracking, customized views for team operation
With milestones, tasks, and accountable teams set and ready, Chris and the team expanded their Base into the operation readiness project hub. An executive summary was created within Base to give the team leaders a clear view of completion, upcoming tasks, and each team's progress. This helped team leaders know what was coming up and allocate their resources meaningfully, and allowed them to know the details behind the numbers simply by clicking the charts.
Each team could also focus on their tasks easily without being overwhelmed by tasks and information unrelated to them using customized views. "They can easily track all their tasks and action items that they're supposed to be working on using a customized view, where records are filtered by the team." Says Chris, "We really had a tight time constraint to deliver San Jose and it was a hard cut, as employees will go into space on December 12th. There were a lot of action items for us, a lot of moving parts, and different team views helped each team track progress item by item, task by task."
With dedicated views, each team could get its own run-down list of tasks with descriptions, associated milestones, and responsible team members, as well as an auto-generated red flag on delay when conditions were met. These team-specific views allowed each accountable team and individual to not only easily see who would do what, but also identify delayed tasks on one screen to be able to catch up as soon as possible.
3. One-click reminder to stay proactive on tasks
Keeping teams abreast of deadlines and incoming work is the last line of defense in order to secure timely delivery. With Lark, helping accountable individuals stay punctual on these timelines is fully automated and can be turned on within one click.
"The fact that it's naturally linked to our chat and you can set up reminders just lift things to another level. It can push out notifications to team members when action items are coming up or action items are overdue," says Chris, "It was incredible, especially when you don't have to manually remind them or spend hours building the integration."
The global enterprise service team at Lark was able to successfully finish preparations for phase 1 of our 658,000-square-foot San Jose campus on time, and is ready to complete phase 2 and 3 using the same Base. "I will definitely still choose Base over Asana for our next project," says Chris, "the level of user-friendliness and the way Base is sewed to all the rest of our work is unbeatable. It was just super helpful and so easy to activate, and I definitely recommend my teams utilizing Base for future projects on our property portfolio as well."