A client we recently worked with was Big Lazy Panda - a visual effects company based in LA. Founder Brad Powell grew the company from just himself freelancing to the progressive studio it is today.
Months ago BLP were grappling with their project management. They had no way of tracking their success or spotting issues early. They were using spreadsheets, in combination with online tools, which was proving to be cumbersome and hard to keep track of.
That’s when we met Brad. Having built BLP from the ground up, he remembers the time when it was just up to him to remember his task list and invoices. As his business grew, he started using more and more complex methods, and finally settled on a complicated spreadsheet with dropdowns, formulas and rules.
In addition to spreadsheets, BLP used FileMaker - a software that generates quotes and bids and creates a task list of itemised work with price tag - and TSheets - software to track each employee’s time on each job. These tools didn’t work together, or with the spreadsheet.
That system created quite a few issues:
- The tools weren’t talking to each other, meaning Brad’s team had to duplicate some work and spend a lot of time copying and pasting.
- Brad had no visibility of live actuals. At times he didn’t even know if he was losing money, breaking even, or making great money.
- There was always the risk of the spreadsheet being wiped up due to a technical error, resulting in the loss of valuable historical information and time wasted rebuilding the system.
- A lot of the clients needed access to the spreadsheet, but Brad didn’t have the option to hide or lock any parts of it, exposing all his tracking to a high risk of human error.
Big Lazy Panda needed a bespoke solution. Something that would allow all their tools to work together, featuring all the functionality Brad needed but no extra clunky add-ons. After spending some time researching software developers online, Brad came across Piotr Pozniak and The Beaverhead.
The bespoke software solution
We suggested the PWA, the progressive web app, as the most suitable way to go. We broke down the process - all the methods to be used and the desired milestones.
“It felt comfortable enough for me to jump into that.” Brad recalls. “I was deferring to whoever we went with to give us the best method.”
After six months of work, the solution was ready. We built bespoke project management software for VFX shot tracking and estimates, giving different levels of access to privileged users, artist users, and accountant users.
To solve BLP’s biggest problems, the new software will:
- Eliminate the operational risk
- Reduce time spent on project management
- Unify the process of tracking and maintaining the bids and time spent on tasks
- Monitor invoices
- Send notifications
It replaces the multiple pieces of software that used to represent BLP’s project management and brings everything into one place. It bridges the gap between the quote and the project list and simplifies the conversation within the production team, the managers and the accountants. It eliminates redundant and repetitive tasks, saving a lot of time as well as frustration.
The new software also virtually removes the risks of human error, such as entering wrong data or forgetting to send an invoice. “It has created that safety net that we always needed, it creates insurance and security.”
To read the full case study, download it here.