As part of our long-term partnership with Fit Small Business, we work with them to continually identify opportunities to save costs, increase productivity, or, like with the development of Fit Projects, both.
Fit Projects is Fit Small Business’ custom project management solution. As a company whose product is its content, Fit Small Business operates a complex article pipeline that includes each division of the business — editorial, business development, and SEO. As each magazine-style article progresses through the pipeline, users within each division are notified so they can complete their work in a timely and efficient manner.
Previously, Fit Small Business had been using a third-party tool to manage their content, but it fell short of their needs and came at a significant annual cost.
As a young company, we had to make the most of the third-party tools that were available and that we could afford — even if they didn’t fully meet our needs. That was the case with our project management application, which came at a cost of over $50,000 per year, but that failed to offer the level of customization and responsiveness that we needed to efficiently manage our day-to-day operations.
Because Howard Development & Consulting had partnered with Fit Small Business for so long, we were able to understand their workflows and where a technology solution could be tailored to improve them. We worked with their editorial and leadership team to conceive and develop an application that gave more visibility into the day-to-day operations of their business, from content ideation to post-production reporting, and that fully integrated with the other custom applications we have developed for them.
There were two primary challenges that we solved for: how to streamline the application to make their workflows more efficient and how to improve the user experience to increase adoption and usage.
As part of this process, we consulted with various stakeholders from different departments of the business. Through the Scrum process, they shared their most common use cases, pain points, and wish list of features that would make their day-to-day work easiest. We then took these inputs and merged them with our user experience expertise to design and develop an application that resolved their current needs and was scalable to adapt as they grew.
Rather than source a new tool, we opted to develop one in partnership with Howard Development & Consulting. This gave us the opportunity to rethink our processes from the ground up and how technology can best augment and support them. And, as our needs changed and grew, Rob and his team were there to support us — consulting with our team to enhance and improve the tool where we needed it most at each phase.
In version one of the application, we replicated the most widely used features of the third-party tool to minimize any disruptions during the transition. Then, we worked with the stakeholders to iterate on these features — refining them where needed and building new ones to fill any gaps.
The result was a simplified user interface that placed the information each user needed front and center, intuitive navigation that was based on their established workflows, integration with their other custom applications to aggregate project data, and a robust back-end that enabled administrators to add, edit, and delete as needed.
Many developers can build a website or application that has been well documented with clearly defined specifications. However, it takes a partner like Howard Development & Consulting to truly understand your business’ long-term needs and goals and how a technical solution can help you achieve them. Bridging the gap between business and technology with interdisciplinary thinking is where we do our best work. And like all of our clients, we work best when we’re involved in the full lifecycle of a project — from identifying the business opportunity, to ideation, and through the execution.
We don’t just help our clients do the work, we partner with them to strategize what work needs to be done.