CU Boulder is one of 34 U.S. public research institutions belonging to the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). The university’s goal is to directly affect Colorado communities through collaborative research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. 

CU’s Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) solution is built on Salesforce and is utilized by student advisors to facilitate student success.


“We wanted to be authentic evangelists—this made it very important to us to have our project management solution on the same Salesforce platform we were building our other CRM solutions on.”  


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INTERVIEW WITH

Kyle Kirves
Program & Projects Manager
Constituent Relationship Management

DATA

Interview date: July 2017
Using TaskRay since: 2014


WHAT PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS WERE YOU USING BEFORE TASKRAY?

Our project management process was defined as our team was being assembled—we put TaskRay in place before many even came on board.

HOW ARE YOU USING TASKRAY? 

Our CRM software development team has several hundred tasks in a backlog on 30-50 projects at any given time. We also need to be able to visualize work that spans multiple work streams. 

We use TaskRay to manage two-week sprints based on a blended Agile Scrum approach. TaskRay helps us to keep the work organized and transparent at all times to contributors at the program and project levels.

When planning projects, our team goes into a room with two monitors. On the left monitor, we put up our sprint workbook with the user stories we’ve completed over previous six sprints as well as goals for next sprint and the 12-week view. On the right monitor, we put up TaskRay in Kanban view. We then look at our backlog and make sure our cards are groomed and consumable by the dev and business analysis teams. If someone needs to add a new task, we create it on the spot.

During a sprint, everyone on the team uses TaskRay to manage their own tasks and to log their time. Cross-collaboration is facilitated by Chatter, which helps us to quickly bring in the right people to help move a task forward.

WHAT FEATURES MADE YOU CHOOSE TASKRAY?

It was critical for us to have a project management tool, like TaskRay, that was native to Salesforce since that’s the platform our CRM solution is built on. And as agile devs, we are big fans of Kanban boards but traditional physical boards were out. So the fact that TaskRay provides us with virtual Kanban boards was a big selling point for us. The Kanban view is a must in terms of the team being able to visualize our work queue. It also helps us communicate upstream—we’ve used TaskRay boards on more than one occasion to visually illustrate capacity problems to leadership. (We utilize the List view for viewing deadlines and tasks in an itemized way.)

We also like that with TaskRay it’s not an all or nothing scenario. Its filtering functionality allows us to control and customize views based on our specific needs. (The logic behind creating filters is very intuitive—a non-tech person can do it, no problem.) We’ve seen a noticeable improvement in work efficiency due to the use of filters. 

HOW HAS TASKRAY IMPROVED YOUR BUSINESS?

TaskRay has been a big help with velocity scoring and has helped us to show how our team velocity has improved over time.

Time tracking has also been super helpful— we can see what people are doing, in what time frame, and how much time are they using at a very granular level. This has helped us plan better for future sprints.

We essentially serve as a consulting group within the University and TaskRay has helped to better serve our customer constituency by creating a common language. (The truth is, most people may not understand the agile language of user stories or bugs. But people do understand tasks.)


TOP 3 TASKRAY FEATURES

Reporting

In TaskRay, all your project and process management work can be seamlessly tied to existing Salesforce data such as accounts, opportunities and contacts — making reporting a snap.

Salesforce Native

As a native Salesforce app, Taskray resides entirely within the confines of your Salesforce instance. This means all data is stored within Salesforce while the app and its data can be customized, automated and reported upon using the same Salesforce tools that you are used to (such as workflow rules, dashboards, new fields, etc.).

Views

Simple visualization of data is a core tenet of TaskRay’s design ethos. Kanban, Row, and Plan views allow executives and managers to keep an eye on projects their way — from micro to 30,000 feet.


WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TASKRAY TO SOMEONE IN YOUR INDUSTRY?

  • The fact that TaskRay is native and compatible with other Salesforce functions and apps has enabled us to iterate faster.

  • Since you can run reports about virtually anything in TaskRay within Salesforce, it helps us to stay accountable to ourselves, our stakeholders and our customer constituency.

  • With hundreds of tasks in our backlog, TaskRay is invaluable in terms of Sprint planning and project management.