The Agile MSP is a consulting firm composed of team members from Liberty Technology. CEO Ben Johnson and COO Nathan Jones recognized the need for MSPs to reconsider how services are delivered, and found success in applying principles from the Agile software development philosophy to their MSP business.
The most exciting part of any endeavor is the new toolbox you get to pick up and experiment with. In Agile, the tools you’re introduced to include any number of new work philosophies and processes, but the easiest to start with are the most concrete ones. Concepts like “sprints,” “standups,” and “Kanban boards” are simple to understand and flexible enough to inspire a few personal tweaks right off the bat.
A physical Kanban on a whiteboard with sticky notes can support your needs to a point. As someone familiar with computers and the internet, though, you’ll almost immediately see the benefits of using a Kanban that’s hosted in the cloud, browser-based, and capable of feature and process automation. Kanbanize was the program for us. As a remote-work-friendly office, our engineers needed a way to visualize progress on work that they could access and update from anywhere. Kanbanize’s robust APIs allowed us to loop our business management platform and ticketing system, ConnectWise, into the Kanbanize workflow, and visualizing work became as easy as adding work tickets to ConnectWise.
Kanbanize was the tool that shook our daily standups out of stagnation. A regular Kanban takes multiple iterations to meet the needs of a team that already grasps Agile concepts, but Kanbanize acts like a Kanban starter kit right out of the box. Its mobilizing power is surprising, and, as The Agile MSP, we’re working to apply Agile methods in all aspects of our business. Naturally, Kanbanize is the first thing we give to other departments within Liberty Technology to get them experimenting with Agile.
Sales is finally able to visualize work comprehensively. Project boards make it a snap to keep track of sales opportunities and progress on client projects. Tickets that move along in one project board, however, sometimes have counterparts in other boards that need to be moved or updated simultaneously. This is exactly the kind of scenario where we apply some of Kanbanize’s sophisticated runtime policies. The “card is updated” policy enables us to cut out the tedium of adding or updating cards on different boards that are dependent on changes to a parent card. Say a card on the opportunities board represents a potential client that becomes an actual client. All it takes to represent their progress in picking and ordering equipment on another board is move their card forward on the opportunities board.
Our marketing team juggles projects frequently, and the cards they use to represent tasks tend to move quickly across a project board. The thing about marketing, though, is that some campaigns involve a lot of repetition. Email newsletters, blog posts, and social media maintenance are important parts of what Marketing does, and they all adhere to a regular schedule. It adds up to a lot of work, and the marketing team can’t spend time punching in the exact same cards for this week’s batch of posts and tweets. Luckily, we’ve been able to automate the process and save that time with Kanbanize’s recurring cards.
As we watch the automation features in Kanbanize flourish, we find opportunities to introduce the platform to other teams within our company. The interface is intuitive enough for anyone to pick up, and the more creative members of our sales and marketing teams have already started customizing their own runtime policies through Kanbanize’s administration panel.