Sales productivity app? For Simpleshow, Pipedrive is project management software

Recently we learned that a Germany-based animation studio is using Pipedrive as a project management tool in addition to managing sales with it. We were very curious to learn more and so the company’s CEO Jens Schmelzle took us through the details.

Simpleshow are makers of 3-minute videos that explain complex issues, products or services, using only two hands and black-and-white illustrations. Each simpleshow is 100% custom-made and handcrafted. Since 2008 the company has produced more than 700 clips (which look awesome) in over 30 languages for customers worldwide.

Simpleshow has a fixed production workflow for the clips. As Jens explained, they were searching for a project management tool that allowed representing this workflow for a big amount of parallel projects (and their statuses) in a visual and intuitive way, so accessing information wouldn’t take a lot of time. The problem was that most project management systems they tested were built for managing one big project with lots of tasks, not lots of parallel projects with the same workflow.

What Jens and his team liked about Pipedrive, and despite it being a sales tool, was having a very clear overview, with deeper information just a click away (for example by clicking on the name of organisation). They also liked the speed of adding new projects and people, and that everything was saved and linked in the database automatically. This was something they hadn’t experienced with other platforms, wikis or spreadsheets they had used.

Pipedrive was the first software that met all of Simpleshow’s requirements of having a simple overview combined with filtering options for customers, resources and timelines in a smart way. The company started using it as a CRM and project management software. As it worked “incredibly well” Simpleshow decided for Pipedrive to be the company’s central platform for ALL(!) their project data.

How Simpleshow is using Pipedrive in Jens’s own words

I have attached the pipeline of one of our project managers. I’ve blurred out the sensitive data, you can see that our project manager Ilya has 21 projects to manage right now, most of them are in the first stages of production (script or text concept phase). Our main phases are: 

1. Text concept (red comments on the screenshot)

After the official order, we start with a short questionnaire which the customer has to fill out. Then we have a personal briefing – a meeting, phone or video conference- after which we write a text concept including a description of the visuals.

2. Storyboard (blue comments)

After the concept approval, one of our illustrators draws the storyboard which is presented to the customer for another approval.

3. Production (yellow comments)

As soon as we get the GO, the scribbles are printed on a special paper, cut out, and, where appropriate, some bricolages are being prepared. After the shoot in our inhouse studio and the audio recording there is the video and audio editing, the music arrangement, color correction, mastering and encoding. Then the project manager sends the finished clip for the final approval.

Every clip is a separate Deal in Pipedrive, which we just drag and drop through the production line. We work with several pipelines: One for sales, one for project managers (example above), one for the post production and some for special animations or individual projects. So the post production workflow has its own stages like “audio recording”, “shooting”, “editing”, “sound”, “color correction & encoding”,… Each deal leaves the project manager’s pipeline after phase 2b to the post production pipeline and is dragged back in some days later, when the clip is produced and ready to send to the customer.

Going forward, Jens and the Simpleshow team want to combine Pipedrive with their timekeeping tool mite and build relevant interfaces so everything works in the same central project database. Jens says they need an API for that – and reading how thoroughly Pipedrive is used made us move even faster for getting that ready soon.

  • Anonymous

    cmon, it’s just a Kanban :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/martin.kruusement Martin Kruusement

    I use it pretty much exactly the same way :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/CatHarriss Catherine Harriss

    I use it to record patient bookings and at what stage they are in the booking/ surgery process

  • Nate

    We also use Pipedrive in a similar fashion. One great option would be a to give more direct ability to manage projects. A cue after a deal is won to say, are you going to manage this project? or if yes automatically move it into  project pipeline.

  • Christian

    How do you do this, if you mark it as “won” then it closes the deal, and shows on your statistics area (which is great)… but if you then re-open the deal in order to put it into your project management pipe, it is no longer marked as “won”… is there a way around this?

    • http://www.facebook.com/bcarcio Ben Carcio

      Someone should answer this. It would be very helpful.

    • http://www.facebook.com/martin.henk Martin Henk

      This problem comes up every now and again. The trick is to drag the deal to the next pipeline first and then mark it as won. And keep it as won from then on.

      You’ll just need to create a custom filter for the next pipeline to show both open and won deals in it. Otherwise it won’t show.

      You’ll then need to get it out of the pipeline again in the end. You can do that in many ways with the filters. The easiest would be to create a new stage in the end of the second pipeline and call it Done. And then add a condition to the filter to exclude deals that are in the Done stage. This way you can just drag the deal into the last stage and it will disappear.

      I hope this helps. And if you have further questions please let us know. We’ll be happy to help.

  • bendell

    Woah this is quite intriguing. I do love it when a product is used in a way it was never intended… keeps us all on our toes :) I’d be really interested in hearing of any other uses people are putting Pipedrive to.

    The idea of running large numbers of parallel projects is definitely an interesting one; i’m not sure if there are any tools out there that cater for this specific scenario (which is i guess why they started bending Pipedrive to work in that way. We were considering it as a new feature for Updatey a while back, but it turned out to be too complex a challenge at that time. We may re-address it at some point though.

    Either way – an excellent write up!

  • peeter

    I
    would say that a PMP Certification is highly respected within both IT &
    non-IT communities where strong project management skills are required. If
    you plan on a long term career as a project manager, then yes, even with your
    level of experience, I would suggest getting your PMP. You can prepare
    yourself for the exam in one of the PMP trainingproviders like
    http://www.pmstudy.com/. You can do minimal prep-work to get 40 PMI® Contact Hours
    and apply to PMI for PMP Exam before the class begins.