Recently we learned that the German-based animation studio Simpleshow is using Pipedrive as a project management tool besides managing sales with it. We were curious to learn more and so Simpleshow CEO Jens Schmelzle took us through the details.
Simpleshow makes three-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, despite it being a sales tool, was having a clear overview with deeper information just a click away (for example, by clicking on the organization’s name). They also liked the speed of adding new projects and people, and that everything was automatically saved and linked in the database. 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. Because it worked “incredibly well” Simpleshow decided for Pipedrive to be the company’s central platform for ALL of their project data.
How Simpleshow is using Pipedrive in Jens’ 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:
- 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.
- Storyboard (blue comments)
After the concept approval, one of our illustrators draws the storyboard that is presented to the customer for another approval.
- 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 in-house 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 postproduction and some for special animations or individual projects. So the postproduction 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 postproduction pipeline and is dragged back in some days later, when the clip is produced and ready to send to the customer.
In the future, 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.