Marker.io allows their customers to mark up feedback, bugs, and issues visually, and then centralize that information via integrations with their favorite bug trackers and project management tools (like Shortcut, for example). Well over 1,000,000 issues have been reported and tackled thanks to their software.
In the earliest days of Marker.io, their team was using a mix of Trello, Slack, and plain old chit-chat around the coffee machine. The problem is that this created a constant stream of information that distracted engineers from being able to fully focus on their work.
“That’s something we wanted to move away from, this stream of information and questions,” says founder and CEO, Gary Gaspar. “Making sure we can get work done in an async manner that doesn’t continually disrupt people from their workflow. We wanted to use something that allowed for both real time and async elements.”
With Trello they got bogged down in the day-to-day tasks that filled their boards, making it harder to see the big picture. It wasn’t possible to have a hierarchy of needs and prioritization because everything was a card and sat at the same level. They tried to make it work by having one board per project / epic, but it simply didn’t give them what they needed.
“We had this high-level board with the big things we were working on, but it was more that it was somewhere in our head than it up-to-date in the Trello. We had an issue tracker, but it was a mess,” says Gary. “We were just throwing things in there and never reviewing them, and we’d end up with some tasks sitting around for six months or a year.”
Since switching to Shortcut, our feeling is that we used to spend 50% of our time working on new stuff and 50% on our time working on all other non-important, non-urgent bugs and tasks. Whereas now, we feel like it's closer to 80-20.Gary Gaspar, co-founder and CEO of Marker.io
Shortcut, in contrast, makes it easy to progress on the projects they’ve chosen to tackle instead of reacting to an ever longer list of unsorted work. Epics and Milestones in Shortcut automatically create burndown charts, velocity charts, and cumulative flow diagrams that allow an easy view of where long term work stands, as well as both a sense of urgency and completion when accomplishing company goals.
“We especially like that we can see the progress towards high-level initiatives. It’s not just the visual progress bars, which are cool, but more that we feel like we’re making progress on projects that are important,” says Gary.
Shortcut’s notifications and comments have also made it simpler to keep all project communication in one place. Shortcut keeps them notified of what’s going on when they need to be, but does not flood their inbox with notices about every little thing and become white noise. Says Gary, “Now in Shortcut we comment on Stories much more often than we used to do, and we’ll just collaborate and have a discussion directly on the Story instead of jumping back-and-forth to do the collaboration part in Slack which could cause us to lose key information in the process.”
All work now orbits around one source of truth, Shortcut, making communication completely transparent. This saves a lot of time and makes great collaboration possible, even asynchronously.
“It really encourages you to pursue best practices and adopt a good methodology for getting things done,” says Gary. “Even in your example workflow states, like unscheduled, scheduled, in-progress, done, to be reviewed, to be deployed… we wouldn’t have come to these on our own. In Shortcut they were just there and ready to go.”
There is a natural hierarchy within Shortcut that makes it more than just a place to track whether individual pieces of work are being done or not. There are Tasks, which are part of Stories, which are part of more permanent Projects and Workflows, as well as quarterly / yearly initiatives via Epics and Milestones. All of this together provides both a detailed look at individual tasks alongside an overarching view of where the company is headed without any of it being either too simplistic or overwhelming. They can see the forest and the trees.
“One of the very important benefits for me is sometimes I’ll have a personal insight or a customer insight. With Shortcut, I can enter in as a Story idea and then spend a few minutes expanding upon it at our weekly sync meetings,” says Gary. “The improvements to our process that Shortcut enabled us to make has really let us put the customer in the process way more than we used to do.”
Shortcut enables us put the customer into the process way more than we used to do.Gary Gaspar, co-founder and CEO of Marker.io
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