Stefan Manhart is the owner of typneun, a graphic design agency in Freising, Germany. typneun provides corporate design, print, and web development services for small to medium sized companies in the Southern region of Germany. Stefan and his team at typneun have been using Daylite since 2010 to manage their project processes and internal communication. We interviewed Stefan to learn more about their workflow and what they’re enjoying about Daylite 6.
We used email for everything, as many businesses do. We used post-its and handwritten notes. We also used InDesign to write letters, offers, and invoices. We were mostly trying to keep everything in our brains, which obviously doesn’t work so well when you’re managing 30 projects at a time.
The main reason I was searching for a tool like Daylite was because of the chaos of email. We sometimes had clients that were involved in multiple projects. It took so much time to search through emails for one specific email about a project. There would be 30 emails for one client but only one was the email we needed about this project. That made me crazy! It was such an annoying and time-consuming process.
That’s when I knew we had to do something else. I tried using Mail Tags at first to tag emails and sort of group them by project. But Mail Tags wasn’t a project management tool so it didn’t work well for us.
I searched online for project management tools for Mac. I wanted a tool that was specially developed for the Mac and there weren’t many tools at that time. I found Daylite and it took me a few tries to really realized the benefits of it.
When I saw how Daylite Mail Assistant worked, that’s when I realized it was the right tool to move us forward. The ability to link a specific email to a project and client was such a relief.
We use Daylite Mail Assistant as our first step to track opportunity leads and projects. We don’t have to cc emails to other team members because all of the emails are in Daylite. When my colleague looks at a project in Daylite, he can see all the related emails there without having to be included on all the email threads.
We use Daylite to delegate tasks. We use pipelines to track the stages of each project as well as the stage of each lead for opportunities. We set milestones for each project. For example, when do we need to get FTP data from a client by? When do we want to ask our clients to send text for the website? When do we need the logo by? All that stuff that you sometimes forget if there isn’t a reminder.
Since 2016, we’ve been using Daylite for time-tracking and budgeting as well. We use the Time&Budget plugin from iOSXpert. We needed a bit of time to get used to it and to understand it, but now it works pretty well for us. We use the calendar to track our project time. We set a certain number of hours for each project. When people work on a project they add the calendar times and that’s how we track the budget for each project. It’s pretty cool. It helps us to stay within budget with all our projects.
We’re a design agency and we make our money by selling our time. So it’s important for us to stay within our budget for the hours we work on a project. Daylite is our main tool to keep track of all the tasks everyone has to do each day. We’re in Daylite a few hours each day so with the Time&Budget plugin, the designer has the budget right in his view while he’s working on the project.
We had another time-tracking tool before but it was a separate app. The problem was it was more clicks away and so you tend to forget the budget of projects. We have many projects and it’s important to stay in budget even with these smaller projects.
I use Daylite on my iPhone for mainly three ways. The first is always having the project relevant emails with me. When I’m in a meeting with a client and we’re talking about a project we did two years ago, I may not recall certain details such as the size of the flyer or a poster. But with Daylite on my iPhone I can just search for the project, pull up all the emails from two years ago and find the specs. Clients are always amazed how fast this works and how easily accessible it is. I really love it.
The other thing is new tasks and new notes on the go.
The third nice thing is being able to capture brainstorming meetings on a whiteboard. We scribble web design sketches, site maps, and those things on a whiteboard. How do we bring these whiteboard notes into the digital world? I just take my iPhone and take a picture of the whiteboard and link it directly in Daylite. It syncs and the whiteboard is there linked to the project.
There are many small enhancements in Daylite 6 that we really like. The first thing is the Mini Calendar. When a client asks me how a project is going or when I can call them back, the calendar is just always there for me to check. I don’t have to click around the app or search for it.
Even better are the Quick Link Buttons within the project for taking notes or tasks. It wasn’t as easy to find in Daylite 5. We’ve been creating notes and tasks right from the project much more often since we have these new Quick Link Buttons.
We use Smart Lists to stay on top of projects. Every Monday my team has a one hour meeting to go over all the open projects. We go through the list of active projects and see what stage each one is in. We discuss if we need to call the client again to move it forward.
We have Smart Lists that show us all the open projects based on a certain pipeline stage. That way we don’t have to go through every project, just the ones in a certain stage.
For example, we have a Smart List of projects which are done but that need me to send the invoice. We have a task for “write invoice”. So the projects that are done but may be waiting on the print job, I can see these and check when to send the invoice.
There are times where we look at each other and wonder how we did this before Daylite. We don’t even know. Daylite is the brain of our company. It recalls everything. It keeps track of all sorts of information. It reminds me of leads, projects, and timing. We put everything into Daylite. Notes, addresses, links to websites –everything. This budgeting & time-tracking is all in Daylite and it works.
Daylite helps me because my brain is not overloaded with things I have to recall myself. Like the finest details of a project. It’s all right in Daylite and I can search for it–and be able to find it! I have more time to really work on projects without having to remember every little thing for myself. That’s how it changed us. I can’t even imagine how we’d do the stuff we do without Daylite. It would be chaos.**