Velvet

Pärtel Vurma

“Teamweek creates shared awareness.”

Pärtel Vurma photograph

About Velvet

Velvet are an independent strategic design agency based in Tallinn, Estonia. They believe that clarity and simplicity are among the most powerful business tools as well as a vehicle to happiness. There is no argument, no magic, no trickery that can defeat “this makes sense”. They are not big on hierarchy, but are big on collaboration and straight talk. They are friendly, playful and sometimes break the rules.

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How The Need For A Long-Term Overview Made Velvet Ditch Their Beloved Whiteboard

Pärtel's story

“Teamweek creates shared awareness,” says Pärtel Vurma, the CEO of Estonia’s leading design studio Velvet. We’re sitting in their small conference room on the ground floor of their loft-style office in Telliskivi, the heart of Tallinn’s cultural life.

Transition to digital: communicating expectations

The shared awareness is why the team at Velvet has been using Teamweek for more than 3 years, after trying a myriad of team planning methods. First, there were personal manuals on paper, then spreadsheets, and finally a whiteboard. “It looked like a daily schedule you see in middle school,” Pärtel says.

Although Partel liked how the whiteboard made schedule changes very apparent, the whiteboard couldn't deliver in terms of communication. No one had a clear overview of the long-term needs of all project managers.

“We have a weekly planning meeting where we re-evaluate the timelines, reschedule if needed and decide whether or not there are things that need to be outsourced.”

Scheduled face-offs and standups

Don’t get me wrong, Velvet’s project managers still argue. But instead of doing it all day every day, they have allocated the time for it on Monday afternoons. “We have a weekly planning meeting where we re-evaluate the timelines, reschedule if needed and decide whether or not there are things that need to be outsourced,” explains Pärtel, who acts as a referee. This is accompanied by daily standups where the whole team confirms their job list for the day and gets a chance to ask for any extra input.

Teamweek serves as the fundamental tool for those meetings. All project managers use it religiously to allocate time for their projects and to keep track of their own tasks. They sometimes add up to 10 tasks to each day, just to have one secure place where all tasks are written down. Whatever doesn’t get finished will be pushed on to the next day.

However, it is important to note that although they spend about 8 hours at the office, only 6 hours are allocated for work for every person, to make sure no one will burn out in the fast pace of agency life.

Sometimes no automation works best

Teamweek is not the only tool Velvet uses. They make sure to measure time with Toggl and keep an eye on the upcoming tasks with Scoro. They haven’t integrated any of those applications though. “Sometimes the lack of automation is a good thing. It makes sure we double check everything and that there’s a human in control of the whole process.”

About Velvet

Velvet are an independent strategic design agency based in Tallinn, Estonia. They believe that clarity and simplicity are among the most powerful business tools as well as a vehicle to happiness. There is no argument, no magic, no trickery that can defeat “this makes sense”. They are not big on hierarchy, but are big on collaboration and straight talk. They are friendly, playful and sometimes break the rules.

Learn more >

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