Publication by Miro about the future of distributed teamwork

Llamasoft slashes time to production by over 50%, accelerating innovation of world’s supply chains

Oct 28, 2020

Ever wonder how that carton of milk got from the farm to your refrigerator at peak freshness?

Buying should be a no-brainer for the consumer. But for businesses, getting a product to where it needs to go requires a robust supply chain and strategic decision-making.

Llamasoft, a software company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been helping businesses — including half of the Fortune 100 — answer their most complex supply chain questions for nearly 20 years. Anyone from retailers, pharmaceutical companies, to the military can generate a digital twin of their supply chain using Llamasoft software. By experimenting with new ideas in a risk-free environment, they can turn insights into action and transform their supply chains into a tactical advantage.

Alli Dayton

Content Marketer at Miro


Alli is a writer, astronomy enthusiast, and avid Lord of the Rings fan. She uses her product and teaching experience to help teams reach their potential through inspiring, actionable content.

The Learning Experience (LX) team at Llamasoft develops e-learning games and courses so customers can take advantage of everything the software has to offer. The LX team’s eight instructional designers and engineers regularly consult with internal and external subject matter experts as well as multiple teams across the company to create learning products that customers will love.

Despite having a remote-friendly workplace even before the shift to 100% remote work, getting multiple stakeholders on the same page was no easy feat.

Teams were spread out between offices in Michigan, the UK, and Australia, with each using different applications like Jira, Trello, or Microsoft Teams. Ryan Hicks, the Director of Learning Experience at Llamasoft, had to constantly jump from tool to tool just to gather information on different parts of projects. With his team moving rapidly through two-week sprints, monthly planning, and quarterly software releases, this ate up valuable time.

Ideation was also an imprecise and cumbersome process, often requiring physical whiteboards and thousands of sticky notes. Ryan felt limited by the tools he had and frustrated by the manual back-breaking effort to organize ideas.

You’d be grabbing all the sticky notes and making sure you had them in the right order, so you could go back to your desk and copy them into an Excel sheet, while other teams waited to use the conference room, Ryan explained. It wasted a lot of time.

Ryan knew that he needed a more sustainable, scalable way to create a lasting and shareable record of his team’s work and break the chains on the creative process while making the most of everyone’s time.

Profile


Llamasoft

Llamasoft is a supply chain design software company


Activity: global leader in AI-powered enterprise decision solutions

Headquarters: Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

Number of employees: 600+

Our company mission is to elevate lives through the science of smarter decision-making. There’s got to be a smarter way to do this.

 ryan, Learning Experience Director at Llamasoft

A single place for ideation and design


Ryan was introduced to Miro by a teammate in the UK, who sent him a user story map created to facilitate a discussion on personas. Impressed by Miro’s infinite online whiteboard, Ryan paused the persona discussion to focus on the tool itself, asking, “What is this thing?”

As a non-linear thinker who pulls in ideas from multiple sources, Ryan was used to “leaving bits and pieces behind in every conference room.” However, with Miro, he realized that he finally had a single repository for his team’s entire creative process.

I saw that we were going from ideation to design on a single whiteboard, and I just fell in love with Miro.


The Story Map helps Llamasoft’s team facilitate discussions on personas

Ryan’s team started using Miro for action mapping — a popular and effective process to encourage designers to hone in on a business objective and build learning products that measurably impact the company. While these action mapping sessions were primarily driven by a facilitator and subject matter expert, multiple teams across locations could join in using Miro’s asynchronous capabilities.

Miro’s infinite canvas became a whiteboard the LX team didn’t ever have to erase. Participants could comment, add files, and organize the session’s output without needing to be present at the same time and location.

The team could then translate the action map into a design document defining the details of the next learning product. This document, as well as other project plans, could live in a separate shared drive yet remain fully visible and accessible on the same Miro board, presenting a full picture of the project.

One source of truth gets stakeholders on the same page

Increased visibility allowed the team to easily get feedback from stakeholders, from leadership to marketing.

Miro lets us get feedback from other parts of the organization and flow it right into the product, cutting out a number of iterations. With a complete digital trail of our progress right in Miro, we remain accountable but stay efficient.

 ryan, Learning Experience Director at Llamasoft

With a single source of truth for multi-faceted projects, Ryan’s team could not only communicate more effectively with other teams and experts, but also with the customer. Ryan began to use Miro to test ideas and get customer feedback first-hand.

When the global leader for Llamasoft’s customer success team wanted to demo a concept for a learning game to a prospective customer, Ryan gathered the relevant proposal, action map, video snippets, and images onto a single Miro board.

Different pieces of the project are actually stored all over the place in different tools, but I can gather them together to share with stakeholders on one Miro board.


Llamasoft uses Miro to build interactive learning games

When it was time to have a call with the prospect, Ryan simply shared the link to the Miro board and gave them the ability to comment.

Once his team got to work, task management became simple. Ryan could get a quick, holistic view of upcoming work and conduct prioritization exercises with his team using Miro’s integrations with Jira, Trello, and Microsoft Teams. Ryan even dedicated an entire “idea area” of the planning board to new concepts the team wanted to explore, opening his team up to new opportunities to impact the business.

The Miro integrations help a lot. In the past, I passed different trackers back and forth all the time but never got anyone on the same page as me. Now, with Miro, I don’t have to worry about that.


LX team cuts production time by over 50%, improves predictability

Ryan’s team has shaved weeks off the time needed to develop a learning product — even with a 100% remote team and numerous stakeholders.

What would’ve taken four to five weeks to produce can now be done in half the time.

We were able to set a two-week sprint and ended with a product. To be able to work with that many groups and finish with the momentum that we did — that’s Miro all the way.

 ryan, Learning Experience Director at Llamasoft

Gathering feedback within the Miro board itself means the team can optimize subject matter experts’ time and eliminate the need for constant back-and-forth.

We have reduced the number of meetings in design cycles by allowing independent, asynchronous reviewing and commenting in Miro,” said Ryan. This reduces the total elapsed calendar time of any project.

With a documented trail of past projects, Ryan’s team can reliably predict the time needed to complete a proposed project and speed up the decision process on whether to move forward.

“Being able to measure our time to production using Miro has made a world of difference,” said Ryan. “By having that cycle time locked down, I can actually start to reliably predict how much time I’ll need to create a new learning product.”

Non-designers within Llamasoft also benefit from the LX team’s pioneering use of Miro. Consultants aiding the global health team as they move products across Africa are now able to build supply-chain modeling applications without professional design experience.

“A lot of teams that weren’t design teams before are now doing design work in Miro, creating apps using our model,” said Ryan.

Fully remote & still innovating

Ryan and his team aren’t just surviving being fully remote — instead, they’ve taken the opportunity to educate their customers in creative ways.

In June 2020, Ryan’s team held a virtual whiteboarding session using Miro, the first in a series of three webinars on how to accelerate key processes for supply chain management.

Miro is now ingrained in the LX team’s daily life, giving them the tools to face new obstacles. When Ryan’s presentation of his team’s work at a Learning Guild conference was cancelled due to COVID-19, he decided to present his work virtually using Miro.

The ability to innovate and deliver real value to customers using Miro allows the LX team to align with Llamasoft’s company values.

Miro is ideal for our company, which prides itself on innovation and smarter decision making. I’ve been able to clearly show different people at Llamasoft how it would enhance what they’re doing. Everyone we work with could benefit from Miro in some way.

 ryan, Learning Experience Director at Llamasoft

Whiteboarding is what makes our training and coaching sessions great, so we plan to use Miro during live Zoom sessions.


I don’t want to think about the world before we had Miro. I literally don’t know how we would do this otherwise. Miro is a part of what we’re doing on a daily basis.


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