OfficeNinjas® is on a mission to provide education and career development resources for administrative professionals, executive assistants, office managers, and workplace operators (aka “Ninjas”). Since 2012, their fully remote team has produced hundreds of networking events and developed a weekly newsletter that reaches tens of thousands of readers.
Their flagship event, OfficeNinjas® Admin Week, is a celebration each April, in honor of Administrative Professionals Day. During the week-long event, OfficeNinjas® reveals the winners of their national program OfficeNinjas® All-Star Awards and hosts over the top raffle giveaways online — building up to the week’s in-person OfficeNinjas® Conference and Admin Bash.
But this year, with shelter-in-place orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco and other cities around the United States, the OfficeNinjas® team had just six weeks to reimagine and redefine Admin Week 2020 as a completely virtual experience.
Not only did the team need to plan new virtual events, they also needed to cancel their in-person plans. In order to turn their event around, they needed a way to:
“Being a remote team from the get-go, we needed a tool with the visibility and adaptability for agile work in order to move forward at the pace we wanted. We needed a flexible tool that can scale as we put it into use for our remote team.” - Edwin Salgado, Co-Founder
OfficeNinjas® Co-Founder Edwin Salgado is an engineer, and knew he wanted to support his team with powerful agile and scrum methodologies. As a small, remote-first team, OfficeNinjas® needed a tool as flexible as they were, where they could plan, reevaluate work, and iterate on a daily and weekly basis.
With team members located around the globe and daily requests coming in, OfficeNinjas® chose Asana to help them gain at-a-glance insight into what work each team member had to do on any given day.
In order for this remote team to collaborate most effectively, Edwin and Co-Founder Nancy Chen-Salgado knew each and every team member needed to become an Asana power user. So they established weekly Advanced Search reports that pull each team member’s work into a personalized project. Then, they’re able to drill down further into the work they need to do each day.
Additionally, every new member of the OfficeNinjas® team is trained to use Asana using a OfficeNinjas® own Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) instructional guide during their onboarding process. This internal Asana guide describes all relevant steps and protocols on how OfficeNinjas® uses Asana to achieve efficiency, uniformity of performance, and reduce miscommunication.
“We are a small team serving a massive community of administrative professionals — we need our tools to work as hard as we do. We produce high-quality content at a greater volume with the help of Asana.” - Kristin Sgroi, Marketing Lead
When the shelter-in-place orders began in San Francisco, the team had to rethink their entire OfficeNinjas® Admin Week experience, while managing the complex process of cancelling their in-person events. Since all of their event planning was managed in Asana, they didn’t have to worry about overlooking any of the hundreds of vendors and logistic details.
“Because we had so meticulously tracked event deliverables in Asana and attached all pertinent docs/media to applicable tasks, our team was able to cancel, negotiate, or refund swiftly and systematically.” - Kristin Sgroi, Marketing Lead
Despite the challenge of conceiving and producing a new Admin Week program in just six weeks, they decided the show must go on. Celebrating and supporting the administrative community—who themselves were adapting and solving problems as companies around the world transitioned to remote work—had never felt more necessary.
“All of the groundwork that we had laid by using Asana as our central source of truth allowed us the opportunity to have head space and re-think the event in a creative way. Even though we had an accelerated timeline, we were able to do it all — and get a good night’s sleep.” — Nancy Chen-Salgado, Co-Founder
Because their team works across multiple time zones, and because so many team members were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through shelter in place, quarantine, or other life changes, the OfficeNinjas® team relied on the work being done in Asana to keep everyone in the loop. If a team member was offline or unavailable, the information was still accessible in Asana, which made it possible for teammates to jump in and help execute critical tasks.
In conjunction with their agile methodologies, the OfficeNinja® team also used Asana features like subtasks and due times to clarify at a granular level exactly who was working on what, and when those things were due.
Admin Week 2020 may go down in the books as their most unique challenge solved, but the OfficeNinjas® team isn’t stopping there. They’re currently developing new education programs and a powerful digital community tool to support the administrative community in the ever evolving future of work.
“Everyone on our team has the visibility into all the work we’re doing. Even if they’re not managing a project day to day, they are still able to have an understanding of how it works and how everyone’s work contributes to the overall company objectives.” — Edwin Salgado, Co-Founder
Using Asana wall-to-wall has been crucial in helping Hack Reactor scale. As Hack Reactor CEO Tony Phillips puts it, ”We’ve cut our operations costs in half because we’re able to execute more efficiently with the processes we’ve set up in Asana.“ And as costs go down, the quality class experience—and the post graduation experience— goes up. Graduates from Hack Reactor are hired at a 98% rate.
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