Lessons from a YMC Failure.

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Processes — the word provokes anxiety in abstract thinkers while inciting joyous glee in their analytical counterparts. But one thing is for certain, love them or hate them, processes are a necessary part of every business model (unless you’re operating under a rule of chaos, in which case, enjoy your last few months in business).

We at #TeamYMC are constantly reevaluating our processes, but around the first of this year, everything came to a head. Enticed by a pretty picture and promised convenience, we decided to switch project management systems. Ultimately we landed on a more complex (and far more expensive) piece of software.

That’s when all hell broke loose.

The qualms we had with our old system seemed immediately smaller next to the disastrous dumpster fire that ensued under the new program. I wish I was being sarcastic. We stay busy here at YMC, but this was a whole new level of crazy – something we had ironically aimed to cut out of our culture with this switch. Through a sick twist of fate, in trying to simplify our daily task lists, we ended up further-complicating them.

So, how did this happen? How did we miss the mark so badly with this transition?

We overcorrected. We over-regulated. We painted ourselves into a corner with processes, and, as a result, we paralyzed our workflow.

I would be remiss not to reiterate, there were issues with our old processes. Nobody can deny that. Chaos was a daily companion and tasks ruled our work weeks. However, while the process may have been a bit janky, it wasn’t totaled. We replaced the entire car with a shiny new stick shift that nobody knew how to drive when we could have just fixed up the old one with a little TLC.

Now, fortunately, the members of #TeamYMC are a pretty resourceful bunch. We rallied, we troubleshot, and we found workarounds until we could kill the new system and transition back to our previous project management software. Essentially, we traded that new stick shift back in for old-reliable.

So why do I tell you this story? Why choose to publicize one of our biggest failures? Because we believe in authenticity and transparency. We aren’t perfect, and chances are, your organization isn’t either. Because of this, we can probably learn from each other in both trials and triumphs alike.

Lesson 1: Nobody likes a kneejerk.
We saw a problem and went nuclear with our solution. In our frustration, we found comfort in the promise of increased convenience from another platform. We overcorrected and ended up making our problem 100x worse than it was before. The lesson in all this? Take a step back and make sure the solution actually solves the problem before going all in.

Lesson 2: Don’t re-invent the wheel.
The ability to change and stay relevant in your industry is important. But, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Improve on it, sure, but strongly consider the repercussions before blowing the whole process up.

Lesson 3: Take pride in your people.
Processes will never go away, but be careful not to overlook the resourcefulness of your people in your focus on processes. Your people are what keep your organization afloat, not a policy in a handbook and certainly not your project management system.

We got through the chaos only because our people are relentless. Our passion for our clients and dedication to producing good work outshines any frustration caused by our new system. Everyone has each other’s backs and looks out for each other, regardless of department, location, and company status. Despite the insanity that the transition caused, we came out at the other end stronger than we were before. With a new appreciation for simplicity and communication, #TeamYMC is ready for the next set of dumpster fires.

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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
 
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
 
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche

Copywriter

Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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