Yahoo! JAPAN Accelerates Innovation with WBS Gantt-Chart for Jira

Yahoo Japan

Background

Yahoo! JAPAN is the largest general information site in Japan with more than 100 services, including search, news, and e-commerce. As the market leader in the highly competitive digital media industry, Yahoo! JAPAN understands the importance of innovating at speed.
However, managing innovation projects across its 11,000 employees was a challenge. In 2015, the company deployed Atlassian’s Jira Software to accelerate innovation amongst its development teams. This project was such a huge success that the company then scaled Jira across its business teams.
Like other businesses making the transition from waterfall to agile frameworks, Yahoo! JAPAN encountered problems with project scheduling and dependency management. The company needed a solution that would enable teams to bring their innovations to market faster.

The Challenge

At Yahoo! JAPAN, a great number of IT development projects take place at the same time, so efficient project management is key to ensuring successful delivery.
In the past, these projects were typically planned, scheduled, and managed using Gantt charts created in Excel. However, employees found Excel to be time-consuming, error-prone, and inefficient.
Such hiccups in project management are nothing new—but they shouldn’t be tolerated. Preparing and managing Gantt charts in Excel can be complex, especially when there are a lot of subtasks involved.
Additionally, Gantt chart files can easily be corrupted when a lot of people use and edit them simultaneously. If a file is duplicated instead, the team will end up receiving multiple versions of the same Gantt chart, and it can be difficult to merge them all into a single file.
The limitations of Excel-based Gantt charts were made more apparent with the introduction of Jira. The two platforms operated in silos — project managers had to transfer data manually from Jira to Excel, and vice versa. This led to duplicated efforts and inefficiency.
To close the gap between Jira and Excel, the company began searching for an app to empower teams to create Gantt charts in Jira. Yahoo! JAPAN decided that the app would have to fulfill three main criteria to be a viable long-term solution.
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  • An Easy-to-Use Gantt Chart Tool with All the Basic Functions: Ease of use was top of mind for Yahoo! JAPAN because it was important that their employees feel encouraged to utilize the app and migrate from Excel. The app had to offer basic Excel capabilities while allowing employees to easily create Gantt charts in Jira. Ultimately, they wanted to do everything that they could in Excel, in Jira.
  • Full Integration with Jira: Next, it was absolutely critical that the app could fully integrate with Jira to increase transparency and productivity. By being fully integrated with Jira, the app would offer maximum convenience, help save time, and improve collaboration within and across teams.
  • Combined Support and Helpdesk: With thousands of employees counting on a seamless deployment, Yahoo! JAPAN knew that finding an enterprise-grade Gantt chart app was just the first step. The company wanted to work with a trusted app vendor that had the resources and commitment to support the team from planning to rollout, and beyond.

The Solution

The company evaluated a number of products based on the criteria above. In the end, the company decided to go with Ricksoft’s WBS Gantt-Chart for Jira. The app was then rolled out in 2017 across Yahoo! JAPAN and its Group companies.

WBS Gantt-Chart for Jira performed as expected. It offers basic Excel functions, integrates with Jira, and is easy to use. Employees were struck by how convenient it is. Functions like sharing project timelines and progress with other team members could be completed with just a URL notification.
“Introducing WBS Gantt-Chart for Jira means that project management capacity in our company has been greatly expanded.”
– Shinichi Ishihara and Yutaka Watanabe, Yahoo! Japan
Furthermore, everything is automatically updated in WBS Gantt-Chart once it’s entered in Jira. Other useful features include templates, progress display, and resource display, which make project management much more efficient.

The Future

  • The Yahoo! JAPAN systems department is continuously working on initiatives to improve productivity and make operations more efficient, especially when it comes to project management. As such, they’re looking toward Ricksoft as a partner to provide them with support and assistance in their initiatives by supplying high-quality products and technology, and timely backup.
“Jira’s role in the company has been expanded and redefined from just a project management software for developers to an issue management system that can improve business efficiency across Yahoo! JAPAN group. The staff of external partners participating in our project are also set up to use Jira and WBS Gantt-Chart.”
– Shinichi Ishihara and Yutaka Watanabe, Yahoo! Japan
Check out our solution detail page to learn more about how to improve both project management and collaboration.