How it helped Hello Amigo
Hello Amigo — a small agency doing big work for nonprofits and brands across the US — uses Punchlist to manage 22 clients and 40 active projects. They do all this with a lean and mean crew of eight staff.
The Hello Amigo team creates digital and print work for clients like Southwest Animal Care, The Junior League of El Paso, Harvard University, Texans to the Rescue, Trans Border Leasing, Boston Children’s Hospital, Franklin Star, and more.
Hello Amigo’s remote team is distributed from Texas to Alaska, and they needed a system for gathering feedback efficiently without being in the same room.
Especially with nonprofit clients who have seven people reviewing the work — board, staff, committees — interpreting feedback and figuring out what each person is referring to can get messy.
What’s more, their clients were stuck in “the old way” of doing things. Some of them even went so far as to print out, highlight and physically mail their website feedback.
Hello Amigo needed a better way.
We sat down with Project Manager, Analisa Silverstein, and Content Marketing Specialist, Angie Kimmel to learn more about how they juggle so many projects with such a lean team, and how Punchlist helped them hit all their milestones in record time.
Angie: For content, we didn’t really have a set process. I would say it ended up being “the path of least resistance” for our clients — whether that was emailing feedback, or compiling it in a Word document, and then sending it back. They had delays and it took a lot longer to get feedback. We would get some radio silence from them before we got actionable feedback that we could actually implement in our projects.
Analisa: We do have one client who would sometimes print out the website, take a highlighter and a red pen to it, and then physically mailed the feedback to us. We have all sorts of horror stories.
Especially when you think about how many pages a website can have, that’s a lot of pages to either email or scan or physically mail. Then on top of that, we’d have to say, ‘What did they write here?’ You’d have to interpret their hieroglyphics.
Angie: I can also think of another project that wasn’t going well, because they didn’t understand why we were recommending different changes. For example, they didn’t understand why we would recommend not duplicating content on multiple pages.
Punchlist allows us to add an explanation, ‘we recommend removing this because…’ and then they can see exactly what we’re referring to. Without Punchlist we had to ask, ‘What exactly are you talking about and why?’
Angie: I think the second we saw how it worked, we just adopted it right away.
There was something that I discussed in an annual performance review — what tasks do I need more resources around? And I had mentioned that being able to gather feedback more efficiently would be helpful. I just hadn’t had time to look for a system that would do that. Punchlist kind of fell in our lap.
And I thought, ‘This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.’
Angie: I like being able to see exactly what the client is referring to and seeing. I can see the feedback on the specific page and item that they’re providing it on. I also like the actionable feedback, the ‘Pages with Active Feedback’ button. I can see what has something that needs attending to. And skip over the things that I don’t need to look at. So I think that’s really helpful.
I also like that I can respond to their questions in Punchlist. I don’t have to email them separately. It’s all in one system.
Analisa: And I like that I get an email notification when they’re responding. I know that they’re actually looking at it, and if I don’t get that email, it tells me to bug them, to get them to look at it and respond.
I also like for our design projects — ads, print design, invitations — there’s often a lot of copy. So names or sponsors, things could get misspelled. There’s just huge lists sometimes.
They’re able to see where we need to edit. That is a lot better than before. Also it’s so easy to upload the image and then it just pops up. It’s just so much easier to do it in Punchlist because they can comment directly on the art files.
Analisa: I really liked that we can number the files and then it will be uploaded in the correct order. That’s nice too. Today I uploaded a project with 20 pages and so it was just super easy to review and see.
I will say too, whenever I’ve had questions and use the chat messenger, Pete (the founder) or someone on the Punchlist team has always been very quick to respond, which is appreciated as well.
Angie: The learning curve was pretty easy and intuitive. Really just upload some things and start clicking around. I don’t feel like I’m going to break anything or mess up a file.
Analisa: Same, I think Angie started using it first and then she showed me. Within a day I picked it up and started using it on all my projects. And then it’s easy for us to now train our clients on how to use it. It takes us about two minutes to show them.
Angie: When we present our projects, we explain Punchlist throughout. As we’re showing our project, we also walk them through, ‘This is Punchlist. This is what we’re doing with it. And here’s how you use it.’ And typically they don’t have any questions. They can pick it up from the get-go.
Just press the pink button and then you type in your feedback.
Angie: It’s the time saving aspect of things. I can think of projects before we had Punchlist where they’d stall out, and I know Ana is a wonderful account manager and she would politely follow up, ‘Where are we at with this? Can I get your feedback?’
It would just be stalled because they didn’t want to have the website open and then a document and be commenting back and forth and then email it. I can see how that would be frustrating.
Thinking as a client, I can see how Punchlist is a lot easier. It’s all in one system, it’s all in the same place. I don’t have to go back and forth and switch around. I just make my comments and then let them know I’m finished.
Our projects are completed faster. The phases moved quickly and we’re able to go onto the next step with less prodding and hounding for information.
Analisa: Yeah. Currently we’re working on a website that has a very hard deadline that needs to launch on a specific day. We had to go with a more lean timeline and it’s just way easier with Punchlist to get the feedback in sooner. So that has been very helpful.
Angie: I don’t think we would be able to hit the deadline if we didn’t have Punchlist. There’s three different organizations involved. If we couldn’t get them all on the same page with the same link commenting on things, I don’t think we’d be able to move forward as quickly as we’ve been able to.
Analisa: I like Punchlist a lot better than say, using a Google doc, because you don’t have to have a Gmail account or some of these blockades that some of those tools you use.
I’ll also say for their email storage space, it saves the client some headache and extra steps. For example, before I’d always have to upload it to Dropbox and then wait till it uploads and then have them review it, download the PDF and then get us the feedback. With Punchlist they can just comment on it. And then we get a doc. It doesn’t take up your email space either.
We’re not trying to process through 80 different email chains of when they forwarded it to someone else and then responded and then forwarded to us and replied… instead, it’s all in one place.
Analisa: It feels good to have these projects take three months to finish instead of six.
Angie: I think it’s also cognitively satisfying and that Punchlist is a literal list of things and you can check them off when you’re finished and you’ve made the update. As someone who likes lists, I find it really satisfying to say, ‘I’m done.’ There’s no active feedback on any of these pages. It’s all a bunch of zeros. ‘My part is done.’ I can reassign it to someone else.
Analisa: Also, if the client brings back up the Punchlist link on their end, they can see our progress. They can see little check marks or statuses as to where things are at.
Angie: And from the client’s side, I think it probably helps them feel prioritized. Because I know from working on a website for a client, they need to do their part for it as well, but they have tasks and responsibilities specific to their organization. If they see that I’m taking the time to prioritize their project and get things done and then they know the next part is on them, they’re committing to do their half.
Analisa: I think there’s also a feeling of teamwork with the client. ‘We’re doing this together.’ There’s ownership and transparency on both sides.
They can see we are doing the work, but at the same time, we can’t finish the work without them. That’s what’s cool about Punchlist. We can’t go on to our design phase without them participating in the content phase through Punchlist.
Angie: We also have the luxury of having clients that we’ve worked with for a long time. We’ve developed more of a friendship. I think a lot of the organizations the agency works with, we (as individuals) care about the causes that they’re supporting. We can be emotionally invested in the work we’re doing. So I think that helps too.
Analisa: The Junior League Christmas Card was a good one. There’s so many voices who need to review and weigh in. Using Punchlist just kind of makes it so much easier for everybody to see everyone’s comments, see our progress, and give feedback. A lot of times they’ll say, ‘I don’t know how to put this in words…’ but I want this fuzzy shadow to be taken away and replaced by something else. So then I have to interpret that to the designer and then put it in our design terminology.
Before Punchlist, I would be asking, ‘Where are they referring to? The graphic on the cover? Or on the back?’ Now using Punchlist, they can just point it out directly on what they’re referring to.
Angie: Another example is a client that we’re working with in Denver. I think since the pandemic, and everyone working remotely, tools like Punchlist contribute to helping people work together more easily. It gives confidence to our clients that yes, we can get this work done, and we have the tools to do so — even if we’re not able to meet in person.
Animal Rescue League is another great example. They’re a nonprofit organization and governed by a board. They have their staff and also their board members and several committees. You’re getting two different sides of feedback.
Punchlist has been helpful in gathering feedback from those two different viewpoints and making sure that the content is where it needs to be. Also the website design reflects what they want it to look like.
Analisa: They also uploaded a reference to Punchlist and said, ‘Hey, we like the layout of this other site. Can you add that here?’ That made it easy for our designers to visually see their feedback on what they wanted it to look like.
We’ve worked with The Junior League on big print projects like annual reports and book designs, and I mean, that’s a lot of content to review. And they had the five or six reviewers looking at it. It was so easy for them to visually review page by page.
Angie: Timeline wise, with Punchlist, we’re able to stick to our timelines plus or minus a week. In the past it would probably be three, four weeks beyond, like it would blow past it a lot more than what it does now.
It inspires confidence in the abilities of our team. We’re not the biggest agency you’ve ever met, but we still take on a lot of big projects and do a tremendous job on them. The fact that a lot of our clients come from referrals, knowing that we did a good job and that we have the tools to get the work done and the skills to do it. It’s really inspiring for our team and gives us the confidence to go take on the bigger jobs.
Analisa: For me as the project manager it makes me feel good because, I would say on average, we used to be managing 40 to 50 active projects at one time. And I’m the only project manager.
But now using Punchlist we’re down to 35. It’s just so much easier. For me, the more we can close out, the better.
Angie: That’s helpful for her to be able to know exactly where we’re at with each project, she doesn’t have to hunt down feedback. She knows where it’s at, who’s commented, who hasn’t, and what needs to be done.
Analisa: I’ll say too, we’re a remote team. Recently I was on vacation and I was thinking, ‘Oh, I hope this is getting done.’ I just pull up the Punchlist link and then I can see where we are on that project.
Angie: It simplifies your workflow. It’ll make it easier for you to communicate with your clients, and also with your team members to know what’s going on with the project and who needs to provide feedback. You can keep the project moving, and know which updates and changes you need to make.
Analisa: It’s kind of funny because some people would think, ‘Why would you want to share your secret tools?’ That’s not the way we look at it. Sharing Punchlist puts us ahead of the game and shows we know all the super tools. I think, the more you can share learnings with people and get more people to adopt efficiency, the better.
Angie: I would just say it’s super easy. And I like that. It’s all one system. I mean, I’ve done the switching between tabs on your document and what you’re reviewing — and Punchlist eliminates all of that back and forth.
It gets rid of a lot of the extra steps that we used to have to do.
Analisa: I would also add that it’s really easy to use. A lot of people may say, ‘but we’re not tech-savvy.’ You don’t have to be.
Angie: I was just looking back at our projects. One web project we did start to finish, called Texans to the Rescue… That project was probably one of our first projects where it hit every single timeline milestone and it’s already launched and everything. We started it not too late last year, and it launched in January. So that’s probably our most efficient project to date.
We have a couple of projects that are ongoing right now that thus far we’ve hit all the milestones. I think Punchlist has been a big part of that.
Punchlist gathers all of your design & content feedback — in one place