Here is a quick interview with Chiadikaobi Onyike, the new addition to the Azendoo Rockstar community!
Hi Chiadi, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a neuropsychiatrist, epidemiologist, and clinical investigator, member of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine teaching faculty, and a recognized expert in the evaluation and treatment of young-onset neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer disease, frontotemporal dementia, etc.). Johns Hopkins University is one of the top 3 clinical and research medical schools in the U.S.
How did you manage your workflow before using Azendoo?
Before Azendoo, we were using a combination of Evernote, DropBox, email, text messages, and a whiteboard in my office. Terribly inefficient — and we had very limited capacity of task assignment and tracking. It's true some tasks can be created and managed in Evernote, but that only works note-by-note (i.e., there are no efficient means of tracking team assignments across projects).
Why did you choose Azendoo?
A good friend, an academic physician based in London, introduced me to Trello and Slack. I thought it was a great idea to have a project/team management tool so I signed up for Trello right away (I had already done so for Slack but had not yet integrated it into our team’s workflow). So when I decided to start with Trello, I realized I would also need a communications tool. I started looking and soon discovered Azendoo.
I chose Azendoo because I need to merge team/project collaboration with task management functions, discussion board, team communication at different levels and file sharing. Azendoo does all this (Trello does not) and provides a wonderful interface for doing so. The support from Azendoo is terrific and the cost and flexibility of the academic program were a good fit.
How did you implement Azendoo with your team?
I have implemented it for my team, not so much my company. You see, in academia, research labs have a deal of autonomy. This means that I can adopt tools that facilitate and aid the work of my team. I read the blog posts and watched the videos provided by Azendoo, which had very useful tips.
I have an organization with 3 workspaces — for my research team, for collaborations with groups and entities outside Johns Hopkins, and for clinical activities. Within these areas, I have subjects which are broad and relate to research areas, teaching activities, busy committees, clinical roles, etc. Projects are housed within these subjects, but may also have tasks and activities that overlap with other subjects…
Members of my team are assigned to various subjects, according to their roles. I use the open/closed/secret functions to manage the subjects. I also have many guests collaborators in different subject areas. So far, it has worked very well.
What are the results you noticed from using Azendoo with your team?
In a word, brilliant! I have much a better team and project awareness. Tasks are not lost or forgotten. I am communicating more with my team since I do not have to sift through emails to find a discussion or file.
It is easier to communicate with different teams without looking for that last group email or typing in various addresses to send a group mail. I can share reading materials with students by posting them to Azendoo or using the DropBox integration.
In short, communication is much easier. I have less email clutter. And I have timely reminders of every task - and a means to send automated reminders to myself and others.
What do you want to see in Azendoo in the future?
Azendoo has been great for me and since I started using it, there have already been improvements. I hope someday to see an option for offline use, which would be valuable during long travel and in remote locations (Evernote provides such a service, for example).
I look forward also to the possibility of an academic version that is affordable to most (if not all) labs, with some customizability of views (e.g., tabbed browsing, or displays), and that allows for toggling users between different status levels…
Overall, I am thrilled with the benefits in time, clarity, and team collaboration that I see already!