Weblio Corporation, which manages Japan’s largest online dictionary service, uses Backlog for project management in their Fukuoka office. We asked Mr. Yukio Ota, the Fukuoka Branch Manager why they choose Backlog and how they use it to improve their business.
Can you tell us a bit about Weblio?
Weblio operates an online dictionary service. If you search for ‘English translation,’ it is the top ranking result in Google, the Apple Store, and more. Monthly page views are at about 300 million, and we get 45 million unique users a month. We have an advantage over other dictionaries in that not only is the meaning of words displayed but also many example sentences to provide context. The English-Japanese dictionary is our most-used product, but we have a total of 6 languages including English-Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese.
We also have an online English conversation project using Skype for B2B and B2C companies, and an agency business that provides translation services. Recently, we developed “Nanna,” an AI English conversation bot for those who feel apprehensive about talking directly with native speakers.
Please tell me how you decided to introduce Backlog.
We have been using a different project management tool called Pukiwiki for nearly ten years. We decided to add Backlog because Pukiwiki is was difficult to teach to new employees and non-engineers. Getting everyone proficient on the program proves to be a struggle.
I had used Backlog at my previous job, and I felt that it was much better suited for non-engineers, with its user-friendly icons and helpful features like the Gantt chart.
However, since Pukiwiki has been in use for ten years now, we cannot stop using in entirely, so we are currently using it in parallel with Backlog. Because it ‘s hard to convince everyone to change all at once, we are introducing Backlog experimentally at the Fukuoka office only. We plan to spread it to our other offices gradually as we share our success stories with it.
How are you using Backlog at Weblio?
We use it two ways: in-house task management and task management for in-house services such as our online dictionary.
We use Backlog to manage and view the progress of our projects. For exchanging Google Apps and other documents, we still use Pukiwiki. They both serve different purposes for now.
For one of our current projects, we are working on updating our website for English conversation. The developers in the Kyoto office and the Fukuoka office are collaborating remotely, and they are using Backlog to coordinate their work.
What’s changed since you’ve started using Backlog?
There have been three major benefits to using Backlog:
First, it’s much easier to add new members. Because Backlog is billed on a per-project basis, and not by the number of accounts, there are no restrictions on adding users, no matter how many people a project requires. It’s easy to invite outside parties without hesitation and begin collaborating quickly.
Second, it’s made file-sharing more efficient. Previously, I was doing a lot of work using email, which meant information sharing was often delayed. With Backlog, uploading files is easy, and you can identify files you need at a glance. The process is much smoother than it was before. Files are also associated with Issues, making them even easier to locate for everyone.
Third, it’s much easier to tell who is responsible for what within each project. Many project management tools make it difficult to understand who is involved in each piece of a project, but Backlog makes it simple.
Is there anything you would like to see added to Backlog?
I would like to see an integration between Backlog and GoogleApps. I would like to use Backlog for the management of progress, and Google Apps for knowledge and know-how based documents, so I look forward to deeper cooperation with external applications.
Another good thing to have would be a white paper or an in-house written document for approvals.
What is your plan to use Backlog in the future?
Although we our head office is technically in Tokyo, the Fukuoka office is like a second head office because it has pieces of every department including our development department, marketing department, sales department, and so on. In the future, we are planning on using the two head offices in Tokyo and Fukuoka for new projects spanning not only product development but also other new business development initiatives. I would like to use Backlog for these upcoming projects.