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.
Tell us about Weblio
Weblio operates an online dictionary service. We are currently the top ranking search result for ‘English translation’ in Google, the Apple Store, and more. We get about 300 million page views and 45 million unique users each month.
Our dictionary displays more than just the meaning of words; it provides 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 not ready to talk directly with native speakers.
Why did you decide to try Backlog?
We had been using a different project management tool called Pukiwiki for nearly ten years. We decided to add Backlog because Pukiwiki is difficult to teach to new employees and non-engineers. Getting everyone proficient in the program proves to be a struggle.
I used Backlog at my previous job and felt that it was well suited for non-engineers, with its user-friendly icons and helpful features like the Gantt chart.
However, since we have used Pukiwiki for ten years now, we cannot stop using it entirely. We are currently using it in parallel with Backlog. Because it’s hard to convince everyone to change at once, we are introducing it 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 services such as our online dictionary.
It helps us 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 conversations. 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 users, there are no restrictions on adding people. It’s easy to invite outside parties and begin collaborating quickly.
Second, file-sharing is 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.
Third, it’s much easier to tell who is responsible for what within each project. Many 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 also like to have a white paper or an in-house written document for approvals.
What is your plan to use Backlog in the future?
Although 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.