How financial-tech firm 'build, measure, learn' with Podio

Hypothesis-driven development – the process of validating ideas and assumptions to guide the building of a product – is common practice in modern design and engineering teams. But in marketing and creative departments, working in this way is quite new and very rarely seen.

With the guidance of CEO Alastair Douglas, have embarked on a wider implementation of this methodology – taking it beyond their product team to transform how their business runs. I visited their team, based in London’s tech-hub Old Street, to learn more and capture their story on video:

The marketing team at wanted to collaborate in a way that kept communications focused and productive to nurture their creative process, but were struggling with the new lean way of working. When Alastair Douglas looked to find a solution that would trade in chaos for structure he discovered Podio. He explains why it was the perfect fit:

“Before Podio, although our marketing team were producing a lot of fantastic creative work, the process could be disorganised and was causing problems. Firstly we didn’t have a formal process for initiating projects, so there would be lots of requests coming in from across the business and they were tracked in a completely ad-hoc manner. And secondly, things that were produced weren’t necessarily used, meaning that there was a lot of ‘work in progress’ that wasn’t delivering any value.

“People were just leaning on people they knew, or who they’d worked with recently to get stuff done. And finally, there wasn’t one place where you could look to check that there was a log about when something had been signed-off and, if changes were required, who’d authorized them.”

photo of Alastair Douglas, CEO of
Alastair Douglas – CEO

“Because we’re FCA regulated and want to do the right thing by our customers, we take compliance incredibly seriously and it’s very important that we have a very clear audit trail so you can check what was signed off and when.

“Our technology team has been agile for a long time, but we wanted to work this way across the organization. So we thought we’d experiment with weekly sprints in marketing and using a hypothesis-driven development technique, which means every single project has to be written out as as a ‘we believe’ statement with very clear measurement and success criteria. So as part of that we wanted a tool that could support an agile process, something that was flexible, and we found Podio to be that tool,” explained Alastair Douglas.

How they do it in Podio

At the marketing team now use a workspace to plan sprints and manage their creative production.
When a project manager adds a new creative brief, they’re automatically alerted when the status moves, or a file is updated, so feedback is timely and given in a structured way – the team is always clear on project specifics, and avoid disruptions and time spent sending progress reports.

Screenshot of an item from the Creative briefs app

The card layout gives a clear view of the creatives they’re currently working on, and their current status so the team can better plan and prioritize which creatives should be completed and when.

They have streamlined their sign-off process using category fields in the Creatives app. A simple report lets the responsible people quickly filter on the creatives they need to approve before they can go live. Now the team can launch creatives quickly and jobs no longer get held up in the previously arduous approval process.

Screenshot of the overview of the status on all creative briefs in the Creatives app

The Sprints app contains a calculation that automatically updates the sprint weight whenever an action (small, quick tasks), creative (larger collaborative jobs), or content deliverable is connected to a sprint. Now the team commits to a prioritized set of jobs during a week-long sprint so an optimal amount of work is assigned to the period.

At, Podio helps the functional teams track learnings and results with reports that help them grow and improve with every project. And what’s more, the management team has a real-time pulse of what is happening across the business and this visibility arms them with the insight they need to craft an informed forecast.

From recruiting new employees, to tracking coverage links for creative content, they’ve shown that Podio really can do it all. Given Podio’s success, they continue to roll out new workflows and make quick tweaks so keep existing ones optimized.

With one place to collaborate and work, moves faster than ever. Collaborating on Podio saves considerable time and gives the team the freedom they need to deliver their best work – swapping out chaos for an agile way of working that helps them stay ahead of their competition.

Seeing the team celebrate the end to another great week, it became clear that working smarter on Podio has also made for a happy and close-knit team – a necessity in the vibrant world of tech city where the difficult job of retaining talent is crucial for the success and growth of every business.