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On the path to digitalization: Aschaffenburg counts on Stackfield

5 min read

Highlights

  • Stackfield allows the city of Aschaffenburg to map processes sustainably and transparently
  • Internal communication was improved internally as well as with other departments resulting in noticeably less email traffic
  • Status and absence notes help the Municipal Administration to keep working smoothly even when someone isn't available at the time
  • Stackfield's support helps the city of Aschaffenburg successfully realize its digitalization efforts by providing them with fast and competent help at any time

About the city of Aschaffenburg

With approximately 70,000 inhabitants, the city of Aschaffenburg is the second largest city of Lower Franconia in Bavaria. Thilo Vormwald is head of the subject area concerning the construction of new buildings and is an enthusiastic advocate for agile working methods, in particular for the use of Stackfield, in the city authority. "For years we have kind of been at the forefront in the city of Aschaffenburg when it comes to digitalization. We were always on the cutting edge and tried managing our daily work with agile tools and methods."


Thilo Vormwald – Subject matter leader in the Aschaffenburg city department of civil engineering

Stackfield as a solution for tasks chaos and email ping-pong

New roads and canals, traffic engineering, civil engineering, and bodies of water: Thilo Vormwald's department has its hands full and it is no surprise that there are tons of tasks to handle. The department tried to tackle this large pool of information with various tools and especially on Microsoft products, the teams relied for a longer time. However, especially when the topic of data security gained a lot of relevance, they were forced to change their way of thinking.

Another problem: Communication was mostly handled via mail. Thilo Vormwald explains: "Each conversation that is held via mail will end at some point because this ping-pong game is simply excruciating. It is cumbersome and even more, it is problematic content-wise. Because of this, we were desperately searching for a tool that could map everything in a simple manner." Thilo Vormwald started searching for a suitable alternative and in a short matter of time, his attention was pulled towards Stackfield. The city authority was convinced right from the beginning: On Stackfield, project work and communication were finally securely possible altogether.

Gradual conversion to digital processes

The introduction to new software tools usually follows a specific pattern in the city of Aschaffenburg: First, a small team of two to three workers is created. Next, the tool is subjected to rigorous testing in a specific subject area. Only when the software has proven itself in a restricted period of time, the use will be broadened. "The team's feedback during this testing phase is important so we know how to win everybody over when expanding," explains Thilo Vormwald.

With Stackfield, the team focused on the area of property drainage. The team wanted to try managing the administration of all planning documents centrally within the room. Herefore, the responsible people created a task card for each process, meaning for each building permit. Next, all information that was available for the respective permit was added to the card. Incoming documents were digitalized, if not already done so, and added to the task, and the internal communication was moved to the comment section. This way, the team accomplished to successfully map the whole process and was able to concentrate on larger processes in the aftermath. "Over the course of half a year, we have smoothed out the rough edges. This worked well and we were able to expand."

"Mapping processes sustainably and transparently"

Today, the city of Aschaffenburg handles "an incredible amount" of processes with Stackfield. Whether it's the mapping of real estate transactions, the monitoring of projects that are brought to the city councilor, or the management of citizen requests and complaints. Citizen requests, for example, receive their own task cards and ID. As the civil engineering department has to formulate a statement, meaning a letter of response, for each request often communication with other departments is necessary. To ensure that nobody loses their overview during the process and that all information is accessible sustainably, the process, including the gathering and dissemination of information for the creation of the final document, is mapped entirely on Stackfield. For this purpose, the requests are moved between the different columns of the Kanban board until the final answer is verbalized.

"We are already in a pretty good spot when it comes to the civil engineering department and we try to add more information step-by-step and to work even more agile. On Stackfield, new components are being added constantly, which makes work increasingly more pleasant, efficient, fast, and sustainable."

A network across departments

Now, communication, especially in the civil engineering department, is mostly handled via Stackfield. "We hardly write each other internal emails anymore," Thilo Vormwald recounts while praising Stackfield's chat features. Even with other departments additional "network structures" are being built. For example, individual departments of the urban planning office, the IT department, and even parts of the utility company are being involved.

"We have the goal to intensify our spider web of connections. The urban planning office, for example, is like a satellite that we have connected. Here, we are setting a positive example to convince more colleagues. […] We definitely want to keep growing with Stackfield and keep following this path that we are currently on."

For external people, Stackfield's special user roles are extensively utilized. "Occasionally, we invite engineering firms as Guests, and our service providers have their own licenses." This not only allows communication to continue seamlessly but also ensures access to relevant files, documents, and records."

Up to date with status and absence note

When being asked whether work can continue as usual with Stackfield's help, even when somebody is missing from work, Thilo Vormwald nods without hesitation: "Absolutely! This is one of the strengths of agile tools, especially Stackfield. I have the possibility to freely assemble the team that will be working on a project or on a task and the information is sustainably documented and accessible." For this purpose, the city of Aschaffenburg makes use of the status including the absence note as it shows whether a person is currently available and if not, why and when they will be back.

Hats off to the support team

At the end of the interview, Thilo Vormwald emphasizes the following: "What impresses me incredibly and what I haven't experienced in this form with any software provider before is Stackfield's support: incredibly fast, agile, friendly, sustainable, and competent. It's more than impressive. We provide information or ask questions, and within a few minutes, we receive a response or at least an initial contact. That's incredible. What also helps a lot is the knowledge database and the information integrated into the e-learning center. Fantastic! A software can be excellent, but it needs to somehow connect with the people who use it. And that can only happen if the whole package is easy to handle or if the questions that naturally arise during work are answered somewhere." Thanks to the positive experiences with Stackfield, the city authority is determined to continue working with the tool on the digitalization of the city of Aschaffenburg.

"The overall package is a great fit and helps us work in a focused and agile manner. We are absolutely thrilled and will gladly continue on this path together."

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Cristian Mudure
About the Author:
Cristian Mudure is the Founder and CEO of Stackfield. He loves digital business models and spends his spare time on the tennis court.
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