Projects: Planview’s ‘No Matter How You Work’ Approach

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    Talking about work can be fun when you see “vicious nodding going on,” says Planview Senior Vice President of Product Management and Solutions Marketing Louise Allen. That’s been her experience when discussing with clients ways to incorporate a more comprehensive view of all of the work being done across an organization and its projects, both for project managers and for others in management.

    The conversations include the company’s “No Matter How You Work” initiative, which is designed to address the fact that so much daily, unstructured, collaborative work is not captured or reported by traditional project portfolio management tools, let alone understood. Companies are eager, says Allen, to find new ways to support vital collaborative work:

    “We’ve heard from a lot of people in a number of industries, where they’ve had other approaches, like waterfall, for example, but they’re seeing more hybrid, agile, and more highly structured, worlds all converging quickly. They’re seeing where things are headed. There’s another group of work that doesn’t need that structure; it needs more collaboration, it needs to be quicker. This could be in IT or any other division, it doesn’t matter. Often, it’s happening in two environments, and you see more structure in one, but not in another.”

    Of course, those traditional project portfolio management tools can’t handle all the ways people are getting work done now. And managers want to know more about how work is getting done. Planview’s approach, integrating its Planview Enterprise platform with Projectplace, its “smart project collaboration solution,” is appealing not only to larger enterprises, but to smaller companies and teams. It’s also garnered Planview a Leader position in the 2015 Gartner “Magic Quadrant for IT Project and Portfolio Management Software Applications, Worldwide.”

    “IT is Planview’s largest customer segment, and we feel that our designation in the Leader’s quadrant by Gartner is further validation that we are on the leading edge of helping IT organizations continuously optimize all of their resources,” said Patrick Tickle, chief product officer at Planview, in a statement. “Through our organic product development and recent acquisitions of Troux and Projectplace, Planview is enabling CIOs and other IT leaders to more effectively tie strategy to execution, resulting in more innovation, higher levels of service, and improved financial performance no matter how they work.”

    With so many elements changing work at once, from mobile applications to global partners to BYOD and BYOA, clients are often finding themselves in one of those “I didn’t even know I needed this, but I see that I do now,” moments, says Allen.

    “Product launches are a perfect example of the type of collaboration that often falls through the cracks. These typically are centered in marketing, but require company-wide, collaborative, global teams. People are not in the same room, but they need to assign tasks, work with external partners, coordinate with external PR firms, and more.”

    When I asked Allen how the project manager fits in, if the firm has one, I was wondering if there is a perceived threat with this concept. She said it’s a common question, but not a common problem.

    “Traditional PMOs often ask about change. But again, think of it as another new way to work. If you want to get visibility into work overall, this is how you can do that. You end up with a really nice picture of what’s going on, and you can see where the efficiencies lie. Rather than being a threat, it’s empowering the project manager, who knows that not everything needs the same level of project management rigor or control. Through visibility into thought projects, how people are doing work, getting a global view, and better ideas of cost, it ends up redefining what they’re doing, and creating a new breed of project manager.”

    So, taking into account that the way that people work has already changed, how do you take the lead and go about changing the way people work again, and incorporating new collaboration tools? Allen says the key is using success steps that you would use in other implementations.

    “I think you start by asking yourself a series of questions:

    How do you want to work?

    How dynamic does it need to be?

    Is this the most efficient way, or is it more impactful and need the PPM tool?

    Maybe what we have is hybrid, and needs both tools for visibility across the organization?

    Who is using this approach?

    Our traditional buyer is the PMO, but it’s expanding, going viral, so to speak. Now, the PMO, marketing managers, team leaders, IT, other line of business managers, are all asking all of the above and need to track it.”

    Kachina Shaw is managing editor for IT Business Edge and has been writing and editing about IT and the business for 15 years. She writes about IT careers, management, technology trends and managing risk. Follow Kachina on Twitter @Kachina and on Google+

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