Our mission is to make project and portfolio management on SharePoint easier so you can reach your goals.
At BrightWork, we know you rely on project and portfolio management to innovate and grow.
We also know many projects fail as teams lack the tools and guidelines to collaborate successfully.
We created our software to help organizations achieve successful collaborative project and portfolio management on Microsoft SharePoint.
BrightWork is a long-time Microsoft ISV (Independent Software Vendor) Partner with offices in Galway, Ireland, and Boston, USA.
Using the philosophy of ‘Start-Evolve’, we help our customers to gain immediate visibility into the status of projects and gradually evolve project management maturity in their own time.
In 1995, Éamonn McGuinness (BrightWork CEO) was working with organizations to deploy project management processes.
He quickly noticed two trends amongst his customers.
Firstly, the new processes worked well for a few months, but the improvements didn’t last beyond 12-18 months. With so much time needed to keep these manual processes up-to-date, people soon fell back into old habits.
Secondly, customers were using email and spreadsheets to manage projects with no real visibility into progress.
What customers needed was a way to get more visibility and automate processes to help teams manage projects easily.
With a vision for a new product to make project management easier for customers, Éamonn started the company that would deliver BrightWork.
Growth and Expansion
To find out if customers were interested in this new software, the idea was sketched onto five sheets of paper as a demo tool.
This sketch was enough to get positive feedback from five potential customers – a good sign we were on to something!
The question of funding was tackled next. In 1995, venture capital for start-up software companies was not yet available in Ireland. Éamonn decided to invest the family savings into the company. In addition, two customers agreed to help fund the software as it was developed.
The first engineer joined the team in January 1996 and work continued on the new product.
The First Release
The first release of the aimware Suite, based on Lotus Notes, was shipped in 1996.
aimware refers to ‘’aiming for increases in work and project management maturity with software’’.
The software helped organizations deliver better projects quickly and at a lower cost. Early customers included Eastman Kodak, Motorola, Dun and Bradstreet, and Bank of Chicago.
The Road to SharePoint
1998 was a busy year. We opened our Boston office and began developing a product for Microsoft Exchange.
We shipped ‘TeamCentral’, a web-based collaborative project management solution for Exchange in early 2000.
The technology landscape was also changing. Organizations had started to move from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange for email. As Microsoft was promoting Exchange as a competitor to Lotus Notes in the collaboration space, we decided to switch to Microsoft Exchange Webstore as our development platform.
Shortly after the TeamCentral release on Exchange, a Microsoft team started working on a project called ‘Tahoe’, which would deliver the first version of Microsoft SharePoint in 2001.
Seeing the potential in this new collaborative offering and following advice from Microsoft, we moved platforms again from Exchange to SharePoint.
BrightWork: A New Direction
Reflecting our new focus on SharePoint, aimware was rebranded as BrightWork in 2003.
BrightWork is the first project management application built on the SharePoint platform. We have released a version of our software for SharePoint 2001/2007/2010/2013/2016 and 2019.
To help our customers quickly see the benefits of managing projects on SharePoint, we launched our free SharePoint Project Management Template in 2014. Many Free Template users have become BrightWork customers, including Amazon. A new, improved version of the template was released in 2018.
Thanks to offering and integrations with partners such as Project Hosts, Nintex, and TimeControl (HMS Software), we continue to serve the growing and diverse needs of our customers across all sectors.
Our First Book
Project management needs more than just technology; it’s about people, process, and leadership.
In recent years, there has been a move away from the traditional managerial hierarchies to a more collaborative approach to managing projects, which emphasizes teamwork and cooperation.
To help our customers make this shift, we published a free, online guide to collaborative project management written by Éamonn in 2010. This guide later evolved into our self-published ‘Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook’. The first edition was published in 2016 with a second edition in 2017.
The Next Chapter: Project Central
In 2018, we started the next chapter of our story with the launch of Project Central, a visual, simple, and dynamic way to manage projects using Office 365.