6 Attributes to Look for in your Project Management Champion!

Have you ever been part of a team that is implementing or using a new tool or methodology and one of your team members is super excited and supportive of the new tool or methodology? This person may even be you! They do not take ‘no’ for an answer, and they spend their time encouraging others and keeping everyone’s eyes on the prize. This person is the “Champion” and there may be more than one. You want to have these people on your team. Similarly, project management champions are those individuals who have been formally or informally appointed to drive Project Management improvement within your team or organization. As I outline in my previous blog post on the 5 Critical Success Factors for Project Management Improvement – “Project management champions go above and beyond their typical role to advocate and ensure the success of project management within the organization. In the case of tackling project management improvement, they are the individuals who use their position and expertise to create a winning environment. The more project management champions you have and the more senior they are, the better!”   6 Attributes of Great Project Management Champions Project management champions can come…

5 Critical Success Factors for Project Management Improvement

For over twenty years, BrightWork has worked with customers across lots of sectors. In that time, we’ve learned a few things about successful project management!  In this blog post,  I outline the five factors we have identified as being essential for successful project management and project management improvement in any organization. To help you on your journey, I have included self-assessment questions to help you identify any missing factors. The practical implementation of the factors with three BrightWork customers is demonstrated in this free ebook.   1. Executive Sponsorship Definition: Senior management recognize Project Management as a strategic capability and necessity for the organization, and desires to improve this capability. Executive sponsorship can mean one senior executive is supporting a company effort or even better, the entire senior management team. The effort, in this case, is the improvement of project management across the company. Oftentimes, when you picture an executive sponsor, you see someone who has a “seat at the table” but is disconnected from the day to day running of the business.  They simply secure the funding and initial resources needed for a project and disappear until the project is completed. This is not the type of executive sponsorship…

2017 – What a Year It Has Been for the BrightWork Community!

As 2017 draws to a close and we celebrate all that has been, I wanted to take time to reflect on some of the endeavors of the past year. This year has been a busy one for the BrightWork community. Here are a few of the highlights.   1. Introducing “BrightWork Success” In January 2017, we launched BrightWork Success, an area of expertise designed specifically to help our customers accomplish more with BrightWork. With one login, customers can now easily access a range of BrightWork and Project Management training, resources, and support materials. If you are a customer, all you need to do to is request access here. If you are not a customer but want a sneak peek at the BrightWork Success content, simply visit here –  we’ve made some of the material open for you to enjoy too!       2. Forging New Partnerships with Nintex and TimeControl 2017 saw us welcome many new partners and some new software integrations. Two such partnerships were Nintex for workflow automation and TimeControl for time management. The Nintex Partnership By combining BrightWork with the point-and-click automation of Nintex, you will get faster and better Project Portfolio Management to make successful project decisions quicker.…

[Infographic] BrightWork New Release – Charting, Performance and Usability

This week BrightWork released a new version of our project portfolio management solution for SharePoint. This release is all about improving reporting performance, ease-of-use, and facilitating the delivery of training to new users. The highlights of this release are outlined in the infographic below. Enjoy and remember you can try out the advancements and more in our 30 Day FREE trial!      

The Latest Release of BrightWork Has Arrived – Gorgeously Simple Project Portfolio Management on SharePoint

Today, BrightWork announced the latest release of our project portfolio management solution for SharePoint.  Supporting our mission to deliver gorgeous simplicity to their software, the latest version of BrightWork is all about performance and ease-of-use to make it as easy as possible for customers to successfully manage projects and portfolios with SharePoint. “At BrightWork, our mission is to deliver a gorgeously simple project management solution based on SharePoint, to make project management success a reality for every organization,” says Éamonn McGuinness, CEO of BrightWork. According to Fintan Manning, VP of Engineering, ‘Usability is the first pillar of performance. With that in mind, we have focused on several new features and improvements to existing features to enhance usability and performance.’  He adds, ‘These features will make it easier to get started with projects quickly as well as when evolving your implementation over time.’   Key highlights of the new BrightWork release include: Charting The latest release introduces a new style of charting, offering a more modern and elegant look and feel.  In addition to the improved visualization, the charts are now interactive with hover-over functionality, the ability to highlight particular data sets, turn chart items on and off in the legend.  Other enhancements…

[CUSTOMER SPOTLIGHT] – Universal Health Services, Inc.

Company Overview Universal Health Services, Inc. is one of the largest and most respected hospital management companies in the United States. Founded in 1978 the company operates through its subsidiaries more than 350 acute care hospitals, behavioral health facilities and ambulatory centers in the US, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom. More than 81,000 dedicated and talented employees treat more than 2.5 million people each year in this Fortune 500 Company. In this interview, Michelle Boyes, Project Manager, explains how the PMO team is using BrightWork to deliver and manage multiple projects.   What is your experience of Project Management at Universal Health Services, Inc (UHS)? I have been a Project Manager with UHS for 8 years and I currently sit on the Project Management Office (PMO) team which falls under the corporate Information Services (IS) umbrella.   The PMO Team is a busy one: 9 team members Supporting 3 divisions of IS employees, 330+ employees: 1. Behavioral Health 2. Acute 3. Enterprise teams  Overseeing an average of 150+ active projects at any one time.     We use BrightWork for project portfolio management and have been doing so for 7+ years. The PMO team typically…

3 Ways To Kick-Start Your Project Management Career

From healthcare to construction, project managers are needed in all industries and organizations for a simple reason: project managers are responsible for getting things done! Some project managers are answerable for numerous roles in a project whilst others delegate roles and tasks to other project members. The project manager then ensures the project progresses smoothly. It’s often assumed if you’ve just recently finished formal education, you shouldn’t consider getting into a project management role as your first job. I disagree with this opinion. Project Management is now an integral part of most positions across all industries from entry level right up to senior management. In fact, many educational courses now consider project work as part of the overall evaluation of a student. I do agree that if you are just joining the workforce you will typically be looking for entry-level positions like analyst and co-ordinator roles. These types of roles will give you exposure to the project environment and, at the same time, allow you to build up both your technical and organizational knowledge. However, if you are jumping in at the deep end, here are some tips to stay afloat and kick-start a long, happy career in project management.  …

Cross Cultural Project Management: Recognize, Respect and Reconcile

Today, project managers need to be prepared to work with and manage multicultural teams that can span the globe. As Thomas Friedman’s book “The World is Flat” states –  if we are to remain competitive in a global economy, we must all be on a continuous journey of learning and curiosity. Many project managers believe that cultural differences can be as detrimental as outdated or inefficient technology is. The members of your project team live and express their culture every day. Instead of avoiding cultural differences, managers and teams should embrace them in a proactive manner. Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner describe 3 steps to help you steer your multicultural team in a triumphant direction. Here are the steps:   1.     Recognize and allow for cultural diversity Every human being is different with unique traits, skills, likes, and dislikes, which should be acknowledged from the outset. As the project manager, aim to understand the business culture of each member of your project. Research your team members. Find out the business culture they are used to working in. Have you worked with them before? Do you know someone who has or someone who can give you tips on how the team member works?…

4 Simple Steps to Successfully Plot a RACI Matrix

Understanding who is responsible for certain tasks and duties is essential for the success of any project. If these aren’t clearly defined, would anything ever be completed? One relatively straightforward model that can be used to clearly identify roles and responsibilities is the RACI Matrix. RACI is an acronym for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. For each task, an individual or group is assigned one or more of the four types of association. In this post, I outline the 4 associations, steps to create your own RACI Matrix, and reasons you might adjust your RACI matrix. I also provide a brief overview of some variations of the RACI matrix. RACI – The 4 Types of Association Responsible The group, role or individual who is assigned this association is in charge of performing the work. They complete this task. Depending on the size and scale of the project, there may be multiple parties “Responsible” for the task and in many cases, this group, role or individual is also “Accountable” for the task. Oftentimes, it is assumed that the Project Manager is “Responsible” for all tasks when in actual fact they should delegate if possible so that other members of the team…

A Quick Guide to 9 Essential Project Documents

What is going to be more successful –  a project with two or three project documents or a project with hundreds of project documents? Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” answer to that question; a well-run project may need either and all of the in-between. Projects can vary in size, deliverables, life cycle, scope and that is just the tip of the variable iceberg. What is certain is that project documentation should be clear, relevant and up to date. This will ensure all project stakeholders are on the same page at the same time. Expectations, requirements, resources and risks should be obvious to all from the outset. I recently asked some of my wider community for tips on project documentation and I have summarized my findings in the blog post below. Enjoy and feel free to add your own tips and thoughts in the comments section too!   Questions to Ask Before you Start Project Documentation Prior to kicking off the gathering or developing of project documentation, it is important you first have an understanding of why the project is happening and what type of governance the project may require. This will determine how much and what type…

How to Use Project Data for Better Decisions

Project management is the art of decision making. Every project needs a decision maker, the person responsible for making the big decisions – the project manager. The project manager is faced with multiple choices and should strive to choose the best option. However, when a decision is made, it triggers events that the decision-maker has no control over. Each combination of choices is followed by unique events which lead to an outcome with some measurable value. As Deepak Chopra, Founder of the Chopra Foundation, warns in his article “The Secret to Making Good Decisions” “One good decision can have positive repercussions for years, but so can one bad decision.” As the project manager, how do you present your choices as the best options that will lead to the greatest outcomes? You simply need to get the most accurate project data! Accurate project data will tell you what has happened, what is happening and what may happen. You can sometimes find this information through talking or meeting with the key people; stakeholders, project members, colleagues and team members. Another option is to look at reports and documents to understand what has or is happening. This will give you a snapshot from a point…

5 Women Leading the Way in IT Project Management

International Women’s Day (March 8th) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action. It marks a call to action for gender parity – not only for International Women’s Day, but for every day. This aim for equality infiltrates all industries and roles, including project management. In 2015 The Institute of Project Management Ireland published findings from their annual survey of practitioners that were eye opening: “41% of the respondents and practitioners were women” “When questioned about their role in Project Management, women were more likely than men to consider project management as their primary profession, though they were less likely than their male counterparts to work exclusively on projects, being more likely to spend 25-50% of their time working in Project Management related activities, and the remainder of their time in other roles.” “Looking at the variety of projects and teams, women are slightly more likely to work on a wider variety of projects compared to their male counterparts.” “When questioned about the type and value of projects undertaken, women are more likely to work on projects of a shorter duration and of a lower monetary value than their…

BrightWork Success – An Area of Expertise Just for You!

At BrightWork, our objective is to make it easy for you to manage projects successfully with SharePoint. This week we took the next step on that journey – BrightWork Success. BrightWork Success is an area of expertise designed specifically to help our customers accomplish more with BrightWork. With one login customers can now easily access an assortment of BrightWork and Collaborative Project Management training, resources, and support materials. If you are a customer, all you have to do to access this exclusive customer content is request access here. Our support team will be in touch once they can verify your customer status. If you are not a customer but want a sneak peek at the BrightWork Success content, simply visit here –  we’ve made some of the material open for you to enjoy too! BrightWork Success Membership includes access to: Help and FAQs An area created by our team so that our community can search for tips and knowledge about the BrightWork solution. Training Guides These training guides provide step-by-step instructions on how to use BrightWork to manage projects and portfolios on SharePoint 2013. Training Webinars These training webinars are 30 to 60 minute long videos that can help you learn how to…

This Thanksgiving, We’re Thankful for our Customers!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. It is one of those periods when we can take the time to reflect and think about the things in our lives that we are truly grateful for. A time to express this appreciation in a wholesome way and to be happy. At BrightWork, we’re especially thankful for all our families, friends, co-workers, customers, and community members like you! We wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings and hope you enjoy this great holiday season. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy. Here is a selection of some of the customers we are grateful to know and work with. If the turkey is taking too long in the oven or the football doesn’t quite keep your attention then take some time to read and watch their stories as well as many others. AmSurg standardizes project management processes with SharePoint templates. APi Group IT Uses BrightWork to Implement Software Across 50+ Subsidiary Companies. Ascend Performance Materials Increases Work Visibility by 40% using BrightWork. Camden National Bank Eliminates More Than 60% of Extra Project Documentation – With…

5 Project Management Stories from the Healthcare Sector

Healthcare organizations often need to track many medium-to-large projects at once. In one of the more scrutinized industries, project errors can be costly and can often bring down an organization. Hence there is a need for a project management tool that is reliable and scalable. With BrightWork, these organizations can install standard project management practices and get the visibility and transparency to know what is going on across large programs of projects and make better decisions. Here are 5 project management stories from Healthcare organizations using BrightWork: Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Track Project Milestones with BrightWork Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics manage 100+ projects of differing types (operations, new product development) at any given time. One of the major aspects of Siemens Healthcare project management process is Milestone Trend Analysis. This graphically illustrates time-related discrepancies with project milestones and how their finish date could change throughout the life cycle of a Project. Using a set of filters and workflows in SharePoint, a log is built in the background of the project site using SQL. Once the log is built, BrightWork uses SharePoint’s charting features to display a graphical chart which is fed from the log. The milestone log updates automatically, so the charts are…

Camden National Bank Aims to Eliminate 100% of Extra Project Documentation

Camden National Bank formed their Office of Project Management (OPM) in 2014 after experiencing a period of exponential company-wide growth. The aim was to get a better handle on the strategic portfolio of projects that the company was initiating. Prior to 2014, projects were managed independently along the different business lines; IT, Operations, Retail and Commercial. The level of documentation varied depending on who was managing a project and there were different formats and applications used; Microsoft Project, Microsoft Excel, SharePoint Sites, to name a few. The idea of an enterprise wide Collaborative Project Management (CPM) tool had been suggested multiple times over the years but it was only after the OPM was formed that the company felt it had sufficient resources to successfully roll it out. Camden National Bank had already been using SharePoint Sites but the sites weren’t consistent. After reviewing and researching multiple options, BrightWork was recommended to the executive team as the tool that would best fit this need for the standardisation of project sites, as well as the content and structures around them.   “We Realised Just How Powerful BrightWork & SharePoint Could Be” Deployment of the BrightWork collaborative project management tool began in late…

Quaker Chemical Customizes BrightWork to Meet Corporate Needs #2

Quaker had a poor history of effectively utilizing project management systems as they suffered from traction and user adoption issues. Lack of project management knowledge and tools that required the entry of many required fields also contributed to these challenges. John Dennis, Project Manager at the time, knew there was a need for a transformation in the Quaker approach to project management across all four of Quaker’s global geographical regions. As he spearheaded this initiative, John initially looked at the possibility of Quaker designing their own Project Management Information System (PMIS) within SharePoint but it was proving too expensive. John began researching online for an alternative solution and found BrightWork. Not only was BrightWork economical, John “discovered BrightWork had 98% of everything we needed.” Deployment of BrightWork was quick and seamless Quaker began and continues to use three BrightWork templates; Lite, Standard and Structured. The templates provide a starting point from which they can be customized, (further simplify and / or expand information requirements) although John admits there are actually very few required fields. The ability to scale back on the required fields for project set up is seen as the chief contributing factor to the successful user adoption of…

[Infographic] 7 Inspirational Quotes to Help You On Your Project Journey

Whether you’re studying for exams, tackling a huge project at work, or planning to take part in a marathon, you’re only going to succeed if you can stay motivated. For some that motivation comes easy but for others, it is more difficult to be inspired and stay energized. Be assured you are not alone in this obstacle, most of the greatest inventors and creators throughout history have hit stumbling blocks. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” – Thomas A. Edison. Add in team members,  a long and arduous project and this task becomes even more difficult. However having team members personally commit to your project’s success gives you the greatest chance of achieving it. A motivated team member will find it easier to go the extra mile and do all the necessary tasks that need to be done to assure success. Here is a fun infographic we’ve created with 7 inspirational quotes to help you through each step of the project journey. Take a look and if there are others that work for you or your team let me know in the comments below.          

Ascend Increases Work Visibility by 40% using BrightWork

In 2014, Ascend Performance Materials, a global premium provider of high-quality chemicals, fibers and plastics, decided the organization needed a clearer view of all projects regardless of the level of investment. After discussing their requirements at length with the company’s SharePoint administrator, Dennis Conley and Mohan Motupalli (PMO managers at Ascend) were pointed in the direction of the BrightWork Free Templates. After about 6 months of configuring and using the free templates and other home-grown SharePoint solutions for demand management, project management and portfolio management, the PMO began to look outside for a commercially-available project management tool based on SharePoint. It was then that Dennis and Mohan settled on the full BrightWork solution. Using an agile approach to deploying BrightWork, the team planned their requirements and built them, tested the results, made improvements and then moved on to the next function. This approach resulted in a three phase deployment; starting with demand management, then project collaboration sites and finally portfolio and reporting management. Over approximately six months the functional deployments were completed in the cloud, and after a two-month pilot period, the application was running in APM’s production environment. According to Dennis and Mohan: “The size of the BrightWork investment…