When you’re heading up a change programme that spans three different areas of a business, you need a way to bring everything together consistently in one place.
But with dozens of project management and delivery platforms on the market, how do you choose one?
We spoke to Leon Reynolds, Head of Projects and Delivery for specialist professional recruitment group Robert Walters, about the challenges of managing and delivering change.
And of course, we asked why he chose Sharktower as the platform to help him deliver those transformational goals.
At the start of the decision-making process, which challenges did you need to overcome?
"Well there's always something that can be streamlined or a leaner way in which we can get to a positive outcome. But also, we were not necessarily high investors within technology. That led to a lot of the technologies we used coming to end of life, and us effectively sweating the asset out to the point of us needing to move very quickly in order to catch up with the rest of the field and ultimately get ahead of the curve."
How important is the ability to collaborate in one place?
"Very important. As you can imagine, all three brands have different demands in terms of the way they expect to delivery to happen for them. And at the same time, there is also a need for us to ensure operational excellence that means we can transition any deliveries as well. All in all, that leads to busy life for me, a lot of juggling. But at the same time, it's always been apparent that we need a tool that will bring all into place in one area, and because there are many different things that we need to be covering. For instance, we need to look at the resource management side of things, and we need to look at the capability-building that is needed within our teams.
In addition to that, just the general collaboration to make sure that there isn't any disconnect between the three brands."
“I look back to the dark days of just managing in Excel. We've done that and we've progressed to require something more.”
What have you used in the past to manage change?
"I look back to the dark days of just managing in Excel. We've done that and we've progressed through MS project and gone on to require something more: a project portfolio management tool.
We've looked at individual task management tools, as well as time management tools. And we evolved past that and started looking into tools you can use with change management - Kanban-esque style tools - which ultimately led to having eight or nine different tools trying to do similar things but from different angles. That's what led us to look for something in the market that can satisfy all of those needs, and ultimately to Sharktower."
When did know you needed a better way of delivering change?
"We had been using a PPM tool, but a PPM tool traditionally has a lot of constraints in that you have licensing constraints, the different abilities you're able to have dependent upon permissions, and it can become quite an expensive ends to the means.
So when I started looking for a new tool, I was looking for something that could marry up the traditional way of working, as well as bringing in some of what is more non-traditional agile. I really wanted to drive through the idea of value based outcomes, and therefore pushing the idea and making sure that others were able to see the objectives that we've got for a particular project, and run through those key results. That was something that I wasn't able to do with the previous tool that we had. So that was probably one of the main priorities I had when looking for a new one."
"The difference I found when looking and ultimately finding Sharktower was that the UI was something that always made life easier."
Why did you choose Sharktower over other project delivery platforms?
One of the things about a lot of traditional PPM tools is they're based on some of the traditional project management software that has been out there from yesteryear. So you don't get that much innovation in the UI you're dealing with - that then makes it difficult when you bring on new staff, because you're training them to use something that doesn't have the usability you need.
The difference I found when looking and ultimately finding Sharktower was that the UI was something that always made life easier. For example, Sharktower brings the idea or plan on the page to life in comparison to just having a Gantt chart. Likewise, the ability to then flick into the kanban, rather than going into your traditional linear project plan again brings to life the collaboration between the different teams, as well as for the actual project manager that is trying to control and coordinate what's going on within the project.
And it was those things that ultimately ticked the boxes that led from just having a chat about Sharktower to making it a serious contender."
What difference has Sharktower made to your organisation and your people?
"Hands down it's the collaboration. It's a cultural change because you're ultimately flattening out the project team. We're a traditional company that did things in a traditional way, and Sharktower has allowed us to put the accountability into the hands of different people within the team and let them know that it's okay for that accountability to be theirs. That's been the biggest effect that is had. In terms of the actual teams that user.
One thing that Sharktower has definitely been able to do is help us keep on task and on-agenda for particular meetings. The features for running stand-ups and so on have helped no end. It helps the project manager to manage, and it also keeps all of the rest of the teams adhering to that. I've been on a number of calls where I've seen team members jump into, say "hey, keep an eye on time. We're on our way out." So, it just keeps that cadence, it just keeps that frequency, and it keeps that bounce going through the meetings that we have.
The meetings we run in Sharktower are a lot more purposeful than the ones that were happening beforehand, and when you start looking at that, and the kind of reporting we're able to get out of Sharktower, it really adds value. And when I balance that against the OKRs that we go through on a regular basis, the benefit, not only to my teams and the project teams that are working within that, but also the stakeholders outside of Sharktower that are actually consumers of that data is quite priceless."