August 24, 2018
How 4 Teams Improved Efficiency with Better Collaboration
By Sherry Arnold | Customer Advocacy Manager at Workfront
Are you the type of person who sees effective work practices and silently wonders how they’re done? Or do you proactively ask questions to get the information you need right now, so you can be more effective in your current tasks? Turns out many Workfront champions are the latter.
At the 2018 LEAP user conference, I had the privilege of talking to many strategic professionals working hard to optimize organizational processes. One visionary process expert made a comment about the strengths of those in attendance that stuck with me. She said, "We see what's possible and set our minds to achieving it by rethinking processes and the way work gets done."
Championing and managing change within an organization isn't easy, but it's possible (and worth the gains). Here are a few examples of how colleagues' curiosity and commitment to working better led to improved efficiency.
Loyola University Maryland
Loyola University Maryland has used Workfront for its project portfolio management for nearly a decade. "It’s been a revolutionary process," says Richard Sigler, Director, PMO. “From automatic charter generation based on the business case to providing just the right reports to just the right people — there are so many ways to innovate inside of Workfront and that’s especially good for us because we want to constantly improve the services we offer using existing systems.”
The Workfront integration started with Loyola’s Technology Services department and now includes marketing, facilities, and undergraduate admissions departments as well. Specifically, team members on the marketing team rely heavily on key Workfront features to complete the nearly 1,000 projects the team receives each year:
Templates streamline tasks. The department leverages 15 different activity templates to avoid starting jobs from scratch and make work flow faster.
Resource features help balance workloads. The traffic manager can get an at-a-glance view of capacity to ensure assignments are appropriately distributed.
Real-time commenting within projects helps ensure visibility. With Workfront’s social-media style communications wall, team members can continually collaborate, update, and tag each other as projects progress.
Digital proofing prevents jobs from being delayed. The team trusts automated online review workflows to keep work on track, saving time on proof feedback.
“We put a great deal of effort into constantly reevaluating the systems we have in place to ensure that what we are using makes us more efficient and more productive users of tuition dollars and donor dollars, and we want to also ensure that the systems themselves are not over burdensome,” says Nick Alexopulos, associate director of media relations and social media at Loyola. “Workfront helps us be more efficient.”
Loyola is also pioneering a public relations (PR) use case with Workfront, relying on the solution to track diverse, wildly unpredictable, and undefined request work. Now within Workfront, the team has created several larger projects to track miscellaneous requests that may or may not have a final product—from providing a spokesperson quote for an article to reviewing partner promotional material to supplying campus photos for a story.
Like Loyola, Caselle, a company that makes government account software, was seeking greater process efficiency and staff productivity.
More than a decade ago, the company's development organization looked to more efficiently track software fixes and defects. The team wanted to eliminate manual processes that involved passing binders between team members that outlined development processes and included notes from developers. “We selected Workfront but it just wasn’t a good fit for defect tracking,” recalls Jeff Hales, project manager within development at Caselle. However, it would turn out to work well for project tracking.
Facing a growing backlog, the company's implementation team needed a project tracking solution that would provide the transparency management needed to understand how and where—internally or externally—projects were stalling. The implementation team also wanted to better understand resourcing patterns by identifying task milestones, assigning them, and tracking how long they were taking versus expected time to completion. With more accurate and reliable data, the implementation team hoped to accelerate projects and improve reporting.
Today, both the Caselle IT development department and the implementation team rely on Workfront to track projects. Within IT, Workfront supports agile and waterfall development projects. “Workfront is effective for both departments, and the way their individual teams deliver projects,” explains Hales. “As an enterprise work management solution, Workfront is really good for us.”
“For project management, Workfront is by far the best solution that I've ever seen," adds David Longhurst, Vice President of Implementation and Training, Caselle.
Significant organizational change — either through management turnover or merger and acquisition — can also lead to the expansion of best practices process improvements across the organization. The creation of RWJBarnabas Health is one example.
The IT PMO at Barnabas Health had begun an initiative to centralize clinical systems and promote meaningful use. The provider deployed Workfront so stakeholders could efficiently collaborate and leaders would have a single view of tasks with transparency across all projects. Soon customized reports and dashboards replaced spreadsheets and teams became better aligned. In 2013, more than 300 Barnabas Health IT, facilities management, and engineering team members relied on Workfront for project management. The result was a 25% increase in project capacity.
Then in April 2016, Barnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson Health System teamed to become RWJBarnabas Health, the most comprehensive healthcare delivery system in New Jersey. At the merger's close, the combined RWJBarnabas Health IT team began to manage, track, and report on projects in Workfront. Today, greater visibility into RWJBarnabas Health IT portfolio and integration initiatives through the work management solution is helping to accelerate digital transformation and enable the organization to meet merger savings goals.
After seeing colleagues in the Dignity Health Performance Excellence Group eliminate 38 spreadsheets and gain an estimated 25% project management time savings from Workfront, Dignity Health wanted other groups also to standardize, coordinate, and improve visibility of best practices using the Workfront Enterprise Work Management solution.
The success of Workfront within Dignity Health’s Performance Excellence Group led the company to invest in the solution to support other groups with project management requirements, including the Dignity Health Enterprise PMO and the Medical Foundation PMO. Increased collaboration within Workfront between members of the Performance Excellence Group and the Enterprise PMO is expected to increase productivity.
“When anyone with process or project responsibility at Dignity Health sees Workfront, they are immediately interested in using it because they can instantly see the value that greater visibility across the enterprise provides,” concludes Lauren Krikke, Project Manager, Enterprise PMO.
According to an old proverb, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but when it's applied across functions and involves Workfront as it does in these enterprise cases, it's just good business.