#AmazingPM, ALLinPPM, Innovation, Knowledge, project management

Recognizing the Wins of Failure

We’ve all heard stories of famous failures – in sports, in music, in medicine, in invention…  our entertainment is replete with fictional versions of the same.  What is it that fascinates us about failure?  And how can we use failure as a springboard for success?

Most of us also remember first-hand experiences with failures of our own that shaped our lives.

 Here are a few of the gifts that failure offers.getty_168325476_349217

Failure Clarifies and Refines Motivation and Goals

Sometimes failure is an invitation to delve more deeply into a personal and profound understanding of the ancient Greek aphorism, “know thyself”.  Whether the failure is with the optimal recipe for your favorite desert, the design of an alternative energy mode of transportation, or an aspect of your interpersonal relationships, failure helps us to become clear on the fine details and essential elements of what you really want.

Failure Inspires and Fuels Determination and Stamina

There is nothing quite like falling on your face, literally or metaphorically, to connect with your grit!  Failure, especially public failure, is a situation most people typically find intensely uncomfortable.  These unpleasant feelings provoke an equally or more intense resolve to overcome the obstacles just encountered – along with any other potential roadblocks that may arise.  In this way, failure drives the perseverance required to get the job done.

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Failure Builds and Fortifies Courage and Action

failure

While anticipation of failure may lead to dithering indecision, actual failure, ironically, often leads to focused achievement in the face of fear.  The experience of failure alters your outlook on conceived outcomes.  If “the worst” has already happened, then you are more willing to risk ABC (Audacious-Bold-Courageous) measures towards the potential of living your goal.

So, now that you recognize the wins of failure, fail fast and fail often!!!

This piece was written by Sylvie Fortier, one of the Project Managers at Innovative-e. Sylvie Fortier is an experienced leader of culturally and geographically diverse technical and non-technical teams.  She has contributed to fledgling start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, and organizations in-between, supporting functions from strategy development to full product lifecycle management.  Whatever the role, Sylvie is passionate about cultivating creativity, innovation, and the pursuit of continuous improvement – for individuals, their teams, and society at large.  She is particularly fond of Thai food and delights in photography, travel, and SCUBA diving as well as everyday adventures with her teenage twins.

#AmazingPM, ALLinPPM, News, PPM

Better Project Management Improves Lives

Reflecting our ongoing commitment to improving lives with all-in PPM, last month Innovative-e was named a finalist in the Project and Portfolio Management category of the 2019 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards.  Microsoft will officially recognize us for this honor next week at the Microsoft Inspire Conference in Las Vegas.  In the next several blog posts, we’d like to tell you what Innovative-e’s finalist status, as well as our partnership with Microsoft and other world-class solutions providers, means for you.

Innovative-e believes that better project management can improve quality of life in a number of ways.

Effective project management is easier with better tools, processes and training

easy buttonIsn’t your life improved when a task you anticipate being difficult is easier than you expected? Easier is usually better than harder. Innovative-e’s approach to work and project management focuses on making it easier to work on a day-to-day basis.

Innovative-e’s solutions make sure there is a single source of truth for portfolios and projects so that everyone who needs to know has access to complete and up-to-date information to help them do their jobs effectively. This includes Program Managers, Project Managers, Leaders and Stakeholders, and the rank-and-file.

Innovative-e’s process leverages tools and processes that eliminate the need to cobble together disparate tools (spreadsheets, email threads, etc.) to manage projects in a siloes, reducing the chances for info to fall between the cracks. This improves not just the ease of managing work, but the efficiency and value, which is a win for your customers as well as your team.

 “…. the most critical value we have gotten since implementing our solution [with Innovative-e] is the ability to help restore trust in IT.  Now that we have the solution in place and a plan for moving forward, we enjoy a better, more collaborative environment where trust is being restored among the team because we are now able to deliver on our promises.” – C. P., Director, Project Management Office – Information Technology

  1. Easier is better for your team. Happy workers are more productive workers.
  2. Better processes even out the workload so that no one person or group is overloaded trying to compensate for poor processes.
  3. Implementing well-designed and -deployed solutions enables business teams to deliver better work to their customers.

We at Innovative-e know from experience that teams thrive and customers and stakeholders receive higher value. When our customers adopt properly designed and deployed solutions, their lives are improved. Creating this reality one customer at a time is our mission and our passion!

2019 PPM Partner - Innovative-e

With more than two decades of proven experience designing and helping customers implement business solutions, Innovative-e is delighted to be recognized by Microsoft as a world-class practitioner of PPM and business best practices.

For more information about Innovative-e being named a finalist in the 2019 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award for PPM, click here. To learn more about what Innovative-e does for and with its customers, visit our website at www.innovative-e.com or drop us a line at info@innovative-e.com.

In our next blog post, we will explore our customers’ discovery that Microsoft Project Online is a complete end-to-end solution that makes their work easier to manage.

 

#AmazingPM, adoption, Innovation, project management

3 fundamentals to help you maximize innovation!  

Is your organization as ready for innovation as you’d like it to be?  rQUSh

Innovative organizations embrace cultures that reward original and pioneering thought.  Within innovative organizations, change is welcome and responsive work structures are in place to manage continuous transformation. 

While there are many factors that contribute to innovation, corporate climate is a crucial consideration that often is either overlooked altogether or not given the attention it deserves.  Below are three fundamental prerequisites to a healthy innovative culture.  Read on to assess how your organization stacks up: 

Freedom 

Innovation requires the freedom and flexibility to ‘think outside the box’ as well as seek and share knowledge. 

  • Can your people exercise discretion in their day-to-day schedule and in the determination of how their tasks are completed?   
  • How much freedom do they have in defining their own work?   
  • Do associates feel free take initiative? 

Engagement 

Innovation requires attention and commitment to a worthy endeavor. 

  • Do your people know and understand the organization’s vision and long-term goals?   
  • Are they appropriately challenged? 
  • Are they excited about what they do and motivated to contribute to a dynamic operation? 

Diversity of Perspectives 

Innovation requires a fresh approach. 

  • Are your people willing to suggest ideas for new products or processes?   
  • Does your organization welcome new ideas and genuinely explore them?   
  • Is failure tolerated? 

Take an Innovation Challenge! 

One way to crush the dimensions above and optimize business results is to run an innovation challenge.  Innovation Challenges are an engaging way to gather authentic and wide-ranging insights into real business issues. 

You start by soliciting ideas from whomever you deem appropriate – employees, customers, supply chain partners, etc.  Next, as the ideas roll in, crowdsourcing feedback often yields surprising and valuable results; results that would be unattainable by other means.  Finally, determining how to rank and select (and when to implement) the most promising of ideas delivered in your innovation challenge is completely up to you.  While the core elements remain the same, the details can be as unique as you and your organization.  Here’s to your success – happy innovating! 

 Have you run or participated in an innovation challenge?  If so, please drop a comment below (or email us at info@innovative-e.com) and share your what has worked for you! Do you have other keys to success to share? 

#AmazingPM, Events, News, PPM, project management

Innovative-e: Going places. Come with us!

We’ve been going a lot of places and doing a lot of things in the last few months!

you are here pinJune 6, 2018, Everywhere
We were a Silver Sponsor at the Project Virtual Conference, a one-of-a-kind  24-hour virtual conference (free to attend!) focused on Microsoft Project, Project Server, and Project Online. Supported by the Microsoft Project Community, this conference was designed to help attendees best use Microsoft PPM tools to address their business problems and derive maximum business value.
June 12-14, National Harbor, Maryland
We explored the theme, “Pioneer, Partner, Build Bridges” at the annual Gartner PPM Summit in National Harbor, Maryland. One of our customers presented showing how we helped his organization implement Microsoft PPM tools to transform his PMO. Check out our short video recap of the whole amazing event!
you are here pinJuly 10-14, Washington, DC
We joined hundreds of Microsoft partners at Microsoft Inspire to see innovations Microsoft had planned for partners (that’s us!) and the customers those partners serve (that’s you!). These new technologies and enhancements to the products and services you already know and love are designed to help organizations achieve transformation, realize value, and stay on the cutting edge in a modern business environment that often changes with breakneck speed.
August 16 and September 19, Everywhere
We presented “Rapid and Sustainable PM: 3 Steps to Success” to highlight our proven 3-step process to achieving #AmazingPM with a
solid foundation, team empowerment, and a focus on adoption and
growth. Did you miss it? Watch the webinar on demand!
you are here pinSeptember 2018, Innovative-e HQ
We achieved another Silver competency with Microsoft. We currently have the following Microsoft competencies:
  • Gold, Project & Portfolio Management
  • Gold, Collaboration & Content
  • Gold, Application Development
  • Silver, Small & Midmarket Cloud Solutions
  • Silver, Cloud Productivity
These competencies mean we have achieved and exceeded Microsoft’s standards as partner providers of these products and services to customers like you, ensuring that you are getting the best products, serviced by a highly qualified provider.
September 12-14, Las Vegas, Nevada
We headed to Las Vegas for the Digital Transformation Academy conference with Microsoft. Digital Transformation is a hot topic these days. Do you know what to do with it? We do. Email us for more info!
you are here pinSeptember 24-28, Orlando, FL
We attended Microsoft Ignite virtually (living in the future with work-anywhere capability is so great!) The theme of this year’s event was, “Creating a more secure, intelligent and connected enterprise.” Check out this roundup with all the key announcements and news from Ignite.
October 2-3, Boston, Massachusetts
We were in Boston to present our customer’s success story at a Microsoft PPM Summit. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Health and Human Services strategized innovation and implemented PPM technology to achieve change. We showed how transformation can be approached with three simple steps to ultimately deliver value continuously and position our customers for success through people, process, and (future) technology growth. Have a look at the case study here.
October 16-18, Redmond, Washington
We joined the Microsoft Project Partner Summit on the Microsoft campus to learn how to best help customers with exciting new Microsoft Project enhancements and to discover more about Digital Transformation and how to best leverage the power of Microsoft PPM to the advantage of our customers.
mike and matt tribalnet 2018
you are here pinNovember 5-8, Las Vegas, Nevada
We were at Booth 6 at TribalNet showing conference attendees how we have helped tribal nations achieve more by empowering organizations to overcome common project management challenges, leveraging solutions from Microsoft PPM and edison365projects.
We have helped tribal nations for whom large gaming CAPEX projects are critical pieces of their governments’ revenue to help sustain and grow their tribes. Read our case study to learn how Innovative-e and Microsoft PPM continuously deliver #AmazingPM to enhance the overall quality of life for a Tribal Nation.

Where to next?

Coming soon to NYC, DC and Atlanta
 
Free all-day summits to learn how Microsoft PPM enables Digital Transformation. Where do things stand now? What’s the future of the journey? Each of these three conferences will show you how to implement Microsoft PPM and select premium add-ons to get a handle on your reporting and resource management, how to migrate to Microsoft Project smoothly, and how edison365 can help drive Digital Transformation for overall #AmazingPM. Watch this space for more details soon!
#AmazingPM, PPM, project management

Checklist: How to Determine When to Hire a Vendor

Build-a-PC-checklist-featured-imageAre you thinking of putting in a piece of technology to support your business?  Does the technology look easy enough to install without professional help, with only you and your internal team to get it done?  Answer these two questions then when choosing whether to hire a vendor or not:

  1. Do you have time?
  2. Which choice is cheaper?

“Do you have time?” literally asks if you can wait for the results you want from the new technology.  There is a learning curve with new technology.  Not everything goes perfectly.  Ask yourself honestly not if you have the skills to implement the new tech but rather if you have the time to figure something out when you get stuck and if you can indulge in the luxury of time spent waiting to benefit from using the new technology while figuring out the install.

“Do you have time?” also wonders if you (or your team) literally have nothing else to do, if you have plenty of “spare” time.  Avoid asking people to multi-task, especially if one of the tasks is important (e.g. implementing new technology).  If you ask busy people to put in new tech as a new chore for their day job, they will likely take shortcuts while missing small details with big impact during the long term.

By the way, “Do you have time?” can also reference the full duration of the implementation.  What happens if your business-mission workloads increase and your previously idle people are now needed to get “real” work done?  Does the new technology implementation get shelved?

Assuming your answer to “Do you have time?” is yes, next ask, “Which choice (DIY or hire a vendor) is cheaper?” by looking at costs comprehensively.  As long as your internal salaries are lower than vendor services rates, if your only variable for cost is NPV cash flow dollars, the answer will always be Do It Yourself unless you are truly honest with the magnitude of the learning curve your team faces.  Remember – vendors have already faced the learning curve.

Looking at current out-of-pocket dollars usually ignores both tangible and intangible future out-of-pocket costs (cash flow dollars) as well as opportunity costs (benefits lost by investing on DIY efforts instead).  Here is a brief listing of some costs and benefits you may want to consider for DIY:

  • Direct labor + benefits of implementation team
  • Allowance for break/fix mistakes from learning (risk budget)
  • Emotions of workforce with new technology implementation (some people will love doing this work beyond their job description, others may be stressed and hate the whole thing)
  • Benefits gained from increased internal expertise with the new technology
  • Risks from staff turnover using new skills
  • Benefits foregone from resource cost investment (what good things did you give up or not get because you asked people to do this instead of other things?)
  • The value of having someone external to the team accountable for the new technology performance
#AmazingPM, PPM, project management, Reports

Recipe for creating an effective report

report1Why do you use reports?

Most people use reports in business to learn something about something in the business. Project management reports, if designed properly, inform the reader well enough to decide if action need be taken regarding the report subject. Reports are communication devices cum learning aids meant for wide audiences in the control process. Anything associated with learning can benefit from instructional design techniques, so use instructional design approaches to building reports and see report quality improve.

Three instructional design tools are particularly useful for designing reports: Bloom’s taxonomy, learning outcomes, and the ADDIE model.

Start with Bloom’s taxonomy when designing new reports because the information hierarchy it calls out informs the report writer on the type of data and detail required to accomplish the appropriate level of cognition. A status report that supports a reader’s ability to recall, understand, or apply the data holds fewer cognitive demands and can be supported by a smaller data set than a forecast that asks people to analyze, evaluate, or create thinking. Bloom’s taxonomy provides a mechanism where the verbs associated with the desired level of cognition can be incorporated into the learning outcomes.

“Validate the level of performance of UAT results by listing test scripts attempted, test scripts passed, reason for failure and frequency count of reasons.”

This is an example of a learning outcome with the highest order of Bloom’s taxonomy (validating something requires an evaluative level of cognition). Learning outcomes define the knowledge, skills, or abilities a learner is meant to achieve from a given lesson or instructional material. Learning outcomes are typically comprised of objectives. Drafters of objectives are typically advised to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Use the verbs from Bloom’s taxonomy to guide the wording of the specificity of the learning outcomes.

Next, use the ADDIE model to accomplish the learning outcomes with the reports. Analyze the data needed for the audience looking to act on the report. Design not only the data outlay but also source collection methods. Develop and implement the report by publishing to the intended audience. Evaluate the report through routine feedback on its usefulness to complete the full ADDIE cycle and make changes as they make sense.

In other words, when looking to create a new report, follow this recipe:

  1. List your report-reader’s cognitive-level learning outcome(s) for the report (e.g. “Be able to speculate on the root cause of product bugs”) based upon using Bloom’s taxonomy to be specific.
  2. Follow ADDIE to discover then leverage the data needed to achieve the intended report outcomes.
  3. Get feedback on what works. Fix what needs fixing. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

#AmazingPM, Events, PPM

Know Before You Go – Gartner PPM Summit Preparation

The Gartner PPM Summit is coming up next week, and anyone attending will want to prepare in advance to take full advantage of the show.

trade-showMost people attending Gartner are investing resources researching which Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solution and/or vendors they want to work with for their enterprise project management. Vendors have paid handsomely for the right to present their wares just as Conference attendees have also paid well for the right to go shopping. All attendees make these investments with no apologies that everyone attending is looking to do some business. Make the most of your investment as an attendee by taking advantage of the following methods to prepare for the conference.

  1. Know what you don’t know and want to learn – there are four tracks at the Gartner show (a. Pioneer, b. Partner, c. Build, & d. Transform) that will focus on a. “New” (methods, PPM approaches, metrics), b. culture/change management, c. optimization and alignment, and d. governance and tools. Understand which of these tracks you don’t understand and write down what questions you have on them before attending any sessions.
  2. Understand which primary technology stack(s) you want to consider – there are seventeen product manufacturers (congratulations to Planview for top marks two years in a row!) and you will not be able to take them all in during the show. Prioritize your time to get to the booths of the vendors who support the technology you might buy so you can meet them in person. (Remember, Innovative-e supports Microsoft primarily, we integrate with other technologies, and we will be in booth 213!)
  3. Prepare advance questions to assess vendor ability to understand the PPM vision for your business – ask your prospective vendors how they approach understanding the value of your system to you.
  4. Prepare advance questions to assess vendor ability to execute the PPM vision for your business – ask your prospective vendors how they approach delivery and quality. (Remember, delivery is all about meeting constraints and quality is all about consistency!)
  5. Prepare advance questions to assess vendor integrity and reliability such as asking them to describe a time when a project failed, and customers didn’t get what they wanted. How did it happen? What did the vendor do to remedy the situation?
  6. Have a tool and an approach to evaluate vendors – use a consistent rating tool by all the members of the evaluating team. Explore different scores with qualitative discussions. Use standardized scoring and a weighting system to evaluate across multiple factors. Innovative-e has an example weighted scoring matrix in an excel file, send a request to eoin.callan@innovative-e.com for a copy if you would like to see how it works.

Innovative-e is incredibly excited and eager for the Gartner PPM Summit and to meet with everyone! We welcome your questions of us and look forward to the chance to help you achieve your goals using #AmazingPM.

See you next week in Booth 213!