When Reshma Ibrahim joined the ServiceNow PMO in January last year, she was a master at juggling a wide variety of applications to manage her highly complex IT projects.
“In my 16-year career as an IT Program Manager, I have mastered smartsheets, MS Project, emails, and presentation software,” said Reshma, a ServiceNow senior IT program manager. “Let’s just say I spent a lot of time on manual, repetitive tasks that were important but maybe not fulfilling.”
Project managers like Reshma make sure the projects are delivered on time and on budget, and deliver their promised value. The projects can be simple, like updating new software on the Now Platform®, or highly complex, such as deploying a new finance or customer relationship program. Project managers have the unique skill of gathering, organizing, and maintaining information from multiple sources. But keeping track of all the details and where they are stored is time-consuming and frustrating.
“One of our biggest challenges was keeping data current. Once we emailed our reports, the information became dated quickly because changes would occur just after you pushed send,” said Victor Francis, who heads up the project management team for back-office applications. “Now all the data is available on demand and in real-time.”
All the information in one place
Last year, the team had an epiphany when they piloted a new, domain-agnostic project management platform for reporting, decisions, resources, costs, schedules, and financials. The team now had a single place of truth for project information. More importantly, for the first time they have visibility into whether projects are achieving their expected value.
Reshma says her job has been transformed. “Life is so easy now; everything is in the tool. We can ask what is the scope? Will we make the dates? What are the risks? What is the resource plan? What is the cost? In the past, we would have scrambled among multiple tools to find the data and then put it into one report. Now it’s captured in one place and available in real-time,” says Reshma.
A simple, but powerful example is in user acceptance testing. Business users are asked to log defects during system testing. “I used to email a report of all the bugs in excel daily. We had to count on our users opening and reading that email, then emailing me back their responses to the bugs. Now our business users simply enter them in a visual tool that captures all defects and their status.”
“Because the developers access the same boards, I can see if a defect has already been logged and the status of its resolution,” said Reshma. “It’s eliminated a lot of repetitive reporting and raised awareness across the team.”
Another example is in something simple--figuring out who is available to work on projects. Reshma says she’s happy to have moved from a spreadsheet to a resource workbench that shows what people are available and when. “Before, it was hard to figure out who was available to work on projects. Some people were underutilized, some were overbooked,” said Reshma. “Once I had one central place to see people across timelines and projects, I could better manage people’s schedules. And I could more accurately track people’s time against our budget. And this helped improve the work/life balance of our developers.”
Another frustration was that business customers didn’t have access to a holistic picture of project progress. Decisions were difficult to make because answers were found in different documents and spreadsheets.
Now answers are just a dashboard away. In the planning console, both business and IT can view the overall project plan, visual maps of dependencies, key milestones, and change request owners. In the change request section, everyone can see the impact of potential changes, who owns the changes and the business justification. Decisions are made using real-time data. Project managers can simply send Finance a link to a dashboard for internal audits and regulatory compliance.
Every Friday Reshma would spend the day compiling status reports to share progress with her business customers, including leaders who wanted a high-level update on the project. With just a few clicks, Reshma can share with business leaders real-time updates on large, complex projects, including anticipating bumps in the road ahead. The reports are available on Now Mobile in real-time and can be sorted based on project status. I can see my contributions everyday
“Our business customers and IT are now equal partners because we all work from one set to data. I am no longer bombarded with questions. I feel like we are now working toward one common goal based using the same information,” said Reshma.
Prioritizing future investments has changed as well. Victor adds, “We don’t prepare reports anymore when deciding what projects to undertake. Instead we collaborate with business and service owners to review the submitted ideas in our tool. We can have a meaningful conversation about the ideas as a whole, weighing their risk, cost, complexity, capacity, and cross-functional impact. Once we decide what to convert to a project, we assign it a project manager, and select the appropriate methodology for execution. It’s so much easier.”
Reshma says her typical workday is very different today than from a year ago and she likes it that way. “I can focus on things that matter like capturing and sharing accurate information so that our business customers and IT can make better decisions,” said Reshma. “Coming to work is much more satisfying because I can see my contributions to our progress in IT every day.”
To learn more about IT’s adoption of ServiceNow ® Project and Portfolio Management, read our case study.
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