The accelerated pace of business today requires unprecedented degrees of speed and collaboration. This means that cross-functional teams must work together to deliver products and services to their customers with increased speed to market — or risk falling behind the competition.
According to an October 2018 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Smartsheet, Deliver On Top Business Objectives With Collaborative Work Management, new business objectives are changing the nature of project delivery, with 77 percent of surveyed businesses reporting that the number and scale of projects has increased, and 70 percent reporting a rise in unanticipated project-related tasks. The study finds that, “as organizations look to balance revenue growth with the pressure to differentiate, they must stress innovation, agility, and flexibility across the organization.”
“Three quarters of the respondents that we’ve surveyed […have] seen their project management activities, and the scale of their projects, increase significantly in size,” said Margo Visitacion, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester, in an interview on Silicon Angle’s The CUBE at Smartsheet ENGAGE ‘18. “They’ve seen projects being far more distributed throughout the organization, so it isn’t ‘we have a central group that does project management.’ It’s now ‘everybody does projects.’”
Project Execution Is Missing The Mark
These days, nearly everyone is a project manager, whether they call themselves one or not. And while the decentralization of the project-management function might be advantageous for companies looking to stay competitive, without the right tools to foster collaboration and access to information across distributed teams, initiatives too frequently miss the mark. According to the Smartsheet-commissioned study cited above, 35 percent of projects failed to meet their original business intent, 38 percent missed their targeted timelines, and 34 percent failed to finish within budget — worrying results in a business climate where producing on-time and on-budget can mean the difference between success and failure.
The business impact of these missed targets? Half of respondents to this in-depth survey said they experienced revenue loss, and 42 percent reported lower customer satisfaction scores — a crucial metric when you’re trying to maintain or win market share from the competition. In order to merely survive, much less thrive, it’s vital that businesses improve these metrics.
But in order to pinpoint the tools that can help, it’s important to fully understand the problem. In an analysis of the challenges standing in the way of successful project execution, Forrester found that fewer than one in five companies rate themselves as “very effective” at maintaining project visibility, maintaining team morale and managing changing priorities. Common challenges related to collaboration and communication are becoming critical issues for businesses to resolve.
Easing The Way To Cross-Team Collaboration
The key to closing these gaps, Visitacion says, is using technology that enables cross-functional teams to work together at their peak, providing all stakeholders access to the critical data they need to make time-sensitive decisions. “You have to have more collaboration, and you have a greater need for transparency and interaction between teams so that they can work together more effectively,” she told the CUBE.
Project managers have long had software to help them manage end-to-end project execution, but as project management responsibilities shift to all employees, these tools aren’t proving to be flexible enough. So employees look to multiple, disparate apps to get their work done. “We see the average knowledge worker opening between eight and thirteen apps a day to get their job done, and they spend a third to half of their time in email just looking for information,” Visitacion said.
As de facto project managers, knowledge workers need user-friendly tools that provide transparency into what other team members are doing and reduce the complexities of collaboration. Enter work execution softwares for the enterprise. Work execution software enables cross-team communication, is adaptable to a broad set of use cases, integrates with other cloud-based apps, and provides features such as dynamic real-time reporting and dashboards within a single application — while also being easy and intuitive to learn and use.
When companies shift to this type software, the results can be transformative. According to Visitacion, 70 percent of employees report that collaboration tools were the single most valuable tools in helping to deliver successful outcomes. “What we saw was that productivity increased by three to four times. You were able to reduce the amount of time you were in email and were enabled to speed up decision making-capabilities,” said Visitacion. Customer satisfaction scores increased by three to four times as well when teams used work-execution software, according to Visitacion.
To resolve the challenges around project execution and improve metrics, such as delivering on time and on budget, the research is clear: teams need a better way to manage and execute on work — and a collaborative work execution platform is the place to start.