Category Archives: Uncategorized

Portfolios are Personal

Think about your portfolios. Your portfolio of investments. Your portfolio of art. Your portfolio of achievements at work. These portfolios are personal. Where most enterprise project management applications fail is that they do not allow for the personal nature of portfolio management.

Of course, and organization has a portfolio of initiatives. It is usually going to be managed around some strategic plan. Plans breed initiatives, initiatives breed programs, programs breed projects. This is the organization’s view of the portfolio. This portfolio bridges teams, geography, even organizational boundaries, and ties multiple, disparate teams together.

That being said, at each level of this hierarchy – organization, initiative, program, and project, there are different portfolios to manage. Making a project manager who has only one or two projects work off the organizational portfolio makes no sense. This is why individual projects are usually managed individually.

However, at the program level, individually managed projects are hard to combine, dependencies across projects are hard to manage, and version management is a hassle. Of course, this works right into software vendors’ hands, as  upgrades, additional products and higher licensing costs promise to “fix” these issues.

What is really needed is an easy way to combine and recombine projects, sub-projects, and programs to the needs of the individual who must manage his or her own portfolio. Why shouldn’t the same projects be able to be categorized, managed, updated and rolled up in many different forms to meet the personal needs of each stakeholder?

This is the social approach to portfolio management. And this is what ProjExec 6 provides.

See ProjExec 6 at IBM Connect, Booth #222.

Next Post: Strategic planning from the bottom up…

Advertisements

ProjExec 6 – Taking Social Project Management to the Next Level

Social Project Management is about engaging the team in collaboration around its project and project schedule. But what about disparate teams working on multiple projects on a program, or even multiple projects that are related only at a strategic-initiative level?

Program and Portfolio Management tools have attempted to address this issue but are, in general driven by top down, hierarchical planning.  So, what would a “social” approach to Program and Portfolio management look like?

Social is about getting people the tools they need to create and manage their own “reality”. Portfolios at the organization level are different than portfolios at the person level. Whereas an organization’s portfolio has a certain structure, at each level of the organization, a person’s “portfolio” has a much different structure. An individual program manager, a manager of projects, or a project team member may each have a portfolio of projects to “manage”.

In many cases, these “alternative” portfolios are not organized in the same manner as the hierarchical structure of the organization’s portfolio. So, a social approach to program or portfolio management should allow both the organization’s view and multiple, alternative views of project structures to be represented and executed – simultaneously.

Over the next week, we will  present several posts about this idea. But to get you thinking, here is a video about ProjExec 6, which attempts to bring top-down and bottom-up social program and portfolio management together in a single, social product.

IBM Connect 2014 – See ProjExec 6 in Action!

If you’re heading to Orlando for IBM Connect 2014 (http://www-01.ibm.com/software/collaboration/events/connect/), stop by pedestal 222 and see ProjExec 6, and the new SocialGantt Chart component. With ProjExec 6, social project management becomes social program management. Combine any number of project schedules into a single SocialGantt. Then, socially collaborate on as many projects as you want, all from a single schedule view.

ProjExec 6 retains its long-standing position as the only integrated social project management system for IBM Connections.

See you in Orlando!

When Are Social Business Applications Necessary?

Social business seems like it’s everywhere. There are the platforms, like IBM Connections, Jive SBS, and others, and there are the apps, like ProjExec, SugarCRM, etc. It is clear that in order to execute a social business, you need the enabling platform. You cannot start a social business with just a social business application and expect to get the entire organization involved. People need to have a reason to participate in the social platform, and there is simply no single business process that involves everyone in the organization on a day to day basis. As we’ve argued before, for most users, there is little reason to use a social business platform unless real business processes are integrated into it. But once you do integrate those processes, the value of the social platform is multiplied.

But which business processes should be integrated first? Which ones will multiply the value the most? And which ones should be put off until last? We jokingly promote (Trilog Group CEO Alex) Homsi’s Extension of Metcalfe’s Law: “The value of the social business network grows exponentially with the number of people included in the network, and is multiplied by the number of processes that those people perform in the network.” This “law” gives some guidance as to how to build a social business.

Of course, a social business should include as many people in the corporate social network as is feasible. But a social business also needs to incorporate business processes that most benefit from social enablement. The remainder of this post deals with identifying the best candidate processes for social enablement.

Social business applications are most impactful when 1) the process involves novel or unpredictable situations, and 2) when the knowledge and understanding about how to respond to these situations is distributed across multiple people.

The theory of dynamic capabilities proposes that novel or unpredictable situations require businesses to build the skill of adaptation. Adaptation means that a business can 1) receive cues from the environment, 2) understand which cues from the environment are important, 3) understand if the business is in alignment with those cues, and 4) respond to those cues as necessary. This applies equally well to businesses as a whole, or teams working on a particular process.

When situations are routine, there is little information that the environment provides that is relevant to the team’s work. However, when the situation is novel and unexpected, the team must be able to process information more quickly an efficiently. This is where social business applications shine. Social business applications allow for real-time communication and processing of information from the environment.

When a team is collocated in the same room, this communication happens easily. However, when a team is separated by time and distance, a business process-centric activity stream is the next best thing. The activity stream provides the capability to quickly disseminate information about what is going on (environmental cues). More importantly, the distribution of those cues allows many eyes to quickly process the cues, and identify the potentially important ones. So, rather than waiting for a weekly (or even less frequent) status report, the activity stream provides the environmental cues to the team and stakeholders as soon as they are identified. Because novel situations require the identification, communication, and processing, those processes that are uncertain are those that are most likely to benefit from being integrated into the social business platform.

Beyond the delivery of environmental cues to the team, social business applications make use of the social business platform’s capability to publish cues beyond the team. Novel situations generate cues that often require multiple members of the team to generate a response. Often however, that response cannot be identified with only the members of the team. Instead, teams must find new expertise outside of the team boundary. At this, social business platforms excel. The warehouse of information about the expertise of the organization, and the capability to “crowdsource” issues that is contained within social business platforms is amplified by the social business application making use of it to solve real business execution problems.

So, in summary, the business process that is most likely to benefit from being integrated into the social business platform of the organization is the business process that is 1) uncertain, and 2) requires the skills of multiple people to manage the uncertainty.

There are obvious processes for which this pertains, but probably none as much as project management. Projects, by definition, are novel undertakings. Projects, are specifically not business as usual, but are uncertain processes that are meant to generate yet-unrealized business value. For this reason, project management is the obvious choice as an entry point for social business.

ProjExec is the only social project management application that integrates with every IBM Social Collaboration Platform. If your organization deals with uncertainty in its projects, leverage the power of the collaborative platform and implement social project management today.

(This post was written by John Tripp, Social Project Management Evangelist at Trilog Group. Trilog Group is the maker of ProjExec, the social project management solution for the IBM Collaboration Platform environments. ProjExec is available for IBM Connections, IBM SmartCloud, IBM Lotus Quickr, and IBM Websphere Portal.)

Trilog Group and ProjExec have a YouTube Channel

We’ve had so many requests for ProjExec demos and additional information over the past few weeks that we have added a number of new ProjExec videos on YouTube, and have started a Channel where you can see all of the videos.

We’re really excited about ProjExec Live and ProjExec for Connections. In the next few weeks, you’ll be seeing more videos appear on the channel, including more for the ProjExec for Connections product, and self-training videos.

Here’s the Lotus Live Overview Video. Check out the channel for more, including a feature by feature tour.

Lotusphere 2012 and the Future of Email

Well, ProjExec was quite a hit at Lotusphere 2012.

IBM featured Trilog Group and ProjExec in the Opening General Session, and the product was demoed in numerous sessions. The Trilog Group pedestal was nearly constantly over capacity, and several customers purchased the product while it was being demoed.

But the highlight of the conference was the IBM Open Social throwdown, where the various features of ProjExec were demonstrated as an embedded experience in the IBM iNotes next-gen Open Social compatible client.

We recreated the demo that was done there, and we’ve posted it below. What this demo illustrates is that the concept of “email” will morph in the next few years, and that person-to-person direct messages will become just one of many kinds of communications that a user receives in their activity stream.

This doesn’t mean that “email” is dead, nor does it mean that email systems as they are today will continue.  The “email” client will be replaced by an “activity” client, where activities and communications from multiple contexts can be reviewed and managed. But more important, just as email has been the context in which to take action regarding direct person-to-person communication, the activity client must be the context from which action can be taken, regardless of the source context of the activity. This shifts the concept of what the boundaries of an application actually are, and really forces the issue of open standards adoption for everyone.

Enjoy!

Winners…again!

No sooner had we posted our previous post about ProjExec, than we learned that ProjExec is the winner of the Lotusphere 2012 Award for Innovation in Social Business Application Development Utilizing the Social Business Framework! This adds to the long list of IBM awards that ProjExec has received over the past years.

You can see ProjExec at Lotusphere 2012 at product showcase pedestals 505-506, and you can see a demo below: