“We had too many ad hoc solutions, and no standard beyond a basic project management methodology,”
Company’s Vice General Manager
A Global IT-services Company providing multiple consumer and business services, with growing operations.
The company’s project management team was relying on several tools to track tasks and communicate with internal customers, including JIRA, Confluence, Microsoft Project, Excel and a homegrown time reporting system. This myriad of tools created several key challenges, including:
- Duplication of information due to a lack of integration between tools
- Inability to visualize project health and progress across the portfolio in real-time
- No standardized reporting or centralized data repository
To meet these challenges, the company needed an intuitive solution to manage projects, track progress and deliver the visibility that project teams need to stay on track and in the loop. Their requirements included a Gantt chart view of JIRA tickets to better manage overall project schedules. They also needed a way to access up-to-date project information, including data not in JIRA for stakeholders across the company. In addition they were looking to:
- Track dependencies across projects
- Automate and standardize reporting
- Centralize all project-related data
While the company initially attempted to use plugins in JIRA, they provided limited project visibility and also hampered the stability of the platform.
The company adopted HipChat as an attempt to help project managers share information with internal customers. While this approach created more customer communications, it did not allow project managers to connect discussions with tasks, schedule and monitor resources or simplify reporting. Attempts to align information in JIRA tickets with other data in Excel files were also unsuccessful.
They investigated several offerings and discovered Clarizen: it revealed to be the best solution based on multiple core factors, including full JIRA integration, Japanese interface, simple API and built-in flexibility that adapts to end users. Reflects Christophe S., project manager for the Clarizen rollout: “We recognized that Clarizen could serve as our centralized integration platform, and deliver both standardized and customized reports at all levels of our organization.”
For the rollout, the implementation team worked closely with end users to identify their needs and “pain points.” Project managers throughout the organization were also involved and consulted during the implementation process.
A six-week trial phase involving “power users” was successful, and helped the organization determine that a full-scale implementation—including customization, full integration, and onboarding thousands of users across the enterprise—would best be handled via a multi-phase approach, and reasonably take between 6-12 months. Currently, the company has rolled out Clarizen to a subset of project managers, who have visibility across hundreds of engineers executing in JIRA. They plan to continue expanding the Clarizen user based in a phased approach.
To date, the company has implemented Clarizen’s JIRA integration to manage several business processes, such as creating new Clarizen users on-the-fly when JIRA syncs resource assignments with Clarizen, so project and resource managers have visibility to resource workloads. They also have added a start and due date to every ticket, which allows project managers to stay in control of all scheduling all project tasks—and not just those in JIRA.
Along with giving project managers a full view of projects on up-to-date Gantt charts and schedules Clarizen also helps them to identify resource imbalances and prevent team members from being overloaded. The company can also import subtasks and their current project structure for a seamless view between how things are structured in JIRA and how they are seen in Clarizen.
Beyond JIRA, Clarizen is also being integrated with other internal systems, like an employee database and organizational structure.
At the same time, seamless integration means that developers can focus on day-to-day tasks and report progress in a familiar environment, while project managers and executives get a clear and immediate view of project health and progress in Clarizen.
The company’s plan for Clarizen includes establishing additional integrations between Clarizen and internal databases, platforms and applications. They also want to leverage the centralized reporting capabilities and create more tailored reports to wider audiences. In addition, the company is aiming to:
- Leverage more tools and features to support enhanced portfolio management across multiple departments (including QA, IT, & Procurement)
- Replace its homegrown time reporting tool with Clarizen to increase efficiency and perform cost analysis.
- Continue with its internal trial of Clarizen involving 100+ users within one of their companies
Future plans also include adopting Clarizen as a work management system across the company to increase visibility across the portfolio of all project activities – not just those managed in JIRA, but all project work. This will bring a bird’s eye view of company activities and programs, reveal inter-project dependencies and help streamline the activities of cross-functional teams. It will also improve utilization of resources across projects, deliver better status reporting and provide consistent metrics and reporting governance.
Microsoft Project, Excel, HipChat, Confluence and a homegrown time reporting tool