Tulare County Information & Communications Technology Success Story

“With Clarizen, monthly, status and time updates from our staff have gone from almost none, to an average of 2,500 updates per month, and an average of 3,400 hours of labor tracked per month. This has allowed us to move forward with direct billing our customers for project work. Our PMO is better informed than ever before.”

Sean Woods
PMP, Project Manager II
Tulare County Information & Communications Technology

Company overview

Tulare County Information & Communications Technology (TCiCT) represents over 14 county agencies, has over 150 employees in 5 business units, and runs over 30 active projects that include multi-year initiatives. More information is available at //tularecounty.ca.gov/tcict/.

The challenge

For five years, TCiCT’s teams had used Sciforma (previously known as PSNext) as its project management tool. However, a number of key challenges had emerged, including:

  • A lack of project metrics, which led to “guesswork” on behalf of project managers and the PMO
  • Weak or non-existent effort data, which made it impossible to accurately track time spent on projects
  • An absence of work notes — the PMO had no idea what was going on outside of weekly project meetings
  • Sciforma was only being used by PMO staff and not by project teams

In light of this challenging situation, Project Manager II Sean Woods, PMP, concluded that TCiCT needed a better project management solution. Says Woods: “Sciforma was lacking quite a bit for us, and we really didn’t have integration into our other IT systems, including the time management tool that we developed and had been using for years”.  

Requirements:

  • Robust API tool set to connect with existing technologies
  • Versatile in order to fit in the “middle” of TCiCT’s environment
  • Capture project metrics – particularly effort/time tracking
  • Give PMO insights into project costs and actual resource utilization
  • Store and organize work notes
  • Enable ongoing, real-time project visibility
  • Accessible by all necessary team members, not just PMO staff
  • User friendly to avoid triggering change management issues

The solution

Woods evaluated many project management tools. He was particularly impressed with Clarizen’s API tool set, and after a trial decided that it would seamlessly fit “in the middle” of TCiCT’s technology environment. Says Woods:

We saw Clarizen working best in our environment as a kind of middleware interface that could move data between our employees and the systems they were using on a daily basis, which were ServiceNow and our proprietary time management software. This integration of data would be essential to our PMO, and give us insight into project costs and actual resource utilization that we didn’t have with Sciforma.

Supported by what Woods calls “very valuable learning resources” including the Clarizen user manual, rapid and detailed responses to questions posed at success.clarizen.com, and pre-populated project templates available from Clarizen.com, in July, 2014 — less than six months after it was chosen — Clarizen went live in the TCiCT environment.

On a nightly basis, Clarizen is now automatically moving data across all three of TCiCT’s main systems: Clarizen, ServiceNow, and its proprietary time management tool through SOAP web APIs. In addition, new projects added to Clarizen are automatically synced with ServiceNow, along with tasks and assignments. These assignments are also reflected in employee time sheets that are captured in TCiCT’s proprietary time sheet system. Says Woods:

By allowing employees to enter their time against project tasks in systems they were already familiar with, our PMO immediately began seeing time logged against their projects, along with status notes and completion notes. Also, since all assignments in Clarizen are now synchronized to the systems they regularly use, our employees are no longer caught off guard by a task assignment.

TCiCT is also leveraging Clarizen to create and organize in-context work notes that are attached to specific projects. For example, when an employee specifies that he or she has completed their portion of a given project task, the status is updated and a discussion thread is created so they can add comments. Project managers are also informed of the task completion status and can verify as required.

However, arguably the most dramatic Clarizen-driven benefit that TCiCT is enjoying is the increase in project updates; particularly in terms of effort tracking. As Woods reflects:

With Clarizen, monthly, status and time updates from our staff have gone from almost none, to an average of 2,500 updates per month, and an average of 3,400 hours of labor tracked per month. This has allowed us to move forward with direct billing our customers for project work. Our PMO is better informed than ever before.

Results

  • Monthly, status and time updates risen from almost none to 2,500 updates/month and 3,400 hours labor/month
  • Seamless integration with Clarizen, ServiceNow and homegrown time management tool synchronizes data daily between all 3 systems for real-time visibility
  • Efficiently creating time cards and discussion threads, as well as updating project tasks and resource assignments
  • Capturing and organizing in-context work notes attached to specific projects
  • Managing task assignments vs. employees being caught off guard
  • Effectively tracking effort, cost and resource utilization
  • Accessing ongoing, real-time project visibility beyond the PMO

Fast Facts

INDUSTRY:
Government

LOCATION:
Visalia, CA

PREVIOUS SOLUTION:
Sciforma (formerly PSNext)

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