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Taking the proper steps to manage your project reporting
WHAT SHOULD BE MEASURED?
Measuring your project can mean more than simply measuring tasks against a timeline. You can also measure how well you are meeting project objectives, costs, scope changes, and risks.
Although each of the items mentioned are important in their own right, they may or may not make it in to your regular project reporting. Most companies will opt for a simple report showing budget, timeline, and risks.
SO, HOW BIG SHOULD THE REPORT BE?
For most projects, a one-page report is ideal. If someone wants further details, they can always drill further into other more detailed reports.
Toyota introduced their one-page project management report that everyone talks about. They called their report the A4 report. It was called the A4 report because it was produced on one piece of A4 paper. In North America, we would use a standard letter sized piece of paper (8.5” X 11”) in place of A4 paper.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I PRODUCE PROJECT REPORTS?
Of course, the size of your project would dictate how often your reports should be produced. For most software projects, a weekly report is the recommended standard. This provides resources enough time to get their weekly time-sheets in and using a Project Manager once a week to do this ties to the standard 20% utilization rate that is expected of them.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT NUMBER?
The “estimate to complete” (ETC) number is most likely your most important number. You will want to take your “actual time spent” number, add your “estimate to complete” number, and arrive at your “estimate at completion” (EAC) number to see if you are going to trend over or under against the original budget (i.e., estimate).
Here is an example of that calculation:
The key elements to a successful project
Get to know your client
Completing a project does not only include meeting deadlines and completing tasks. Knowing your client and taking the time to fully understand their wants and needs can allow you to incorporate more elements that make that product specific to the company. In taking the time to understand them, it strengthens the connection between you and your client, creating a more well-rounded product.
All hands on deck
Essential for an efficient project, the team must work like a well-oiled machine. In working together to achieve the project’s goals, it ensures that all ideas and opinions are heard, optimizing your team’s productivity and problem-solving abilities. With deadlines fast approaching, it will be guaranteed that your team will always be on time.
Know your product
As the creator, you have to know all the ins and outs of your product. Without thorough knowledge, your product will not meet your client’s expectations, much less your own. To maximize efficiency, that knowledge is key. Along the way, your client may have different requests and expectations, or problems may arise. Knowing your product will let you give better or alternate solutions to what your customer is asking for, allowing you to give the best product that you can within the scope of your client.
It was amazing to see so many of our customers come out to the Purely CRM 2015 Holiday party this year. We were honoured with the opportunity to see so many of our clients in a casual setting like we had. We would like to thank each and every one of you who had the opportunity to come out and mingle with us. Next year we will have to pick an even larger venue!
A Fabulous Year
We can not believe that another year has already past! The time just flies when you spend the time doing what you love and have great, great customers. We have been growing so fast that we have actually had to move offices twice this year because we have simply outgrown our old spaces. Not only has our customer base grown, but our staff have grown enormously as well. We all look forward to finishing up the year with a full head of steam and continuing to service our customers with what we love to do most: consult on customer relationship management software.
We Wish You All Happy Holidays!
The Purely CRM Team
With an open floor plan concept and multiple breakout spaces, Purely CRM's new office is a fabulous place to work. In addition to the functional aspects of the work space, the aesthetics of the exposed brick, the old growth lumber, and the spiral staircase in the entrance way add a level of interest to the space.
Twelve specialized CRM experts. One office.
The Vancouver office is home to twelve specialized Dynamics CRM consultants. These consultants are currently working on various Dynamics CRM projects in BC, Alberta, and North Carolina. Each one focused specifically on customer relationship management projects with a focus on Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Address has changed, but phone number is the same
+1 (778) 668-3969
Suite 200 - 1290 Homer Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 2Y5
Come by and visit.
Alan Ashton interviews one of Purely CRM's newest employees, Oscar Chaparro.
With Yaroslav Pentsarskyy from ShareMuch News ...
And Ron De Giusti from PurelyCRM.com
With Yaroslav Pentsarskyy from ShareMuch News ...
And Ron De Giusti from PurelyCRM.com
Daniel B. Kline recently wrote an article for The Motley Fool where he quotes Satya Nadella in a letter he wrote to Microsoft employees ...
This puts Microsoft Dynamics CRM clearly in the role of playing a platform. This is good news. We are finally seeing a direction provided by Microsoft leadership and it is generally in line with the direction that the tech community would like it to go on.
To read the full article, go to the following: --> LINK <--
May 26, 2015 - VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- MetroQuest has been utilizing the services of Purely CRM to enable their Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation achieve new levels of operational efficiencies. The CRM configuration modifications facilitated by Purely CRM have allowed MetroQuest to overcome the operational hurdles associated with their previous CRM configuration. Purely CRM also coached MetroQuest on how they can make additional adjustments to their CRM such that they can now make many remaining configuration modifications themselves.
Purely CRM used its' senior resources with deep Microsoft Dynamics CRM knowledge to enhance the opportunity management, sales process, project management, and the billing process. Specifically with the billing process, the CRM configuration enhancements delivered by Purely CRM have enabled MetroQuest to better automate what were previously manual processes, and thereby reducing time, cost, and errors associated with invoicing their clients.
MetroQuest chose Purely CRM because of their experienced CRM resources. Purely CRM worked closely with MetroQuest staff to ensure that complex configurations were implemented in CRM in a smooth fashion without interruption to MetroQuest's business processes. MetroQuest now has better control and greater efficiency of some important back-office processes.
"We thought we were the technology experts with enough CRM skill to accomplish our objectives, but Purely CRM's expertise helped us to become much more effective," said Mike Walsh, President, MetroQuest. "With the help of Purely CRM, MetroQuest is now able to continue with our own CRM configuration adjustments with the skill and speed that we could not have achieved without expert CRM knowledge and help."
"Most companies will offer you consultants who have generic consulting skills or simply one or two CRM projects worth of experience," said Marty Hall, Managing Director at Purely CRM. "At Purely CRM, our consultants have been practicing CRM for more than ten years each and really understand the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product and customer relationship management system capabilities and limitations."
MetroQuest has been providing public involvement software and related services to the leading planning, engineering, architecture, and public involvement firms and agencies for over 18 years. First developed through a major university research project, MetroQuest has gone on to be used in hundreds of high-profile and award-winning projects on five continents. MetroQuest's growing team of professionals have decades of experience in both public engagement and software development, and their software has topped best practice lists for public involvement year after year. For more information, visit their website at www.MetroQuest.com.
About Purely CRM
Purely CRM is a privately held company that is 100% focused on Microsoft Dynamics CRM with customers across North America. As a team, they have been involved with Microsoft Dynamics CRM since version 1.0, which dates back to the early 2000's, and bring a combined 50+ years of experience. Purely CRM has made the strategic decision to solely focus on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and brings industry expertise in such areas as mining, banking, membership management, manufacturing, and many, many more. For more information, visit their website at www.purelycrm.com.
The power of passion
When Does Your Job Become Your Career?
I can't remember where or when I originally heard someone speaking about this, but I remember someone talking about when a job becomes your career. Essentially, it boiled down to two parts. The first part was being involved in some type of work where you realized that you could continue this work for the rest of your life and continue to make money. The second part was realizing part one, not getting bored with it, and thinking you would stick this out till the end of your working life.
You Better Be Passionate About It
OK, so let's say you have realized you are going to stick with your money-making gig till the end of your career, how will you know when you are successful and happy with your choice? I have heard success as being defined as getting what you want. I have also heard happiness being described as wanting what you get. The one thing I am sure of is that I am definitely happy with how my own career is turning out. Starting with happiness is probably more important than focusing on success. I believe you will naturally get success if you focus on the happiness side of the equation first.
CRM and the IT Industry Are My Passion
Since I got my first 300 baud modem and hooked it up to my Atari 800XL, I knew I was in love with computers. I remember writing the program listings that you used to be able to find at the back of Byte magazine. I would save them to the tape drive I had saved up for on my old Atari computer. From that computer I moved on to a PC. I remember installing Windows 1.0 and still have those disks somewhere at my parents' house. Now I toil away on a Mac Air and deliver most of my jobs thru machines that are in the cloud or in some server room that I tunnel in to. CRM is the software platform I have chosen for my profession and I love adding value to companies' business processes thru tweaking and configuring this platform. I love my career. I could not even imagine doing anything else at this point.
I could not even imagine the results that a company would get if they hired a consultant who was not passionate with her/his trade. The results would most likely be, "meh?" They might be OK, or not OK, but I highly doubt that would be taken to the level of consultant who was obsessed and passionate about their career.
Are you truly passionate about your job? Is it your career?
Don't Miss Critical IT Operations Info
Purpose Of A Dashboard
The purpose of a dashboard in IT is to typically provide a one-pager on the state of things, similar to your dashboard on your car. On your car you can quickly see the gas, the temperature, and the speed. Does it show everything about your car, like tire pressure and brake fluid levels? Most likely not, but it may show them if they become necessary to know. The dashboard is kept to a clean and simple "must-know" information, unless some other flag should pop up as critical.
Quick Must-Know Facts
So, if you are the CIO of a company what would the "must-know" quick facts that you would require on your dashboard? Of course, the answer here will vary from CIO to CIO; but, there should be some general consensus on what the key items are. If I were to throw out some quick key items that I would want on my dashboard if I was a CIO there would be four items.
The first item would knowledge of the network and WIFI status. Is the network up and the WIFI up across my office(s)? Are the speeds OK on those networks. The second item I would want to know are how many critical help desk tickets do we have in the system and what the top three critical items are. The third item would be what staff do I have on-hand today, who is off, and any sub-contractors that have contracts coming up for renewal. The fourth, and final item, that I would want to know is if I have any software licenses coming up for renewal.
CRM has the ability to provide a dashboard that would meet all the items listed in the previous section of this blog article with some configuration, but what is the future direction of dashboards? The first thing I would like to see in CRM dashboards is better use of graphics. Not simply graphs, but graphics similar to what you would find in a car dashboard like an oil can picture or a gas tank image. The other direction that dashboards should offer is a quick method to flip between various dashboards. Dashboard generally exist for each role or grouping of job functions within an organization. The drop-down list view of various dashboards is not intuitive enough or a quick enough method to flip between dashboards. The final thought is that I would like dashboards that can hide and show dashboard elements based on some sort of criteria. For example, the oil can only shows on your car dash if their is low oil in your vehicle. An example of that in CRM might be only showing upcoming software licenses if they are coming up for renewal, otherwise it should completely hide any mention of software licenses on the dashboard.
Is your dashboard letting you manage effectively?
Making Technology Fade Into The Background
My iPad Love Affair
I knew I was in love with my iPad when it won me away from my TV set as a form of decompressing in the evenings. I was able to sit on the sofa and just flip thru news on the iPad as effortlessly as looking at a magazine. I didn't have to hold a laptop on my lap or look at a screen that was not the idealized size for me. I could get the latest news in both text and video format. And, the whole iPad seemed to fade away and I could relax and be casually entertained.
The Objectives Of Technology
When I realized that my iPad had somehow made technology fade into the background, I came to a realization on where I felt technology should go; and, my thoughts on where technology should go were not only about the living room but also about the office. What I wanted to see achieved was making technology in the business place also fade into the background. Technology in the business place, for me, is all about increasing the efficiencies which result in a particular business need or objective being met. The point of using technology to achieve the result is not about the technology, but about the end objective. Too, too often I see companies sucked into technology for technology's sake as opposed to focusing on achieving streamlined business processes.
Fading Technology, and your CRM, Into The Background
Before you can make your technology fade into the background in your office, just like the iPad fades into the background in your living room, you need to look at getting your business processes down pact. And when I mean getting your business processes down pact, I also mean understanding why you perform certain business processes in the first place. I often see companies make business processes more efficient where the business processes itself is not necessary if you look at the underlying reason the process is being performed. Step one is always to look at why the business process is being conducted. The second step is to flow out the optimal business process to achieve that objective. And the third step is to document the current business processes and determine the gap between them and the newly defined process. The point at which CRM comes into the mix is always around structured data that needs to be captured that does not naturally fall into any other systems that may be in place (e.g., the accounting system). If this can be achieved, you will slowly see the CRM system fade into the background as the workers focus on doing what they were hired to achieve in the first place: doing their job!
Are you focusing on making your CRM fade into the background?
Is the CRM world about to change?
Are These Two CRM News Items Connected?
The first news item is Microsoft's goal of getting to $20 billion in cloud revenue by 2018. That would imply that Microsoft will triple its' cloud revenue in the next three years. In 2014 Microsoft had cloud revenue of $5.5 billion. Based on Microsoft's latest quarterly earnings report, they are on track to have cloud revenues of $6.3 billion in 2015. So, how are they going to get to $20 billion in three years with the current rate of growth?
The second news item is that Salesforce has hired financial advisors to help it because they were approached by a potential acquirer. It is unlikely that Salesforce would hire the financial advisors if they were not truly approached to be acquired. What is not known though is who approached them.
Who Are The Potential Suitors?
There are only a handful of companies who could potentially acquire a Salesforce company as they are currently worth $47 billion. Those suitors most likely would be Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, Google, and IBM.
I am going to eliminate Google and IBM from this mix. Google is, essentially, an advertising company and so I think it is a long shot that they would want to get into the CRM business. IBM would have to get heavy financing to make this deal happen as they only have $8.8 billion in cash on hand.
SAP would also have to take on heavy debt if they wanted to acquire Salesforce. SAP only has $5 billion of cash on hand and would have to finance the rest of the acquisition.
This leaves Microsoft and Oracle as contenders in this acquisition. Microsoft has $95.4 billion in cash on hand and Oracle has $13.7 billion in cash on hand and another $30 billion in marketable securities.
What Happens To Microsoft Dynamics CRM If Salesforce Is Bought?
There are three possible scenarios that could play out if Microsoft would acquire Salesforce. The first scenario is that nothing drastic happens. Salesforce would be branded as a Microsoft product and both the Dynamics CRM product and Salesforce product would continue to coexist in the marketplace. This is not unforeseeable as Microsoft has GP and NAV accounting products and has not combined them yet. In fact, in the short run, this is the most likely scenario.
Another possible scenario is that Microsoft phases out Salesforce and integrates its' good components into the Dynamics CRM product. If this were to happen, it would have to happen over a long period of time because this would be no trivial task.
And the final possible scenario would be that Dynamics CRM would be slowly wound down and the Salesforce product would take over. Again, it would take time for this to happen if this scenario were to play out. And, Microsoft would most likely create some sort of transition plan for its' existing Dynamics CRM customers if this were to happen.
I want to leave you with these thoughts and questions: Is Microsoft the mystery potential acquirer? Does Microsoft need this acquisition to hit its' target cloud revenue goals? Is this simply a rumour or strategy on the part of the potential buyer to tie up potentially large pipeline deals for Salesforce because the potential acquisition makes their buyers hesitate?
What are your thoughts? How would this acquisition impact you?
What makes a good CRM Consultant?
The Right Stuff
When I was 13 years only I remember watching the 1983 movie “The Right Stuff”. The movie was about the “space race” and the team of pilots/astronauts who eventually landed on the moon. I remember thinking what makes these people special other than the obvious reasons. What makes this particular group of people have the right stuff? After all there were thousands of qualified people to choose from. Was it there superior intellect, the superior athletic ability, stamina, or is it something else that is difficult to quantify? History tells us that these people were handpicked to achieve a monumental task. They were all experts in their fields and excelled and what they did. They had an extraordinary task to accomplish under “extraordinary” circumstances and they succeeded but sometime as great risk and loss.
The Wrong Stuff
Later in life I actually became a commercial pilot and during my flight training I watched an educational movie called, strangely enough, “The Wrong Stuff”. It was a documentary whose aim was to point out the breakdown in the cockpit during stressful circumstances such as in-flight emergencies. There were many different responses by flight crew depending on their background, training, and individual personalities. Some ex-military fighter pilots tended to over control the cockpit which caused them to stop delegating important tasks to other crew members. Some civilian pilots had a very hierarchical approach to the cockpit as well. The captain was considered the “boss” and his judgement was seen as the last word and not to be questioned by the other crew members. There are many cases when the co-pilot or flight engineer sat idly while the captain crashed the plane. It seems very counter intuitive that the same people who could fly a space craft to the moon could be a detriment in a commercial airliner cockpit, but you have to understand….these are two different approaches to a similar task and therefore require different skill sets. A flight to the moon is a risky business while flying a commercial airliner is supposed to be routine. The differentiator may seem small but in reality it is very big. Today’s commercial airline pilot will fly the same plane daily and is expected to keep everything within very strict limits at all times. The crew mitigates the risk to passengers, themselves, and the airplane. They typically have years of experience which helps them to foresee any potential problem and act long before something terrible happens. So the real difference between a commercial airline pilot of today and a NASA test pilot is the risk tolerance. This says nothing about the underlying capabilities of each group. Just the approach to the task.
CRM — Crew Resource Management?
In order to correct these problems the aviation industry implemented a new training program known, coincidently, as CRM (Crew Resource Management). The intent was to break down the hierarchal structure in the cockpit and have crews work together as a team instead of as individuals. CRM is now a standard in the aviation industry and you’ll want to bet the captain on the next flight you take has had lots of training in it.
CRM vs CRM — Parallels
As a Microsoft CRM consultant I see a lot of parallels between these two worlds. I have worked with many different consultants on a variety of different project over the years. Every consultant I’ve worked with has had different approaches to implementing CRM. Some approaches were slightly different and some radically different. Even when skill and experience are equivalent the approach is sometimes the factor that indicates to me whether they have the “Right Stuff”.
Understanding Where You Are Going
For Purely CRM, the “Right Stuff” is a consultant who not only takes the time to understand the client’s requirements and processes but also ensures that they stay within budget and scope while mitigating risks. This usually starts by having a clear picture of where we are going, setting expectations, confirming them with the client and working to meet the objective.
It’s a great thing to know a lot about CRM, but if you attempt to fly the client to the moon when they only needed to go to “New York” then you are not doing a good job as a consultant. If the client needs to go to “New York”, then the right approach is to carefully plan the route, check the weather, do a preflight inspection, make sure we have enough fuel, and set off to our destination. While en-route we may need to make slight course corrections but we know exactly where were going and how were are going to get there.
This is truly the difference between a CRM consultant with the “Right Stuff” and a test pilot.
From back office to the front office
IT Is No Longer Relegated To The Back Office
Times, they are a changing. It was not that long ago that we all thought of IT as merely a cost saver in back office operations. It was relegated to running the infrastructure that a company was based upon. It made it possible to do the accounting, run the shop floor, or handle the phone systems.
CRM Plays A Key Role In The Future Of IT
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems truly helped to take IT out of the back office and move it over to the sales side of the business equation. It enabled organizations to better focus on their customers, to understand their needs thru the buying cycle, and provide better customer support. CRM became the knowledge base that helped organizations retain the organizational knowledge within the company, even after key employees left. And, CRM did all of this while integrating with the old IT, the back office. CRM also plays a key role in collecting all the information that will go into the business intelligence systems to help look at the big-data.
From The Industrial Age To The Information Age
The big change that we are currently in the process of going thru is moving from an industrial age to an information age. It means that all businesses are essentially becoming information enterprises. Some would argue that this transformation in our economies has already taken place, but a lot of companies still have to go thru this change and truly understand what it means for them. IT has now become an enabler for businesses to achieve objectives they never thought possible before. An understanding of how IT can help with your organization's differentiator is what will help most organizations.
Does your organization see IT as strategically enhancing your organization's offering? Is CRM a part of that?