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We here at workspace understand what its like to implement software products. This story is as old as time

The product sales team meets a new prospect who is looking to solve a problem with their product. Many meetings happen, team members from both sides bar themselves in meeting rooms and online discussions to hash out requirements. Budgets, scope and timelines are negotiated. Expectations are set. A deal is struck, and thus a new project is born.

With the highest of hopes for a great engagement, the project kick off meeting is scheduled between the client and the services team members from the product company. Inevitably the scope needs to be reworked, expectations reset, timelines adjusted and warnings sounded about budget concerns. The project begins and the chaos ensues. Resources are juggled around to meet the client's constantly changing availability. Milestones are delayed for one reason or another. The client changes its mind half a dozen times, and a ripple of scope changes tear apart the project plan.

This results in a budget that is evaporating at an alarming pace, causing questions to pour in from executive management. When are you going to be done? How many hours do you have left? How's that new client engagement going? When are you going to be done? (yes I know I wrote it twice, it gets asked a lot). Dozens of status meetings happen, pulling the team away from productive activity to answer these seemingly trivial executive inquiries.

Meanwhile the client is clamoring for feedback as well. When are you going to finish? When will we be able to deploy? Why do you need more money? Our pace of work quickens, the days get longer and the budget continues to get shorter. Then, by some miracle, we finish.

The applications we implement have changed

After the project is done, our team is worn out, the client is kind-of-satisfied, while the executive staff want things done better next time. Why do we do this again?

The services team is the hero of every product company. They make the impossible possible. There are a multitude of challenges that plague the heroes of this story but there are two we can address head on; project complexity and the volume of data. We'd like to share with you our experiences conquering these foes. It is for this reason we have crafted this guide: 5 simple strategies to project smarter.

We hope you enjoy!

The Workspace Software team

"Software products implemented today have grown in scale and complexity"

Think about it. In the 1980's and 90's product companies were deploying applications that performed a single function; contact management, journal entry management, PO creation, invoicing. Most of the time the team consisted of a few software engineers that just got it done.

In the 1990's and early 2000's every company was rushing to create websites for an "online presence", or e-commerce store fronts to fuel the dot com boom.

Over the past 10-15 years, the emphasis shifted to implementing solutions that enhance business intelligence. These applications encompass entire business functions, combining together data and processes of multiple departments. We see examples of this everywhere, such as CRM, ERP, TRM, HCM, and HRIS.

Product complexity will continue to grow as they solve the business problems of tomorrow

The amount of data we process has changed

Take a moment to recognize how project data has evolved. It seems new project artifacts, data, and analytics increase with every new methodology.

Requirements used to be a general summary of what we want the application to do; typically a couple pages in a Word document. This quickly transitioned to more complex outlines. Use cases were created to further clarify the purpose of a requirement. Now, with Agile we must account for user stories. Whats next?

"The volume and complexity of project data is growing too..,"

As simple task lists didn't cut it any longer for estimating and tracking work, project plans with detailed tasks were introduced. As they got too complicated to read, gantt charts were added to graphically display the same data. Then critical pathing and other analytics were applied to activities in order to highlight the track to completion.

Testing data has exploded too. It went from non existent, to now detailed test cases designed to test individual requirements and use cases. Multiple test runs record the results as we iteratively progress through implementation. This, of course, leads to documenting defects; and ever-growing list of things wrong with the work we've done, so we don't forget to fix them before the project is closed. On top of all that, there are email communications, change requests, issues, resource availability and budgets.

The growth of project data is not going to stop! How do teams keep pace?

The tools that support us haven't changed..., enough

Through various surveys, marketing studies and years of projects under our belts, we have found the average professional services team uses 13 disconnected tools to store a single project's data.

Based on our research, teams with these disconnected data silos share the following similarities:

  1. Project managers spend 8-10 hours a week building reports and answering client / management questions about project status / health.
  2. Status report data is 7-10 business days old when created and over 14 days old by the time its reviewed by management.
  3. Team members spend 5-7 hours a week searching for project data.
  4. Project managers spend 3-5 hours a project looking for available resources.
  5. Scope changes occur on average 2-3 times a week, but most team members are not informed until the following week.

That is a lot of time spent developing project intelligence that should already be available

The time for a project intelligence platform is now

"Product companies can't afford to manage project data and processes the way they used too."

The old saying goes, why do the cobbler's children not have any shoes?

This couldn't be more accurate when it comes to the professional services divisions of product companies. Everyday they implement Business Intelligence platforms and solutions (CRM, ERP, HRIS, etc.,) for clients to pull together critical data from multiple tools, team members and processes to make better business decisions.

Yet, as we found in our marketing study, time-and-time again, most professional services teams fail to recognize the need for a Business Intelligence system to handle the project process, a smart, Project Intelligence Platform - A system designed to support a team's day-to-day project activities, that brings together data from all project phases, transforming it into real time intelligence so teams can make better project decisions, faster.

Why a Project Intelligence Platform

It's common sense, really. When project team members, processes and data are combined into a single project platform, project intelligence just happens and team member collaboration couldn't be easier. Below are just a few examples of what happens:

  1. Do More Projects: Team members re-capture time spent searching for and reporting on project data to focus on doing actual project work, upwards of 10 hours a week.
  2. Launch Projects Faster: Standards and templates can minimize the amount of “re-work” teams do to launch projects as they move from client-to-client. Push a button, customize and go.
  3. Control Risks: Project health and other performance metrics are generated instantly from day-to-day project team activity, supporting critical project decisions when they need to be made.
  4. Forecast Resources: Visualize your resource commitments across all project activity, quickly identify open resources to reserve for new projects and watch as their availability evolves during project execution.
  5. Preserve Tribal Knowledge: Control the project experience for every client, the only variables that change are the client's personality and the "unique" requirements of their implementation.

How to transition to a Project Intelligence Platform

Step 1: Get your data out of documents and organized into a structured format.

Step 2: Centralize data from each project phase (scope, plans, defects, tests, change requests, etc..) into a single, smart, structured repository. Important note: teams can still use their preferred tools, and simply integrate the data being generated by those tools into a project intelligence platform.

Step 3: Define the types of critical events that occur during a project that generate the intelligence your team needs to make smart decisions.

Step 4: Automate reports, roll-up dashboards, and trigger alerts to prescribe project intelligence when a critical event is identified from your project data.

Step 5: Grant executives, clients, project managers, consultants and any other team members access to customized views of the project intelligence so they can use it to make better decisions, without all of the manual effort typically required.

It's just that simple, You already have the data

"The journey is different for everyone but the workspace team knows the way!"

Workspace Software can help your team transition

"Schedule a personal demo, join a public webinar, or open an account and give it a try"

As we said in the beginning, we're product implementation specialists just like you. Our team has walked a lifetime in your shoes; we know there is a better way to "project" and we are happy to share our secrets.

Our latest product,, makes projects smarter. By bringing together project intelligence and team collaboration into a single project platform, we are helping professional services teams tear down the disconnected data silos to project smarter.

We invite you to schedule your personalized tour of workspace, with a workspace specialist, to review how you project today, or feel free to drop by our website to request an introductory demo or even open a workspace account.

If public webinars are your thing, check us out in one of our live weekly webinars where we showcase's project intelligence and it's collaborative suite of tools. Schedule and meeting details below:

Tuesday 10:00 AM EST

Thursday 2:00 PM EST

Click Here To Schedule

Thank you for investing the time to read our 5 simple strategies to project smarter. We hope you find it's common sense guidance useful to bring order to your day-to-day project chaos. If there is anything we may do to be of service in the future, feel free to connect.

For direct inquiries, please reach out to:

Jon Graham VP Sales and Services 410-245-4478

Mark McWright Director, Business Development 410-935-3484