Just in Time for Memorial Day Gartner Releases Both IT PPM Magic Quadrants

We’re proud to announce that Changepoint is the only vendor that placed in both the Gartner Magic Quadrant for IT Project and Portfolio Management Software Applications, and the Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Based IT Project and Portfolio Management Services, Worldwide – and the timing couldn’t be better!

Just in case you needed a bit of reading material for your family barbeque or that beach chair while soaking up the sun, you’ll have full access to the Gartner MQ reports right here all weekend to keep you busy. If Gartner report reading isn’t in the cards for you this weekend, and you can hold out till Tuesday, we’ll have even more information for you then.  We Salute our Troops and hope you have a great weekend!

Weekend Reading Materials:

Magic Quadrant for IT Project and Portfolio Management Software Applications, Worldwide

Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Based IT Project and Portfolio Management Services, Worldwide

Top Five Characteristics of World Champion Project Managers

The 2014 FIFA soccer World Cup was incredibly popular around the world; FIFA claimed that a record breaking 1 billion people tuned in to watch the final between Germany and Argentina. While host nation Brazil was humbled by its 7-1 semi-final defeat at the hands of Germany, it was actually off the field where many people expected the host country to fall short – Before the tournament, media became focused on increasing concerns that the infrastructure needed to host the event would not be completed in time. Thankfully teams at the Brazilian World Cup didn’t have to play in half-finished stadiums (as many feared they would), however the country is still reeling from the overall cost of the event.

When a bidding country is successful, costs instantly begin adding up. A strong focus is often placed on the marketing front and funds are plunged into ensuring the event will provide a lasting legacy, offering a symbol of the host country’s strength. For example, the London Olympics logo alone cost $620,000. Yet preparing for the event itself can sometimes appear to have been something of an afterthought. As Brazil’s logistical problems showed last summer, before hosts get caught up in branding and marketing they should focus on making sure the infrastructure is in place to support the event.

To do this it is important to plan far ahead, which is when process project managers play one of the most important roles. For example, concerns are already being voiced about a shortage of PMs in Qatar as the country looks forward to hosting the World Cup in 2022. The fact that people are already worried about the event, with more than seven years to plan, shows just how important PMs are to ensuring the success of big events. Without them, it’s hard to imagine many super-projects being finished on time or on budget.

So what skills should organizations look for if they are going to secure a brilliant project manager? Here are our top five characteristics of world champion project managers:

1)    A good listener (who asks the right questions to stakeholders)
It’s important to avoid ‘yes men’ when you need a PM who will be able to ask questions that will move projects in the right direction. At the same time, they must be able to keep everyone on-side and respond in the right manner to feedback they receive.

2)    A quick thinker
It’s important to know what needs to be acted upon, and what can be de-prioritized. There’s almost always too much data, so learning what needs to be pushed to one side can make or break a project.

3)    A constant communicator
In the early part of a project this is the only deliverable people have, so it’s especially critical when things first get underway.

4)    An expert in a particular, relevant field
Generic skills are great, but it’s deep knowledge of the industry in which the project takes part that will really win the day. In addition to the ability to make better decisions, the PM should also bring valuable contacts who can help with getting work done and providing updates on developments in areas that might affect the project.

5)    An optimistic, but authoritative figure
These PMs have a natural command of authority, without needing the help of others. This combines well with an optimistic mind-set, which keeps people involved in the process, engaged and enthusiastic, leading to a much greater chance of project success.

How do you tell if someone is world champion project manager? Feel free to share the top characteristics you look for! You can reach us on LinkedInFacebook or Twitter.

The Five Things I Learned about Building a Great Team at the PSVillage Executive Breakfast

By Christa L. Stanula, Southeast US, Account Executive for Changepoint

Since working at Changepoint I’ve been able to attend two PSVillage Professional Services Executive Breakfasts, most recently in Atlanta, GA. Since there are typically no more than 20 people at these invitation-only events the intimate size makes it a natural networking environment where you can share best practices and professional experiences with peers in your local area.

These events also include a presentation on topics related to growing and managing a technology services business. As someone who manages a group of people, hearing these types of presentations is incredibly beneficial. I especially enjoyed listening to Bill Nussey, the CEO of Silverpop, present tips to build a great team by learning how to recognize, recruit, reward, and retain Very Talented People (VTP).

Here are my top five takeaways from Bill’s presentation:

  • In a professional services company people are the product, which makes Very Talented People the most important business asset.
  • You can recognize a VTP through a set of characteristics including intelligence, energy, self-sufficiency, and most importantly the awareness to self-correct and maintain a positive attitude.
  • If you’re trying to build a team made of VTPs one of the best ways to recruit is through another VTP.
  • Monetary incentives are not the most effective way to recruit and retain VTPs as they are typically most motivated by personal and career growth.
  • In this industry we are better together than we are alone which means fostering team alignment and cohesiveness is key to accomplishing goals.

If you’re interested in attending a PSVillage Professional Services Executive Breakfast you can check out the list of locations for upcoming events here: https://www.psvillage.com/executive-breakfasts-and-meet-ups.


Christa Stanula is the Sales Director of Southeast USA for Changepoint. She is an industry expert in Professional Services Automation and Project Portfolio Management, and has been selling B2B software solutions for more than 20 years.

Welcome barometerIT to the Changepoint Family!

By Mark Upson, Changepoint President

Today I am excited to announce barometerIT is the newest addition to Changepoint’s solution platform. Acquiring barometerIT allows us to strategically build upon our solid foundation of project portfolio management (PPM) and professional services automation (PSA) by adding strategic planning and portfolio analysis abilities to the Changepoint suite of business solutions. This added capability to offer strategic portfolio planning and analysis, paired with PSA/PPM allows us to bring an increased level of value to customers, as well as to the employees and partners of both companies.

barometerIT’s solution has been proven to deliver impactful results in weeks, as compared to the months and years typically expended in corporate enterprise architecture initiatives. Because of this innovative approach in achieving cross portfolio enterprise intelligence, the Minneapolis -based company has earned the attention and praise of industry experts with recognition as a “Visionary” in the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Integrated IT Portfolio Analysis and as a Gartner 2014 ”Cool Vendor.”

This acquisition is great news for new and existing Changepoint customers as together these solutions will enable you to…

  • Easily map complex relationships across project, application, technology, service and other business-critical portfolios
  • Audit enterprise portfolios for security, end of life, and compliance risk
  • Identify business and investment risks/redundancies before they have severe downstream impacts to the organization
  • Better track and migrate IT spending from sustainment to innovation
  • Continually rationalize investments and align (or re-align) initiatives/performance with objectives
  • Facilitate better organizational effectiveness by providing up-to-date and accurate visibility into resource, application and technology models across systems with complex interdependencies

Pairing these solutions into an integrated business execution management platform will provide you with leading edge enterprise portfolio management capabilities that deliver an up-to-the-minute blueprint of your business and IT portfolio investments, and the tools to optimize performance while eliminating redundant costs. We’re looking forward to bringing this new offering to market, and I’m confident the acquisition of barometerIT will significantly grow our capabilities, bringing  Changepoint client satisfaction and value to all-time highs.

You can follow this acquisition online and learn more about additional benefits in the coming days (@Daptiv@_Changepoint, and @barometerit). For more information please view the official press release here.


3 Ways to Ensure Your New Product’s Business Value

By Tom Yang, Changepoint Sales Engineer

Cha-Ching! To a Project Manager that’s the sound of your organization committing to a new product – knowing that now that the money has been spent it’s time for you to get things in place to support the investment. As with most large business purchases, but especially software, it’s essential you build a solid rollout plan to avoid or quickly address unforeseen obstacles. I know this from firsthand experience as I work side by side with our customers to implement our Changepoint and Daptiv PPM solutions, which in turn are then utilized to facilitate the rollout of many other products.  Time and again I’ve witnessed how a Project Manager’s ability to lay the foundation for a new product has been crucial in determining its level of attainable business value. To ensure you’re building a solid structure you’ll want to start with a product implementation plan focused on defining your goals, providing the transparency necessary to keep everyone on the same page and ensuring you’re prepared for any problems that are bound to arise along the way. Sounds simple enough, so here’s how you can get started:

Set SMART Goals

Aligning SMART goals with pre-stated business objectives is the best way to meet major milestones during a product rollout without confusion or major setbacks. Making goals SMART requires them to be: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Therefore, when outlining the organization’s objectives the new product goals should go beyond the vague, “roll out budgeting to the PMO” to the more defined, “enable the PMO to track budgets on a monthly basis for all IT Projects and summarize quarterly.”

Ensuring business objectives are also clearly defined through these SMART goals eliminates any confusion over what your organization is trying to achieve or how they plan to get there. In addition, if an objective isn’t met on time it’s possible to determine exactly where the failure occurred and course correct. For example, perhaps a goal your team was targeting on a monthly basis was too difficult to achieve, but moving it to quarterly made it more realistic.

Tying these goals to timed milestones is key since it allows all teams and levels of management to hold each other accountable. If these milestones are missed (beyond the standard margins of 5%-10%) you’ll know it’s time for either the goals or the timeline to be re-evaluated to account for any delays. One tip to minimize confusion, but keep goals measurable, is to start with time estimates (I.e., It will take two weeks for each module) as opposed to setting actual dates (Module 1 will run from 1/1 – 1/15.). This way if you have to make a shift it’s much simpler for teams to adjust those time frames and you stand less of a chance of mixing up dates.

Ensure Transparency

While implementing SMART goals goes a long way in providing transparency around the product implementation mission, you can’t stop there.  It’s crucial that you also work to provide a similar level of clarity to your teams around roles. You can do this in part by clearly identifying the main vendor point of contact for the product purchase, their specific responsibilities and a backup or manager. Ensuring transparency at this stage is key, because the primary contact during the product sales cycle will likely not be the same person assisting your business with all of its deployment needs. Since it is rare to work with the same people on both pre-sales and post-sales efforts you should request a knowledge transfer call that includes all those individuals and your team to make sure everyone is aware of your organization’s needs.

It’s also important to be clear on what responsibilities fall to the product vendor, as well as the scenarios during which it’s likely that they will need to bring in additional resources or send issues that arise to another team, to limit surprises and setbacks. If you fail to define these areas to your teams before rolling out a product it can leave them frustrated as each issue is investigated and resolved slowing down the deployment progress. Here’s an example I’ve experienced:

A vendor I worked with offered and even touted their ability to create “customized grips” for certain products. However, when asked to add them during production it was revealed that the process was actually carried out by a foreign subsidiary, which added three weeks to turnaround time. While in theory, a typical product deployment shouldn’t require extensive additional resources, in those rare cases the vendor should be able to explain them beforehand and you should remember to ask. This helps to limit surprises, and at times keeps the vendor honest. In this example, if my team had been clear on what the immediate vendor could provide as well as the process for getting other needs met we would’ve been able to account for the project delay.

Process Your Problems

Since every problem is unique, the best and often only way to prepare for them is to establish a process that lays out exactly how they should be addressed and who will handle them when they arise. Being prepared with a process for managing problems is critical to keeping a product rollout on track. For example, something as simple as the best method of communication needs to be identified and stated early on. This basic knowledge allows teams to know whether they should email or call to effectively escalate an issue. This process should also dictate when an issue in the product rollout has reached the threshold of being a full blown problem or is actually just a delay that can be accounted for by shifting milestones. Another tip for ensuring you’re prepared for anything is to ask the vendor to walk you through some of the common obstacles they’ve seen in similar deployments, which should give you some insight into what to look out for and the kinds of solutions your product vendor is likely to provide.

Spending the time upfront building out these three elements will go a long way in making your implementation journey less bumpy, which increases the likelihood of a product’s success and ultimately the value it provides to your business.

Have you saved your own company from a product rollout disaster? Share your tips to limit sweat and tears on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.