What’s So Bad About Spreadsheets?

Daptiv’s Dave Blumhorst Divulges their Hidden Downsides on Wired.com 

One of the most widely used tools for project management in software teams today is the spreadsheet. They are ubiquitous and heavily relied on by many organizations to manage data and make critical business decisions. Because spreadsheets are easy to use they may appear, at first glance, to be an excellent tool for independent analysis. However, the perception of the ease-of-use of spreadsheets is to some extent an illusion. As any project manager will tell you, they are often stretched far beyond the boundaries of their functionality. With limited scalability and reliability, they are also constrained by an organization’s ability to invest in additional technology capabilities to improve their trustworthiness.

Although fairly cheap and easy to use, spreadsheets can’t often be trusted as they are extremely vulnerable to errors. Recent research found most of the spreadsheets used by organizations contain errors—and that a considerable number of those errors are serious. It may be easy to get an answer from a spreadsheet; however, it is not necessarily easy to get the right answer. Particularly if you factor in potential human data entry errors, spreadsheets can often do more harm than good. These hidden problems can hinder the success of a project and create more costs than were initially budgeted.

Daptiv’s Dave Blumhorst recently discussed the nine inherent flaws of spreadsheets, and how they’re hampering the success of PPM professionals today on Wired’s Innovation Insights. To get a better understanding of how businesses can embrace alternative technologies to avoid spreadsheet limitations, you can read Dave’s entire piece on Wired.com.

We would also like to hear about your experiences using spreadsheets. Have you run into issues using spreadsheets to manage projects in your workplace? If so, what types of problems have you faced and what solutions have you found to alleviate them? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to us on Twitter at @Daptiv with the hashtag #SpreadSheetFailure

Daptiv Named as Finalist in 2014 Golden Bridge Awards

Winners will be Announced at the 6th Annual Awards Gala in San Francisco on September 8

We’re delighted to reveal that this week Daptiv was named as a finalist in the 2014 Golden Bridge Awards in the Innovations – Enterprise Management category. These coveted annual honors go to the world’s best from every major industry in the world. Daptiv was selected specifically for our new Organizational Change Management (OCM) services practice, which supplements our leading PPM solution.

The need for OCM inclusion in PPM practices signals a shift in the responsibilities demanded of today’s PMO. Gartner predicts that by 2016, successful transformation program leaders will direct 60 percent of the budget to organizational/business process change activities. Much of this responsibility is already falling within the confines of the PMO, requiring even greater alignment and the ability to work collaboratively and synergistically. We recognize securing sufficient organizational change management resources is top of mind for PPM professionals.

Backed by Daptiv’s 17 years of Project Portfolio Management (PPM) expertise, our OCM practice focuses primarily on the critical aspects of change management, which helps our customers better prepare their employees for project implementation. Organizational Change Management (OCM) allows them to more successfully identify, plan, and manage the changes associated with their new technology implementations and deployments. By offering PPM professionals the experienced and dedicated change management support they need, Daptiv’s OCM provides the tools necessary to diminish project risk associated with lack of adoption; the number one cause of new technology project failure.

We will promptly alert you from our Twitter handle @Daptiv if we are an official winner when they are announced at the 6th Annual Awards gala in San Francisco on September 8. Meanwhile, to learn more about Daptiv’s OCM practice take a look at our full press release. You can also find a full list of 2014 Golden Bridge Awards finalists at GoldenBridgeAwards.com

Daptiv a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for 3rd Consecutive Year

We’re proud to announce that Daptiv has been positioned by Gartner, Inc. as a “Leader” for the third consecutive year in the recently published 2014 Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Based IT Project and Portfolio Management Services. Gartner is a leading technology research and analyst firm, whose Magic Quadrant reports are the world-renowned standard in IT and business communities for their objective and thorough analyses and evaluations of technology products and services.

Gartner selects companies to be included in each Magic Quadrant report based on stringent business viability criteria and standards. Each vendor invited to participate is then included in a comprehensive evaluation of market, product, customer, and financial performance. The resulting Magic Quadrant report provides an overall landscape view of the included vendors based on each company’s completeness of vision and ability to execute.  The report also details strengths and cautions for each provider, and various findings related to market trends, direction, and useful considerations for companies contemplating a purchase in the product category.

Being positioned as a Leader in this report for the third year in a row is a tremendous accomplishment for Daptiv. It is also a positive acknowledgement of the uncompromising focus we’ve placed on delivering the best PPM experience available – for organizations of all sizes.

According to Gartner, Cloud-based IT PPM service providers identified as Leaders meet the top application functionality and process automation requirements throughout the industry. Product depth in several core IT PPM areas – such as demand management and analysis, advanced scheduling, resource and cost management, and out-of-the-box integration to key third party IT applications (such as ITSM software or application development tools) – sets Leaders apart from the rest.

Daptiv’s market and product momentum over the past twelve months has helped to maintain the Leader position for another year, including ongoing product and services innovations, continued growth in domestic and international markets, and customer retention rates that are higher than ever. Additionally, Daptiv continues to demonstrate an ability to successfully sell to and service larger customers, effectively evolving cloud-based PPM to a highly viable enterprise-class solution.

We look forward to ongoing growth in these areas and substantial progress the remainder of the year in continuing to deliver a best in class PPM solution to our customers.

Visit the products section of our website today for more information on how our technology is evolving to meet today’s top industry demands.

To download the full Gartner Magic Quadrant report free, visit http://www.daptiv.com/gartner-ppm-magic-quadrant.htm?search=daptiv_blog_post&pls=Web_Direct

The Big News from Daptiv at the 2014 Gartner PPM Summit

Every year we here at Daptiv are excited to attend Gartner’s PPM & IT Governance Summit, which is being held this week in National Harbor, Maryland June 2-4.

While there, we’ve been focused on highlighting how our PPM solution is used to address common challenges facing business leaders today, concentrating on key topics such as:

  • The need for configurable, flexible PPM technology capable of adapting to a business’ people and processes
  • The importance of customer data security in today’s increasingly complex and vulnerable business environment
  • The growth and maturation of the PMO and how it is evolving to meet enterprise-level needs
  • The importance of aligning IT projects with business strategy and balancing demand for IT services.

Daptiv’s New Organizational Change Management Offering (OCM)

This year at the summit, we are also proud to announce a completely new set of tools for the PMO to manage change within an organization, helping to address the critical people component of change management for organizations implementing new technology and processes companywide. Our new OCM offering will focus primarily on the critical aspects of change management, and will ultimately help our customers better prepare for large-scale technology and process changes. By emphasizing and assessing the specific requirements of each unique customer, our new OCM offering allows for tailored communication, learning, and sustainability plans and deliverables, which are developed and incorporated during the life of a project to improve company-wide adoption and project success.

Contrary to popular belief, most project failures occur because the people, processes and environments within a business are unprepared or unmindful of the changes that need to take place for successful technology deployments. This can have an enormous negative impact on project success rates. Our new OCM practice helps our customers minimize these failures, and will integrate directly into what we offer with our Daptiv PPM solution.

Gartner predicts that by 2016, successful transformation program leaders will direct 60 percent of the budget to organizational process change activities. These programs take into account how much change a business can undergo in any given period. As much of this responsibility will fall within the confines of the PMO, they will need to successfully navigate OCM and adjust to the evolving industry landscape, requiring even greater alignment and the ability to work collaboratively and synergistically.

For the full details around how our new OCM offering will help your organization in meeting these new challenges, please see our complete release.  You can also visit our Resources Page for additional research and information, or view an OCM-focused solution brief here.

PPM: Everyone Gets To Play (Part 2)

In continuation to my previous blog post, this one will explain how the PPM needs of organizations drive the overall implementation process. At the enterprise level, we all recognize that different types of businesses execute different types of projects. The project portfolio for an investment bank is going to look a lot different from the portfolio at a company that designs and builds computer products, or a hospital, or a university. Even when we look at similar enterprises, we find differences in strategy, culture, and approach. Since many of these differences are the fuel for competitive advantage and operational excellence they require processes and practices which support those unique attributes.

Likewise, we need to recognize significant differences between functional areas  within the same enterprise due to the nature of the work being executed and the varying ways in which that work is done. The PPM needs for the product engineering groups are not exactly the same as those in HR.

Let’s take scope management as an example. For a company that is building something under a contract for another company, control over the scope of the project may be critical to assuring company profitability and in the most extreme cases the financial viability of the supplier organization. In this case, one would expect a much more structured, formalized set of processes for reviewing and approving scope changes and making changes to supporting contracts, payment schedules, etc. By contrast, when a department in one organization needs to communicate and manage expectations around delivery dates and costs for a sponsoring department within the same company – especially when the sponsoring department has requested the change — they may adopt a less formalized, lighter weight scope change process. In both situations changes the “what” of scope management is the same – scope changes need to be recognized, communicated and approved – but the “how” may be radically different.

We must also take into account that the approaches, tools and techniques used, even within a discipline may change over time. For many years, the construction industry used the Design/Bid/Build phases in their projects where each successive phase was substantially completed prior to the commencement of the next and each phase was executed by different organizations. Unfortunately, as a consequence of this approach many projects were plagued by a fourth phase, “litigation”, with finger-pointing and lawsuits between the parties to establish whether something was a defect in design or a defect in construction. Now many construction projects are using an approach called “Design/Build” where the work is performed and managed as a single, integrated effort. Similar changes have occurred in information technology, where new development tools and approaches have facilitated iterative and agile development of applications and business systems outside of the lockstep waterfall techniques of the past. Each of these has required new techniques for how the projects using them are planned and managed without losing the visibility needed for oversight and control of the outcome.

The most successful PMO’s and ePMO’s are those that understand the underlying goals and objectives of PPM while implementing supporting processes that are adapted  to the unique, changing needs of the enterprise, and the functional groups and disciplines within that enterprise. While this requires open-mindedness and creativity the adoption of PPM across multiple disciplines in thousands of companies is proof positive of the feasibility and be benefit to be derived from the effort. In short, despite the declaration of that gentleman at my first PMI meeting – PPM is relevant to Information Technology. And  to Finance, Marketing,  Professional Services,  New Product Development, Manufacturing, Supply Chain Management, Education and any other discipline or organization that invests in and executes projects. It also still applies to Construction and Engineering…

As a post-script I would add that since that first meeting I have belonged to PMI for many years and attended numerous meetings in a variety of other locations and chapters which were well attended by individuals from a wide variety of organizations and disciplines.