Internal Launch Series: Organizing Our Most Important Work

Catalant Internal Launch Series

Using Our Own Software to Organize Our Most Important Work

August 10, 2020
Preface

In March, we decided to launch our own platform internally to manage Catalant’s most strategic work. At the onset of the pandemic, as our company’s leadership team was reassessing our strategy and adjusting our execution plans to respond to the sudden changes in the market, we also realized that we needed a digital workplace to keep our employees engaged and productive and to increase our awareness of work happening across the company.

We knew our employees were executing important work, but we had no way to seamlessly ensure that their work would remain aligned with the most pressing needs of our business as we pivoted our strategy. What’s more, we had no formal mechanisms in place to identify cross-functional project dependencies or overlapping and potentially redundant work.

We simply lacked the internal visibility required to effectively plan and execute. We needed visibility not only into what we were trying to achieve, but also into the potential bodies of work that could help us to get there. To complicate further, we needed to analyze how the capabilities within our workforce mapped to that potential work.

We had deployed our software in strategy offices, transformation offices, and enterprise PMOs for our customers, but, as a smaller company, we didn’t yet have a strategic PMO of our own. Our leadership team therefore assembled and deployed a strategic PMO to both launch the Catalant Platform internally to manage and execute Catalant’s 2020 Strategic Plan.

Co-written by

Cat Powell

Senior Operations Business Partner
Internal Strategic PMO

Sarah deSilva

Customer Experience Manager
Customer-Facing Program Manager

In this series, Catalant’s internal program leads share our journey of deploying and using the Catalant core platform across our company to execute our strategic plan. Expect candid reflections, key learnings, helpful assets, and insights into the results generated from using our software and program design to execute our strategy and orchestrate work across a remote, distributed workforce.

Launching our own software internally taught us some important lessons through the onboarding and implementation process, and reinforced the importance of having strong program support and a well thought out governance structure. Ultimately, the right people, processes, and technology must work together to enable effective strategy execution. With those pieces in place, the platform has fundamentally transformed how we think about and approach strategy execution at Catalant.

The Catalant Platform now enables business leaders across our company to take a uniform approach to designing workstreams to achieve their strategic objectives. After defining, breaking down, and organizing work within the platform to identify the capabilities needed to execute, project and initiative owners are able to easily find and access the people with the skills and experiences needed to execute, track how work is progressing against desired business objectives and success metrics, and surface insights on the impact of resources on work.

Organizing Our Most Important Work

Defining Project Parameters and Desired Business Outcomes

In the Catalant Platform, we can quickly view key information about initiatives and projects, including high-level descriptions, associated goals and success metrics, overviews of how the work is progressing, the people who are responsible for execution, and other associated projects or dependent workstreams.

 

Creating Project and Initiative Timelines

Once project and initiative owners within our company have defined the parameters of the work and established success metrics, we can view related workstreams through interactive Gantt charts, which provide structure for tracking in-flight work and allow our team to  identify dependencies and view how our employees are allocated across different workstreams.

 

Getting Visibility into the Project Pipeline

Sometimes it’s also helpful for us to view ongoing and potential work through the Pipeline Views available through the platform, which are similar to stage-gate views or Kanban boards. This is especially helpful in providing perspective into projects in different stages, allowing project and initiative owners to track progress of ongoing work while also anticipating the needs of upcoming projects and initiatives.

Increased visibility into the project pipeline has also enabled us to view similar projects, reducing redundancy and allowing us to create synergies across teams.

 

Tracking Work Execution

Project workspaces give working teams a clear view into project health and progress against business objectives. This granular view also makes it clear when projects are at risk and equips project and initiative owners with the information they need to intervene to keep projects on track.

 

Right People. Right Work, Right Time

Skills Reporting views allow us to identify who may be best suited to take on cerain bodies of work and Resource Capacity Planning views allow us to slice our utilization data in different ways that expose where our team members may be over-worked or under-engaged. Reporting on the capabilities and capacity of our workforce and identifying how available resources map to the needs of the business enable data-driven decision making about resource allocation in the short term and more effective resource planning in the medium and long term.

 

Reporting on Portfolio Health

Project and Portfolio Overview dashboards provide insights into how our work is progressing against goals, giving business leaders a better sense of project and portfolio health. These views also enable us to zoom in and out to develop a nuanced perspective not only of how work is progressing but also to identify where potential risk areas are.

Our team used to spend hours preparing reports for senior leadership meetings; now, business leaders can view how work is progressing in real time. Not only do we spend less time having to prepare for reporting meetings, but our meetings have become faster and more focused: meeting time has decreased by 25%, and we spend more time focusing on solving problems, removing roadblocks, and taking proactive measures to de-risk execution.

 

Looking Forward

As we plan for the second half of 2020 and prioritize the work that we take on, it is critical that we have both a forward-looking and backward-looking view of our strategic initiatives and projects. The Catalant Platform gives us both.

As we continue to pivot our strategy in response to shifting market conditions, our ability to organize and orchestrate our most important work through the platform increases our business agility and gives us confidence in our organizational resilience while navigating these uncertain times.

Up next in the series, we will take a closer look at our performance against our success metrics as well as the lessons learned from the first 6 months using the platform.

Explore other posts in this blog series.

Read insights and best practices about governance and meeting structure, company-wide onboarding, and using the Catalant Platform.

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