Project Management Evolves Into Work Management - InformationWeek
Government // Enterprise Architecture
06:24 PM
Connect Directly

Project Management Evolves Into Work Management

Clarizen says its software-as-a-service tools can help plan your workday, not just your projects.

8 HR Collaboration Platforms In Action
8 HR Collaboration Platforms In Action
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Why doesn't project management software make us more organized? Maybe project management needs to go beyond project management.

That's the argument from Clarizen, a project management software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor that is now trying to redefine itself as offering something broader, which it calls "work management." COO Guy Shani said the founders of the company had in mind to create a new brand of product management from the beginning. Most of them, including Shani and CEO Avinoam Nowogrodski, had previously run the product lifecycle management company SmarTeam Corp., where they worked with organizations that took project planning for the engineering sides of their businesses very seriously. But even those organizations "would invest very little in planning for the big picture," Shani said in an interview.

Formal project management processes also often have a hard time keeping up with reality, he said. "Organizations create these huge Gantt charts, and two days into the project it's outdated, just because nobody's gotten around to updating it."

Clarizen's idea of "work management" is to shift the emphasis toward execution of plans, not just planning itself. The software aims to make it easier for everyone involved to update their progress on projects and tasks, through a browser or email, so that managers can see at a glance what projects are on schedule or running behind.

Part of the idea also is to make the application lightweight enough that it can be used for a broader variety of activities, not just engineering projects or software development. Some customers are using it to handle public relations or marketing projects, things they would never have purchased conventional project management software licenses for, Shani said.

Major customers include Hertz, Lenovo, Roche, UPS, NBC Universal, and GE Healthcare.

Other product such as Teambox, Liquid Planner and Sprintr have gone farther in the direction of adopting the look and feel of social media, where project updates are posted almost like Twitter updates.

The project management market is shaping up with very formal tools, appropriate for big projects like building a bridge or a 747 on one side, and ad hoc tools that emphasize free form collaboration on the other, Shani said. The problem with putting the emphasis solely on collaboration is that "there is usually no structure and you can't really build a complex project with dependencies," Shani said. "We still stand more toward the enterprise side."

Attend Enterprise 2.0 Santa Clara, Nov. 14-17, 2011, and learn how to drive business value with collaboration, with an emphasis on how real customers are using social software to enable more productive workforces and to be more responsive and engaged with customers and business partners. Register today and save 30% off conference passes, or get a free expo pass with priority code CPHCES02. Find out more and register.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
8/16/2011 | 3:27:21 PM
re: Project Management Evolves Into Work Management
I think that the positioning of SaaS Tools in the context of work management is very useful. If we talk to our customers, some of them would-Št talk about Project management but more of collaboration in Tasks and they search for Task Collaboration software.
In general, also for small companies it is a change in communication to leave the E-Mail behind a with to a more social way of communication..
Project Collaboration
Project Collaboration,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/13/2011 | 7:31:20 PM
re: Project Management Evolves Into Work Management
Very good article! has done a great job of integrating project management (Full WBS plus dependencies) and social and collaboration features into one easy to use online SaaS solution! Check
Greg Lloyd
Greg Lloyd,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/12/2011 | 10:49:40 PM
re: Project Management Evolves Into Work Management
A very good piece! You might also look at Traction TeamPage for a different perspective (I'm President and co-founder). Over the past two years we've worked with customers like Alcoa to refine a model integrating light weight action tracking into TeamPage's collaboration framework.

Creating a Task in TeamPage is literally adding a tag to a TeamPage paragraph, post or status message. You can edit the Task Tag to add start and due dates, a priority, description, task owners when you create the Task or later. Rather than assigning fixed dates, you can create Milestones, to carry date information and link Tasks starting or ending on the same Milestone. Tasks can be collected into Projects, each of which has a dashboard to track status, edits, comments and related activity.

This makes it simple to search or zoom into Tasks linked to activity streams, status and discussions - by space, by project, by person, or by milestone - when you want to focus. You can also zoom out to take broader view of what's happening across spaces, projects, and people's activity streams - clipped to what you have permission to see. Task tags make it easy to right click to add a follow up action to a specific paragraph of a meeting notes page - linking the Task to a specific idea, problem or suggestion in its original context.

The focus is at the "getting things done" level - in the flow of daily work - which is where things actually happen even for very big and complicated projects. I like to us a Jazz analogy: when you watch a skilled team in action, it's like watching a jazz group - there are themes, there's structure, and there are limits, but a team shines in individual excellence combined with coordination, improvisation, innovation, handling exceptions, and seemingly effortless awareness of where others are and where they're headed.

The future of work - Like Jazz
Deb Donston-Miller
Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/12/2011 | 2:14:34 PM
re: Project Management Evolves Into Work Management
It will be interesting to see how management controls will be added to the use of social collaboration, whether on public networks or as part of enterprise apps.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
User Rank: Apprentice
8/11/2011 | 11:49:43 PM
re: Project Management Evolves Into Work Management
I think this is the direction more business management apps will be going in the future.

While clarizen has the concept down, it's not truly a 'work' management tool as it's too narrowly focused to fit the term if you're taking into account things like client relationship management, billing, etc.

The apps getting more attention lately are those that put all of the tools a business needs into one system, effectively removing the need for additional integrations and apps (aka headaches).

WORKetc does a solid example of this:

This system has CRM, project management, billing, support, time tracking, calendars, collaboration, and other features in one web based SaaS, and businesses are capable of tracking the entire client lifecycle through this app alone.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends for 2018
As we enter a new year of technology planning, find out about the hot technologies organizations are using to advance their businesses and where the experts say IT is heading.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll