Rebuilding our Project Management System

Posted Nov 18, 2015

Who likes change? Turns out, almost no one. Sometimes, for the sake of improvement, you just have to stir the pot!

When Allswater went looking for a new project management and timekeeping system, we evaluated numerous options and demoed many of them. There was no one system that would do what we wanted. Through this, we discovered a company that was doing cool things with electronic communications. Things we had no idea were possible.

Enter Accelo. At first glance, we scratched our heads at how vast the system was, offering complete customization to our way of doing business, automated processes, and sharing project communications. We couldn’t resist! Seeing the potential to improve and consolidate all of our internal processes, not just project management and timekeeping, we took the plunge with a pre-release version of Accelo, to redefine our systems and to help in the development the Accelo system.

The system gave us the ability to follow a project from a prospective stage thru to completion. Throughout all stages of this process, it improved communication internally and with clients, and provided automation around email and calendar captures – finally giving us a simple means of associating electronic communications with projects.

This ability to automate and associate emails with projects, was not something we went looking for, however has proven to be priceless in the development of our projects.

Case in point. Allswater President, Rob Crutcher, found himself in a bit of a jam a few months back; one that really opened his eyes to the power of sharing project communications and accessing it from anywhere in the world. Sitting in a shipyard 5 time zones from our office, on a weekend, with a ship ready to leave but requiring final certification. The records in the approval authority’s system appeared not to be accurate. The certification now relied on us to locate key communications validating approvals of the required documents. That afternoon, Rob was able to find the relevant project emails in Accelo, allowing the vessel to leave on time. None of this was seen directly by our client – we ended up doing what was expected of us – solving a problem and getting the ship delivered on time.

Without the system in place, what were our choices? Get the people who sent the messages out of bed, on a weekend, or perhaps wait until Monday afternoon when everything got worked out, costing the vessel owner a considerable amount of time and money.

Although we have found that change is not always popular, we soon realized the outcome can be difficult to live without. Utilization is up and we’re saving time we didn’t even know we were wasting. The complete overhaul of our project management system, including integration with our QA and document management systems, has been a long road, but not one we plan to turn back on in our quest for continuous improvement at Allswater. We look forward to where our customized system and Accelo brings us in the future!