Dan Smith is Head of Portfolio at CatSci, an award-winning innovation partner for medicines development. He oversees the scientific teams, which doubled over the course of 2021.
His role is focused on project delivery and making sure CatSci’s global customers achieve the outcomes they desire. Smith was part of the decision-makers who chose ProjectManager for the company.
Why did CatSci choose ProjectManager?
“ProjectManager was the most egalitarian and empowering of all the different tools we looked at,” Smith said. Other tools just didn’t give his teams the freedom they needed to do their work.
One of the fundamental differences between ProjectManager and similar offerings is that ProjectManager offered the transparency Smith wanted for his teams. It had multiple project views, strong communication and the flexibility to adapt to their hybrid work environment.
“With really good scientists, you need a high degree of trust. ProjectManager lends itself to a trust in teams.” he said. “We work with agile teams, and ProjectManager empowers them to deliver their projects effectively—unlike other software that restricts them and does not offer the transparency required.”
ProjectManager provides flexibility for hybrid work
ProjectManager supports traditional ways of working as well as agile. “It’s really interesting how people across the team have used ProjectManager to do all kinds of activities we didn’t anticipate originally,” Smith said. He appreciates how the tool grows with his team and allows them to work creatively.
“It’s also very intuitive to use,” he added. “Within a minute, you can learn how to use the Gantt charts or kanban boards.” There were no issues onboarding his team to the software. The ease of use was a major factor in their adoption.
Another benefit was the multiple project views that other software lacked. It lets his team work how they want to. “You can allow people to choose the best tool to solve the problem they have,” he said. “When you used the Gantt chart in other software, you were stuck there.”
Collaboration was boosted since adoption
Smith found that ProjectManager kept his team’s communication tethered to the task they were working on. It allowed team members to comment in real time, but also made it easy to find specific conversations without needing to dig through various other correspondence.
“Qualitatively, communication has greatly improved,” he said. “We don’t track that quantitatively, but I can give you an example.” With other software, when someone joins a project that has been running for six months, it would be very difficult to bring them up to speed.
“With ProjectManager, the communication is in one place and filed by task,” Smith said. “It’s easy for them to go back over the communication and understand how we came to be there, without needing to get copied on six months of email.”
Smith also praised how you could tag anyone on the project team and bring them into a conversation at the task level. “By having conversations in that forum, you can reach people that wouldn’t normally be part of the conversation.” That added more ideas and perspective to solving problems.
Resource management and reporting came in handy
CatSci used ProjectManager’s resource management tools to add and track equipment, as well as teams. “It’s easy to assign a piece of equipment to a project and then track its utilization,” Smith said, adding that he uses the workflow feature a lot for equipment rather than people.
Reports have also helped Smith. “I’m regularly exporting data each week,” he said. The information gathered by reporting helps him better understand the project. “I get a qualitative sense of the day-to-day project, which tells me what’s going on.”
Customer service at ProjectManager is also a plus. Smith notes how the team at ProjectManager stayed in touch after the onboarding and worked with CatSci to provide them with functionality that was not originally in their subscription tier.
Useful for every department
ProjectManager was so successful with the project team at CatSci that other departments noticed. “Our finance team adopted ProjectManager too because they saw the benefits and how it helped them organize their work,” Smith said.
Not only that but ProjectManager was used to help with the building of a second site for the company. “It’s very easy for us to see what’s going on there remotely and manage that, as well as the projects we have on-site.
ProjectManager has been very handy in helping new team members gain familiarity with the company and our ways of working,” he said.
Smoothed the transition to remote
In 2020, as more people in the company began working from outside the office, ProjectManager continued to facilitate that work and keep everyone connected. “It’s really positive how we can use ProjectManager and don’t have to physically go find someone,” Smith said. “It’s difficult to imagine life before ProjectManager.”
“I mean, I really love the software,” he adds. “I think it’s fantastic. The openness of ProjectManager empowers our scientists to build the tool they need to solve the problems they have and communicate within the team freely and easily. The software helps us deliver to our customers’ objectives on time, budget and to the requisite quality. That is very powerful.”