Photo Credit: eco-energy.com
Eco-Energy is a commodity trading company dealing primarily with ethanol and natural gas. Tim Berry is Eco-Energy’s IT director, and has been a project manager for over 20 years. He joined the company three years ago, and found they were managing a majority of their projects through spreadsheets.
More recently, the application of hybrid teams has risen to the surface of his work. He has had to plan and collaborate across various teams, whether they’re working from home or in different countries.
“As we continue to grow our revenue streams and our product portfolio, we felt the need to, number one, centralize project information and create a single repository,” said Berry. “We needed to have the ability for our teams to easily access projects and tasks, instantly make updates and most importantly, collaborate.”
Why Did Eco-Energy Choose ProjectManager?
That led to a product evaluation and selection process, which took a detour once the pandemic changed how everyone does business. “We suddenly recognized that we needed a product that could help with the transition from being in the office to remote work while managing different work styles in the single platform,” Berry added.
During the evaluation process, it became clear that ProjectManager had the integrated tools to help during that transition. “ProjectManager lets Eco-Energy prioritize and manage the time frame for a project and gives us a working understanding of who’s working on what, when and where,” Berry said. “We can see where we are in real time, whether we’re tracking an individual task or the broader portfolio.”
Eco-Energy Gets More Done, Faster
ProjectManager’s one-click reporting feature was also critical. It lets Eco-Energy see where they are financially by monitoring and tracking their budget, including comparing actual costs versus planned costs.
There are also reports on workload that help with capacity planning for resources, including the project team. All reports can be filtered to show only the data they need, and those reports can be easily shared for stakeholders.
Berry also loves the live dashboard, which automatically collects and displays several project metrics in real time, including task progress and the overall health of the project. “We have to see metrics on the status of tasks, the budget, progress, etc., all in one view for project portfolio management,” Berry said.
Collaboration is Key
But most important to Eco-Energy, according to Berry, is collaboration. ProjectManager has multiple project views that allow each user to work the way they want, unlike other software which dictates the way you can use it.
Teams can plan and collaborate how they want, wherever they are. Work is updated in real time, which is reflected across all project views so everyone is always working on the most current data. There’s only one source of truth.
Berry says that “if you have a single tool that provides collaboration, including real-time updates on comments or activities, that really increases visibility. You know what needs to be done now. As a project manager, I can go in and address those things that are either behind or have roadblocks associated with them.”
At-a-Glance Analytics Keeps Stakeholders Informed
Berry likes that he can see the percentage complete and has the ability to add comments, task priorities and files all in one place. He adds that the sheet view gives him more screen-space to view project variance, resource costs and more. Plus, he can add as many customized columns as needed for the project.
“We have multiple business units, and when presenting to the executive team, we can use ProjectManager to assign project priorities on individual projects and show the relationship to the overall portfolio,” Berry said. “That helps drive the discussion of what a project needs.”
Bridging Hybrid Teams Across the Company
ProjectManager is being used by Eco-Energy’s project managers, of course, but also by departments that aren’t following a project management methodology—such as Eco-Energy’s security and infrastructure team. “They have checklists or task items that they need to complete when installing hardware or software,” Berry said. “They can manage their priorities and we can monitor that work.”
Berry adds that ProjectManager is very visual and digestible by the leadership team. “We like this tool because it provides a way for us to collaborate effectively in a single tool, and it supports different methodologies, whether it’s agile, waterfall or just task-driven activities.”