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Monday, 16 January 2012 21:18

Project Plan: From Startup to Scalable Organization

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When we started out ten years ago, we had a simple product, no real competitors and product installation was so easy that project management for customer rollouts didn’t seem very useful to us.  Over time, as the flexibility of our products increased, we added a professional services capability to our company that was, in its earliest stages, somewhat haphazard and delivered inconsistent results to our customers.  This led to customer satisfaction issues that were a real impediment to our success as an organization.  Since delivering demonstrable customer value is the only moral way to achieve business success in our industry, we knew we had to fix this problem quickly.

Once we inculcated some repeatable processes based on project management disciplines into our delivery, we were able to go so far as to productize our initial customer rollout service.  This has been so successful that we’ve been able to strategically virtualize that service in certain instances. For example, we use a vendor to assist with every rollout that includes integration with QuickBooks.  This is surgically precise outsourcing of a very specific portion of a certain kind of rollout of our product that is common for a subset of our smaller customers – firms that sell services to other businesses.  Our integrated Journyx/QuickBooks rollouts moved from a dismal 50% satisfaction rate to an excellent 100% once we got that process well-defined and adhered to.  We couldn’t have done this without outsourcing it because retaining a QuickBooks blackbelt in-house would have been too expensive; nor could we have succeeded in this without a very well-defined project management process that is both flexible enough to work for all customers in this category and strict enough to ensure success.

This success has pushed and encouraged us to put tightly-defined processes in place elsewhere in the business to enable outsourcing of our software testing department overseas, as well as 100% of our accounting department, giving us the capabilities of a much larger company in those areas albeit at lower costs.  Those benefits wouldn’t be possible without rigorous processes born of excellence in project management.  We’re now a business that has virtualized itself globally.  We’re convinced that this adds tremendous value for our customers and that it cannot be done without good process definition, planning and execution.

Some of these processes have enabled us to achieve understanding of our profitability on a per-person per-project basis, using the same technology that we sell to others, thereby making us a showcase for our own software.

At present, we have only a few people who have been through formal PMI training, but we want 10% of the company to become PMPs.  We can see the value it adds every day, and we want more.  We’ve applied the principles in development, marketing, partnering, vendor management and even in sales to generally great effect.  Our software development process has always been what is now commonly termed ‘agile,’ and we want to be very careful in introducing too much rigor there.  The right amount of process for the task at hand – balance – is always of utmost importance at Journyx.

The incorporation of “just enough” project management processes into every aspect of our company operations over the last few years has enabled us to move from being a startup to becoming a scalable organization.  We now have the plans and the confidence that we can execute these plans successfully.  For example, we have tools in place that alert us to problems, like projects going over budget.  This is not to say that we’re a perfect company and that all our problems are solved.  They’re not.  But we have a plan for improvement now and the confidence to execute it.

About Curt Finch

Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx. Founded in 1996, Journyx automates payroll, billing and cost accounting while easing management of employee time and expenses, and provides confidence that all resources are utilized correctly and completely. Curt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.  As a software programmer fixing bugs for IBM in the early ‘90’s, Curt found that tracking the time it took to fix each bug revealed the per-bug profitability. Curt knew that this concept of using time-tracking data to determine project profitability was a winning idea and something that companies were not doing – yet… Curt created the world's first web-based timesheet application and the foundation for the current Journyx product offerings in 1997. Learn more about Curt at   

Read 8696 times Last modified on Wednesday, 18 January 2012 18:17

Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx. Founded in 1996, Journyx automates payroll, billing and cost accounting while easing management of employee time and expenses, and provides confidence that all resources are utilized correctly and completely. Curt can be found on Twitter at @CurtFinch and on Google+ at +CurtFinch.

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