Does the combination of a juicy steak and awesome technology appeal to you? Last week I was invited to attend a Work Smart luncheon by Workfront.  I love to work smart and I love lunch, so I agreed to attend. The Capital Grille venue in Boston was great. And they executed perfectly.  Here are some reflections on the seminar.

First of all the food.  OK, so I’m a foodie, I admit it. They did this up right, there was nothing shrimpy about the jumbo shrimp cocktail, liver pate, a delicious salad, a 12-ounce bone-in dry-aged New York sirloin.  (The more words needed to describe your steak, the better, right?) and then a lovely selection of desserts including an amazing coconut cream pie.  Sorry to the bosses out there, if you were expecting productivity in the early afternoon, that’s impossible because we all left in a food coma! (Oops, I’m the boss. Sorry, self!)
OK on to the technology and the other 50% of why I went. Workfront added an Agile module to their project planning system.  It has a nice dashboard, and it supports a full agile workflow including backlog, stories and a KanBan burndown report  In addition, it supports a combined waterfall and agile approach, something Jerry Hyde, Workfront account exec, calls it Water-gile.  I think that is appropriate.
We saw very little of the software but we only had 90 minutes and the client testimonials were the “other meat” of the presentation.  If I get a chance to play with the software some, I’ll give you a more in-depth review of it.
Workfront is helping some enterprise clients is a big way!

Sinead Whelan

Sinead Whelan Director, Multimedia Design for Fidelity Investments described transforming an email-string based project planning environment in the fidelity marketing group, which included an in-house agency to full on Workfront. The implementation included 300 employees.  And in just the initial stages of implementation, she estimates a 30% productivity increase. They have only been live since January 4th of this year. Based on the way work was managed in the past, I think she is going to be seeing a much bigger productivity increase as they get more experience with the system.

The second client, Jonathan Kohler,Sr. Business Program Manager & Process Improvement Lead – Operations & Supply Chain at Boston Beer Company, (Wow that is a mouthful!) also described a before-Workfront process, that included a monthly 45-page slide deck to communicate the status of current IT programs in place. Holy Mackeral!  That sounds painful! You need to down some serious Sam Adam’s lagers after that meeting! Now they are using Workfront’s project management system to manage not only IT projects, but the entire engineering staff adopted the program for a total of 100 users. Now, IT requests, large and small, can be requested using the automated communication program resident in the program.  Goodbye, PowerPoint and email!  Pretty sweet.

Both clients described adding more clients to their installation and more integrations. Sinead even described creative types asking to be part of the system.  That is freakish! They also mentioned some inconveniences. I bet that the Workfront team will be addressing those in future releases.

Brent Bird Brent Bird, Sr. Solutions Marketing Manager at Workfront did a nice job first summarizing his life, family and goals including his goal to attend a game in every Major League baseball park to determine which hot dog wins.Bring your Tums Brent!  And then Brent went on to summarize the solution. In terms of how agile got integrated into the system, it was basically Workfront using the solution for themselves. Way to go Workfront for using your own solution! Workfront’s marketing team runs on an Agile/Kanban system. So, the Workfront waterfall system just wasn’t cutting it for marketing.Their requirements were then programmed into the current Workfront solution.

90 minutes later, the luncheon wrapped up on time.  Kudo’s to Workfront and Capital Grille for your timeliness! It was a great luncheon Workfront.  I’m a fan.  I look forward to learning more about your solution and maybe another steak in the future.