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The Challenge

First-time Asana users at Crown Castle needed direct support in creating project management templates, workflows, and automation for their project teams. The Crown Castle program management team wanted to create a project management system that would keep their demand generation, customer experience, social media, events, and data teams organized. 

This work involved building out an automated project management suite comprised of project intake forms, project templates, reports, dashboards, and training material that would help educate the Crown Castle marketing team on the fundamentals of Asana usage.

The Solution

Every project management suite buildout starts with the object diagram - a description of what the project management environment will look like before we start using the technology. The project management suite framework was applied to create this object diagram - spelling out the exact templates, reports, automations, and dashboards that would exist in the Asana system. Obtaining buy-in from the clients for object diagram's contents is critical for moving onto the system buildout. The object diagram prescribes exactly what elements will exist in the system.

Figure 1

Asana Object Diagram


After obtaining signoff on the object diagram, the next step is to work on the project intake forms. The goal of this step is to obtain information from stakeholders regarding what information is needed to kickoff a project. A project intake process determines how you receive project requests, which project details are required, as well as any supporting documentation that goes along with it. To facilitate this process, I created a form that prompted Crown Castle stakeholders to provide information that they want to appear in their different project intake forms as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Request Form for Project Intake


From project intake, we move project templates. Templates are reusable project outlines that reduce rework and serve as a starting point for new work. They are pre-formatted and already have some redundant details in place. Templates enable you to set up projects, tasks, reports, and other files without having to start from scratch every time. To facilitate the process of obtaining project template information, another form was used to prompt Crown Castle stakeholders to provide phases, tasks, and dependencies across their different project types as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3

Request Form for Project Templates


After project templates were set up in the Asana environment, the next process was to set up reporting. The key to setting up successful project management reporting is low-code automation. The Crown Castle stakeholders requested reports for past-due tasks, marketing launches, at-risk tasks, and upcoming tasks across their different project types. Figure 4 shows an example of the past-due tasks report I built out according to their different project types. Through automation, tasks that are past due automatically filter into this report, and project leadership can then review with the delivery teams to resolve any roadblocks as needed.

Figure 4

Asana Past Due Tasks Report


Another key element of Waterfall project management processes is the concept of phase-gating. The phase gate process is a technique that is used to guide a project from conception to launch. It requires a review of each project stage before moving on to the next. In the phase gate review process, specific criteria must be met to determine the success of a phase and the ongoing viability of a project. The project manager will then decide to either move forward, make modifications before advancing, or end the project. In an effort to improve the PM processes at Crown Castle, I introduced the concept of phase-gating through criteria checklists as shown in Figure 4. The Crown Castle team accepted this idea and were happy to introduce it into their Asana environement.

Figure 5

The Phase-Gate Checklists


Finally, no project management technology implementation project is complete without some version of training material that is bespoke to the needs of the organization and the requirements tailored in the object diagram. Especially considering that Crown Castle's team were first-time users of Asana, I wanted to ensure that I created a thorough guide for Asana training that catered to both visual and reading learners. Thus, as shown in Figure 6, an Asana Project Management Training Manual was created and given to each of the Crown Castle Asana users.

Figure 6

CCI Asana Training Manual


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