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The Challenge

Herzing University is a private institution that offers degrees in nursing, technology, business, and healthcare. Growing at a rapid pace, they needed to scale their ability to keep track of new program development and move out of Excel and email and into a more comprehensive, evergreen digital project management tool.

In a matter of weeks, I developed a hypothesis, conducted an RFP, presented low-cost, low-risk prototypes, and agreed upon a project management tool and workflow to guide Herzing’s program development process. This approach centers around my ability to bridge the gap between business needs & the capabilities that digital solutions can bring at scale.

The Solution

Before the Smartsheet implementation could begin, it was important to outline for the Herzing team the 4 critical elements for building a comprehensive project management suite. 



Project requests, whether internal or external, should be handled in a clear, uniform way through a request form, approval flow, and project intake sheet. From initial submission, idea review, and final execution the path for new work should be clear for your entire organization so nothing slips through the cracks.



The creation of your project templates is where the core of your project data is going to live. Building these templates requires meeting with each of your stakeholders that oversees an important phase within your projects to ensure appropriate timings and ownership are assigned. These templates will be replicated every time a new project request is approved.



Your project management data begins to bring you value and strategic action when you can summarize it in automated project reports and portfolio dashboards. All the different audiences, from the C-suite level to the manager level should have the access and insight into the information that they need.



The most forgotten element of any project management solution is the archiving process. Proper project archiving, however, is one of the most important pieces to set up to ensure the reports and dashboards we build are working with live, accurate data. By archiving properly, you are ensuring that your team is only working on what is relevant to them.

Figure 1

The Project Suite Flow

Next, we create a project intake form and sheet so Herzing could keep track of new program requests. Filling out a project intake form for each project can help you keep track of what your team is working on and what each client's expectations are. It can also help you track deadlines, prioritize tasks and determine whether your team has the capacity to take on additional work. Your intake form is a tool to obtain accurate and up-to-date information from a new client/manager that you need to perform your job. This may include answering questions, locating paperwork, or providing you with usernames and passwords for certain applications.

Figure 2

Program Intake Sheet

Smartsheet offered Herzing’s team the ability to build an environment that was familiar to the way they were managing projects before, without all the manual updating and at a very low cost. Additionally, Herzing’s leadership team is able to use the dashboards Level built within the system to get the project information they need at the touch of a button. My implementation of the thoroughly refined project management suite through the capabilities of Smartsheet has cut out 80% of the project status meetings Herzing was holding beforehand, and it has centralized and automated all program development information into a singular hub for the entire team. Figure 3 showcases the culmination of my work, the Portfolio Dashboard that rolls up all the most important project information for Herzing University's C-suite.

Figure 3

Herzing University's Portfolio Dashboard

We also built a variety of simple training documents for the Herzing University teams.

Figure 4

Uploading Documents Training Guide


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