Showing posts with label CA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CA. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Radio Show 1/6 - Instant Agenda - The New Way for Meetings in 2017!


The Work/Life Balance

Friday at 2 PM Pacific

January 06, 2017: Instant Agenda - The New Way for Meetings in 2017!
Instant Agenda is a SaaS meeting application for leaders who want outcomes, not chatter. It allows anyone to run more successful meetings with a minimum of preparation. Our focus is the content of the meeting – preparation, facilitation and follow up – rather than telecommunications or screen sharing technology. Key features of Instant Agenda include: • Shared, real-time interface • Integrated time keeping, notes and action items • Meeting summaries • Facilitation guidance for different types of meetings. Instant Agenda is being developed as part of the CA Technologies “Accelerator

Tune in

Friday at 2 PM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Business Channel
Questions? Comments?
Call In Live!
Toll Free: 1-866-472-5790
Intl: 001-480-398-3352

Featured Guests

Michael Ball-Marian

Michael Ball-Marian is co-founder of Instant Agenda within the CA Accelerator. Michael was born a squalling, helpless MVP and has struggled ever since to obtain product-market fit. Experiments have included Peace Corps volunteer, ops engineer, scrum master, product owner, agile coach, husband, father, armchair philosopher, and, most recently, lean startup founder. Michael is still working on his exit-strategy, but his earliest angel investors seem generally proud of his accomplishments.

Rick Lansky

Rick Lansky has a varied history in both hardware and software. He began his career as a computational physicist working in the disk drive business. After many years, he awoke one day to the realization that life as a scientist in a commodity business can be challenging. He degaussed his career and made the leap to web-based software where he’s been happily solving customer problems ever since. He’s currently the co-founder and technical lead of Instant Agenda, a project within with the CA Accelerator.

Connect with VoiceAmerica

Download our mobile apps

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

CA Technologies is changing the narrative with the next release of CA PPM

As a long time user of PPM technology, I have always been a big fan of CA PPM (Clarity).  The feature set is robust and it offers unparalleled configurability to the end user.  CA PPM is truly a platform that can be utilized to solve many more business issues and processes than just project and portfolio management.  The ability for businesses to leverage the power of the platform and to drive the key performance indicators of their individual needs makes it a market leader.  The architecture underneath CA PPM is a differentiator.  The ability to easily upgrade to the newest version without losing configurations and user settings has also made it a very attractive product.
There are a couple of key segments of the market to consider as well.  In my experience, only 10-15% of project managers on the market can write a fully resource loaded project schedule.  It is a skill that most project managers have not had the time to invest in learning.  The issue becomes the aggregation of data across an enterprise that is trying to leverage resource capacity and demand.  If the project managers are not resource loading the schedules, then a large disconnect can occur.  This has been an issue that many software vendors are trying to resolve.  CA PPM separates allocation from assignment to ease the burden for the organizations that want to allow mature and immature project schedules to be normalized and aggregated.  Again, a market leader.  The issue that CA PPM has always faced with their product is that the focus was on features, functions, and the maturity of their product allowed them to fall behind in the user interface.  This narrative has changed and CA PPM’s next release will absolutely change the market.
Some companies have utilized Workfront, Daptiv, or some of the newer solutions because of a modern interface.  What these systems lack in configurability, features, or functions have been outweighed by the ease of use factor in the product.  CA recognized this issue and tonight, unveiled their latest direction with the product.  Instead of chasing features or functionality, or even getting a laundry list of improvements requested by the end user, they invested a tremendous amount of resources in behavioral science.  They studied how humans interact with the product and why.  They extrapolated the data into some key findings and focused on those in a completely fresh look at the design of the product.  By focusing on personas, this enabled them to design the entire interaction with the product from a user life cycle perspective.  The results are impressive.
Think of the best features of Facebook and Twitter combined with the stability, power, and adaptability of one of the most mature products on the market.  This is an absolute game changer.  The new interface is intuitive, modern, and design with total mobility in mind.  The ability and extensibility of the product has been modernized for ease of use and has been optimized to also be used on mobile platforms.  This is not an app; it is a solution that can be accessed anywhere business is done.  Furthermore, it will take the use of a PPM tool (which has been viewed as a governance platform or a necessary evil) into a more social user experience that will drive the participation and content of the team.  CA PPM will become the centerpiece of conversation and collaboration instead of being a collector or aggregator of data.  It is truly revolutionary.
The other exciting piece of information that was shared today at CA World was the commitment of resources to move the product forward.  CA has nearly 40 resources dedicated to the enhancement of the product and several others working in a shared services model.  This means there are more people developing than some of the other products have in their entire company.  Mike Gregoire also stated that CA will be investing $1B next year to research and development of CA products.
It is clear by talking to customers, seeing the preview, and hearing the research that CA has absolutely nailed the market.  The behavioral science was a paramount decision that will continue to produce real solutions to real problems.  Some of the other major players in this space should be worried about the impact this design and delivery will have in the PPM market.  As I said in the title, the narrative has changed.  It will no longer be about can the product do this or that, it will be a centerpiece product that will revolutionize how the market utilizes PPM software.
No Day But Today,

Friday, July 12, 2013

Transparency is your Friend in Strategic Planning

The more I speak throughout the world, it is becoming more clear that there is a growing fear when it comes to strategic planning.  There is a general fear in transparency.  Why is that?  I meet with many project managers across the globe that emote a general apathy.  Frustration is the most common emotion due to what they feel is a series of mandated dates, misunderstood requirements, and most of all, over-utilized staff.  Executives that I meet with are most frustrated because they are constantly hearing that projects are on track until the last minute or by the time they hear of an issue, the project is too far down a path for a course correction.  They all state that they want a solution.  The solution is simple:  transparency.
First, let’s analyze the myth of the mandated date.  Most project managers feel that almost every project that is received comes with a due date attached.  This creates panic, frustration, and many times poor quality as corners get cut to meet the mandated date.  Most Executives that I meet with tell me that while a date is attached, it is only done in order to provide a guideline.  It is not mandated and can be changed if proper data is supplied as to why the dates need to be altered.  They would be shocked to hear the measures that their staff is going through to meet the dates that many times are arbitrary.  Why is there such a disconnect and frustration all around when seemingly everyone wants the same thing?  The answer is the filtration process.  There is a huge filter between the Executives and the workers called Middle Management.  This layer is often needed, however, it can be the most damaging layer to the timeline, data, productivity, and ultimately the bottom line.
There are a few examples of this layer.  There was a company trying to change their core product to a newer generation product where this type of filter was on display.  This organization’s number one initiative continually failed to even come close to its production date or budget.  It missed its target by years and millions of dollars and the production date was reset multiple times.  The organization wanted to focus on improving its project management practices and hired an outside firm.  It was clear early in the consulting engagement that transparency in the reporting process was needed.  It was evident that the prioritization, resource management, and project reporting processes were all lacking and continue to be filtered by the middle managers.  The organization that was hired to change these processes brought in software to bring transparency to these processes, sell the executives on the need to do it, signed project scope statements, and even held town hall meetings to sell the entire organization on why it was necessary.  There were two key departments that were responsible for most of the resource constraints and missed dates.  Many of the other department leaders commented and wondered how these departments would react to the views and direction that was being shared in the meetings.  When it came time for the controversial meeting, one of the key stakeholders who had attended all of the meetings gave conflicting directions and made it seem as if the project team did not have a clear plan of implementation.  The manager even gave conflicting timelines and completion dates.  This left the impression that the agreements made by senior management and other levels earlier in the project were not set and the momentum of the project was quickly halted.  After that meeting, questions about scope and direction of the project were raised even though a signed scope statement and agreed project plan had been clearly laid out.  It was clear that the stakeholder did not want the software, or better yet, the transparency the software would bring to the organization. Perhaps that middle manager was looking for some job security but instead, it was obvious that the man in the middle was part of the problem.
Another example is when CA debuted the new CA Clarity Playbook.  It gives the Executives the ability to drill directly from their strategic plans to the project performance easily from their iPad®.  It is truly amazing and transparent.  The early feedback is fantastic from all the Executives and project managers that I have met with.  There is one group that I could see getting a bit nervous and it is the same group that everyone already knows.  It is the group that I identify as the “spinners” or Middle Management.  The ones who do not want the transparency.  The teams that like to massage the data or change all of the reds to greens.  These are the ones that may be afraid of this technology.  I can tell you this, transparency is your friend.  Time and time again, it is 3% of the organization that is causing 90% of the issues.  We all know who they are.  We all know where it is coming from.  If I asked you, the reader, which department is most responsible for delaying projects and then polled the rest of your company, it would be no surprise to you. It is the same people who complain about how busy they are, however, never seem to produce any results!  What I do not understand is why we consistently cater to this group.  Why business continues to punish the 97% of the organization that does work extremely hard and does do the right thing only to allow the 3% to continue to not be transparent?
This is part 1 of a 5 part series where I will be exploring why transparency is your friend in strategic planning.   I will be walking through all phases of strategic planning including what Executives do with their plans, how often should plans be revised, as well as accountability, and whether or not organizations should be measured against it. Any thoughts or comments or items that you want me to address, please leave them here or on twitter @rickamorris.
No Day but Today,

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Clarity 13.2 Brings Added Value to an Already Fabulous Product plus New CA Clarity Agile Integrations!

As many of you know I am a huge fan of the latest release of Clarity 13.  Recently, I received a sneak peak of the new 13.2 release of Clarity and the new features of CA Clarity Agile.  These promise to be extremely exciting releases!  Here are some of the features that we can all look forward to:

Clarity 13.2

I felt that the 13 release of Clarity was a game changer.  Clarity has always been more than a project and portfolio tool to me, it is also a platform.  Since we can create objects, attributes, and configure the tool, we are really only limited by our imagination.  We have been able to create resourcing solutions for professional services, solve complex algorithms for the pharmaceutical industry, and revolutionize oil and gas by taking the base of Clarity and extending the platform through configurations not customizations.  What I saw in version 13 finally solved many of the UI challenges that the tool lacked.  Version 13.2 continues to build on the momentum with some continued usability enhancements, mobile timesheets, and some exciting changes to portfolios and Open Workbench.


Portfolios has been a difficult feature for Clarity for quite some time.  There are some usability issues within the current version, however, procedurally many clients want to start with portfolios without having good data to support the proper use.  Once the data is ready, several clients have complained that the scenario functionality can be difficult to use.  The main reason for this is navigation and understanding of how it really works.  This has been addressed in a major way in 13.2.  In fact, scenarios in the traditional was is completely gone in this release.  Scenarios is now replaced with an object called “Plan” that is a configurable object that is less constrained to reality giving the user more options to play with the project schedule and more options to work within the live investments.  This brings the data within the plan object so that it exists and is contained within that object making it more user friendly and less clicks from a navigation stand point.  This is a huge shift in thinking as well as multiple plans can be created within the portfolio in a more rapid fashion making it easier to delineate and compare the plans than it was in the previous scenario model.

Even more exciting was when the “Waterline” functionality was shown which was extremely elegant and visually pleasing in the demonstration.  This functionality allows a configurable set of parameters (just like constraints works today) to be adjusted real time.  However, unlike the past where this information had to be generated and then the user looked at the results, this information is presented in a very slick interface with a clear “Waterline” that shows investments that are above and below the line of inclusion based on the parameters.  Additionally, the individual constraints are shown with red, yellow, and green explanations in segmented boxes as well giving directed feedback on the selected parameters.  A very clear shift in reporting and a huge improvement in portfolio functionality.

Another exciting feature was the drag and drop interactive Gantt charts on the portfolio.  For instance, if the user is looking at the same investments from the waterline report above and switched to the Gantt chart view to see the durations of the investments, the user then could decide to move one investment from 2013 to 2014 by sliding the bar on the Gantt chart.  The user also could extend another investment from one year to 18 months as part of his or her analysis.  Immediately, Clarity would provide instant feedback with visual components of the impacts of those changes including the shift of the waterline up or down respectively.  A very cool new function. Version 13.2 has had a very large focus on the Portfolio functionality and I know of several clients that simply can’t wait to get their hands on it!

Mobile Timesheets

Another highly anticipated feature is the addition of mobile timesheets.  To be clear, this isn’t simply timesheets that have been added for the Safari browser.  These are timesheets that have been optimized to work with mobile applications.  Multi-gesture enabled timesheets that will allow the very busy user to bill their time on the go.  This includes pinch, zoom, and full synchronization with Clarity.  This is a feature that many people have been asking for and it is ready to go for 13.2.

Keyboard Shortcuts

I love the continued advances that Clarity continues to bring and the ease of use that it continues to bring.  Clarity was one of the first tools that I can remember that had the “Edit Mode” functionality where I could configure my screen, drop in to edit mode and then edit the web page like a spreadsheet.  Then finally in 13.0, we did not have to go in to edit mode and had just the in line editing.  Then one of the chief complaints, especially when using the time scaled values from a usability standpoint is that when working with a tremendous amount of data, many of the standard keyboard shortcuts (like you would use in Microsoft Excel) did not work.  The standard response to that complaint usually was, “This is a web application.”  Now in 13.2, the keyboard shortcuts will work in 13.2.  Many of the quick shortcuts that most people are accustomed to will now function in the TSV (CTRL+C, CTRL+X, CTRL+A, etc.)  This is quite exciting!

Updated Portlet Code

Clarity’s presentation layer is one of the absolute best in the industry.  It is the most configurable on the market.  It allows each user to make their own decision about how they want to see the data while not effecting other users.  One of my favorite stories that I tell as an example is when I was working with a PMO director who hated pie charts.  He explained that when there are 10 issues or 100 issues, the pie chart is always the same size, so he prefers bar charts over pie charts.  While he was explaining this to me, I went in to his Clarity and changed his issue pie chart to a bar chart so it was a moot point!  I love Clarity for the things that it can make so easy.  One of the downfalls of the presentation layer had been the lack of a grouping level.  Sometimes when there was a complex report, the reporting layer would not present the data in a readable way.  Therefore, through code or a forced layer, we would have to modify a portlet to get it to report the way a client was wanting the data to be seen.  In 13.2, there is now an added option in the out of the box portlet code adding a “group by” category for easier charts and portlets to assist in this difficulty.  This is a feature that will bring many clients immediate benefit.

Open Workbench

At the last CA World, it was announced that Open Workbench would be maintained and that there would be some effort placed in updating the product.  This promise has been fulfilled.  There are many people in different camps.  Some favor Microsoft Project, others that think Open Workbench is a superior product.  I have enjoyed both products for various reasons.  I really like the delivery of the views of Open Workbench and how they can drive you through the workflow.  What has been frustrating in the past with Open Workbench is some of the basic features of the application.  Items such as resizing the columns, dependencies, and basic functionality like that has been severely lacking.  I am happy to report that these items are now addressed with the release in 13.2.  Significant enhancements to the user interface and overall usability is a very welcome enhancement.  Dependencies have been particularly frustrating because of how you had to create it.  This is now available with drag and drop functionality.  With this focus, I suspect many new users will shift officially to the Open Workbench camp.

CA Clarity Agile

As the Agile methodology continues to grow in its adoption and users continue to look for integration options to allow development and project teams to have seamless integration, CA Clarity Agile continues to be a market leader due to the power of Salesforce.Com and Clarity.  The 13.2 release continues this momentum.

Burn Down Charts

A feature that has been long overdue in this integration is a burn down chart that can be displayed in Clarity for project managers to display on their projects or for dashboards.  This is now available with the integration options in the new version of CA Clarity Agile.

Task Status Mapping

One of the most exciting items that I saw was a task mapping status to Clarity charge codes.  For each task type in CA Clarity Agile, these can be configured.  For most clients, they need to know whether a task is capital or expense for capitalization purposes.  This has been quite a headache for clients because we had to create a custom map or solution outside of the tool that did a mapping so that this could be tracked for financial purposes.  In the latest release, this has been fixed so that each task type can be tracked to a charge code within Clarity so that time can be charged to capital or expense and a secondary solution is not required.  A fantastic solution and one that has been needed for many clients!

Configurable User Story Popups

Within CA Clarity Agile, the User Story would popup.  However, if there were custom fields (which many clients do create) they were unable to add the custom fields to the popup.  This has been fixed so that their custom fields can be added to the popup.  This is a great addition for our clients!

Task Cloning

When you clone tasks, this was a great feature, however it would pull the actual hours and pull over completed tasks that would require some clean up.  While this would save some work for the user, it still required some clean up that was undesirable.  Now the user has the ability to just select the tasks that are not completed and it will not pull over the actual hours so that it is just the information that is needed which is the true need of task cloning.  This proves that the developers are listening to the feedback of the user community!


Beyond these named features, there are tremendous amount of performance improvements and enhancements that have been made to Clarity 13.2 and CA Clarity Agile.  Clarity continues to be the most configurable to on the market.  With release 13.2 shows that CA is unafraid to realize that certain architecture decisions may not have been the best (i.e. scenario vs. plan object) while continue to expand the usability decisions that have been fantastic (keyboard shortcuts in the TSV fields).  I am excited about the new release and am hearing about early features of 13.3 like printing the Gantt chart and improved communications of the Plan Object.  I will be playing with 13.2 at CA World, hope to see you there!

No Day but Today!