By guest contributor Anthony Schatz, part 2 or 2 part series. Tony is senior partner at RJSL Group, IT project management consultancy and staff augmentation outfit based in Chicago.
We all know project resources are ever changing. It always seems that once you have a well-oiled team and everyone is working towards the same goal, inevitably a key member is promoted, removed, or leaves your project. As project managers, we are trained to work through these situations and keep the project moving forward. However, what happens when the project manager is replaced? Who leads the transition? Who ensures the project continues to move forward?
Here are some key components to ensure a smooth transition from one PM to another:
Sponsor(s)/Key Stakeholder Communication – This group will make or break a successful transition. These are high-level resources that need to understand their project will not be negatively impacted by this change. This group is mainly concerned about completing the project successfully. Explain to them why the transition is taking place and what the plan is to keep the project moving forward. If possible, have face-to-face meetings. Follow up these meetings with an email to have a written record of what was discussed.
Make sure you reach out to ALL sponsors/stakeholders, whether they are deeply involved or not. If you miss one key resource, it could jeopardize the transition.
Team Communication – Much like with the sponsors, it is important to explain to the team why the transition is taking place and what the plan is to continue to move forward. It is important to explain the project is not changing and the team’s responsibilities are not changing. Each resource is still responsible for the work assigned to them.
Documentation – A successful transition relies on the transitioning PM having all the project documentation up to date. Project standards (project schedule, risk and issues log, project charter, and status reports) provide the new project manager an understanding of what steps are necessary to continue moving the project forward. Further, good documentation allows the new PM to get up to speed without having to ask redundant questions that have already been answered.
By guest contributor, Anthony Schatz. part 1 or 2 part series. Tony is senior partner at RJSL Group, IT project management consultancy and staff augmentation outfit based in Chicago.
When a representative of your company goes out to call on a perspective customer and walks into the customer’s office, you, as a company, want your representatives to have the most current, accurate, and actionable data at their fingertips. With the integration of smart phones, tablets, and iPADs used by field representatives, the need for and use of mobile BI is a reality.
Two examples come to mind: Pharmaceutical Sales Reps and Consumer Electronic Field Teams. There is a distinct parallel between what these two groups do and the information they need to complete their jobs. For the most part, both groups go into accounts, talk with decision makers and auxiliary staff, and attempt to increase the sell through of their product.
The major question that needs to be asked and answered for the pharma rep and the CE field rep is: What will make the them more successful in driving sales for the company? The simple answer is information. Here is the caveat to that answer; it is not just information, but real, up-to-date, actionable information. This is where mobile BI comes into play.
Whether pharma reps or CE reps, resources in the field need data and information before they enter a business and it has to be timely and informative. Mobile BI platforms, accessible through a web portal, allow a company to provide specific and actionable data to their field representatives through an on-going basis. Now, with all the mobile technologies available to your mobile workforce, field representatives can go into a client armed with up to date such as:
Sales data for the product and the customer
% of the time the customer sells your product versus competitor products
Competitor information (promotions, sales comparisons, product comparisons…)
One of Mobile BI’s great benefits is to help drive sales through arming your sales force with information prior to making that sales call. Your reps will be able to make informative, actionable plans to follow when interacting with the customer.
Mobile BI gives your sales force the flexibility it needs in the field to make decisions, but ensures those decisions are based on timely, actionable, and objective data.
By Jason Busch, guest contributor. Jason Busch and Richard Lee, the founders of Spend Matters Group, a Spend Matters affiliate, frequently lecture and advise on M&A strategy and valuation in the B2B sector.
Looking at Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, I’m getting a sneaking feeling like it’s 1999 all over again. As with the last Internet bubble, consumer-centric tech companies with stratospheric valuations are leading the charge in buying smaller firms with, well, stratospheric valuations. And the metrics being used to gauge acquisition value – the number of users and user growth rates – seem eerily similar to non-financial valuation metrics from last time around (eyeballs, anyone?). That is, when Mary Meeker and Henry Blodget ushered in an era where discounted cash flow analysis was taught only to business school students and had no place in the bubble M&A world.
But how does this relate to WhatsApp? In a story from earlier this week, Reuters reportedthat “Facebook is paying $42 per user with the deal, dwarfing its own $33 per user cost of acquiring Instagram. By comparison, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten just bought messaging service Viber for $3 per user, in a $900 million deal.” As an aside, for those who are curious, the multiple on employees (55 in total for WhatsApp) was $344 million per FTE.
So number of users is now the new “eyeballs” in B2C. But what will the metrics for valuation become in B2B if indeed this bubble migrates to such future IPO candidates as Fieldglass, Coupa, and IQNavigator, not to mention public companies in the sector including SciQuest – and the already atmosphere topping Tungsten/OB10?
Arguably, the metrics by which one will measure B2B procurement, supplier network and marketplace companies this time will be more grounded in financial upside than the somewhat nebulous number of “free users” favored by the B2C social and app companies on the deal side today. Outside of the usual financially centric metrics including but not limited to discounted cash flow (DCF) as well as earning and revenue multiples (and growth multiples of the same), I’d vote for the following if I were trying to understand the potential value of these organizations in a bubble scenario:
Dollar volume of “non-card” commerce flowing through the application or network (owing to the potential value of new means of trade financing inclusive of both receivables financing and payables financing). The potential upside from a trade financing perspective (a market that in our analysis is well less than 1 percent tapped today) on the B2B application and network side is as much as 200+ basis points per transaction (but even a more conservative 25-75 basis points could show huge revenue potential)
Volume growth rates in terms of both dollars and number of transactions – a more valuable proxy than “number of customers” or “number of suppliers” because it shows actual application or marketplace usage.
Rate of large buying organizations added and successfully transacting. Taulia, for example, is absolutely the reigning champion in terms of adding new customer names in the e-invoicing and dynamic discounting area in the past 18 months. And after all, you need large buyers to enable value-added services for suppliers (which can generate new sources of revenue longer-term)
Number of “active suppliers” or those vendors doing commerce with organizations through an application or network in the past month or quarter. Separating out active from passive suppliers is key. Some networks and application providers claim to have hundreds of thousands of suppliers, but in many cases, the number of truly active vendors is less than 10 percent of the number claimed.
The privacy and security restrictions that an application, network or marketplace has (or does not have). For example, OB10/Tungsten and Ariba are able to do more with either user specific or aggregate data in the marketplace / network based on a relatively loose user agreement compared with more restrictive covenants in other agreements that do not enable the same sharing of information with either network participants or third parties (all of which could potentially provide value-added services) around the core offerings available today.
The ongoing sustainability of business models. For example, Fieldglass and IQNavigator, along with their vendor management system (VMS) competitors, have proven out the sustainability of a relatively high supplier-paid volume-based fee model until now. There is industry validation for this model. There is not the same commonality of validation for the value-based fees in the Ariba/SAP network model for indirect spend by comparison; in contrast, Ariba’s competitors based their pricing on alternative models.
There’s no question that B2C valuations are once again silly. And my guess is B2B is next. But the question remains: how we will value organizations when all the tried-and-true methods taught for decades in finance 101 courses goes the way of bad eighties music being played – this time through Pandora, iTunes and Spotify – on the 101 between San Francisco and San Jose.
Wait a minute … the 80s music is back and more alive than ever. In fact, the drivers for last two UberX rides that I took both had XM radio blasting Tears for Fears and INXS from the “80s” station.
Which of course can only mean one thing – the bubble is back.
Hyun-soo Ahn was one of South Korea’s most decorated short-track speed skaters (5 World Championships and 3 golds at 2006 Olympics), so why did he change his name to Viktor Ahn and is now skating for Russia?
What NY Times failed to understand… Sports federations in South Korea are like mini-mobs (maybe even worse). There have been allegations of abuse of power, misappropriation of funds, physical mistreatment of athletes, etc. I heard rumors that Ahn wasn’t supposed to win his 3rd gold at ’06 Olympics, rather it was supposed to go to one of his teammates so that he too could be exempt from mandatory military service (with mandatory military conscription, you are exempt if you win an Olympic gold). Instead, Ahn competed like any athlete should, whether Pop Warner or world-class… For that South Korean Skating Federation full of bureaucrats and fat cats, made Ahn’s life hell and disowned him when he was seriously injured ’08 and missed 2010 winter games. Now Viktor Ahn is winning medals for Russia at Sochi and could become one of the most decorated short-track speed skaters of all time. Talk about karma… Good for Viktor (and 61% of South Koreans surveyed agree)…
Greetings from SFO Red Carpet Club. There were days, pre-marriage and definitely pre-kids, when I enjoyed flying, whether for work or for leisure… And the Star Alliance network, led by United Airline (now United Continental Holdings) provided the widest reach. Fast forward a few years (after a couple of 200K+ annual air mile years and joining million miler club) and marriage and kids, I now fly only when needed and necessary. So when I logged on almost 50K miles in the last 60 days (no I am not trying to reach 2MM miler club), it was like learning a new trick all over again. Here’s what I’ve learned…
Automatic Premier Gold status for million-miler does not get you whole lot, except for premier check-in line. No wonder while back, a United million-miler sued the airline for breach of contract (before the merger, million lifetime miles got you premier executive, not premier gold status). I feel like I’m treated better by Star Alliance member airlines when I am traveling abroad that United, which I have most loyalty to.
US flight attendants really do need a lesson in customer service. Just because you start the sentence with either sir or ma’am that does not excuse rest of the sentence / paragraph that comes out of your mouth. Specifically, a couple of flight attendants in my recent flight from ORD to SFO were behaving like two frat boys at division II schools. It was embarrassing…
My recent flights on KAL, Singapore and Asiana served to only affirm my view. Of particular note, I caught an Asiana flight attendant cleaning the lavatories during downtime so that the customers can have more pleasant flying experience. 25+ years of flying domestic airlines, I’ve never seen any domestic flight attendant do the same.
I can certainly empathize with tight margins and cut-throat environment that depicts the airline industry (I was an early guy at Orbitz so I do have some insight). But it just seems like many US flight attendants, especially those with senority, have given up and are just going through the motions and are waiting for retirement (with apologies to those flight attendants who care and bust their butts to do their job right)… Much like networking, customer service is just good humanity. It has to be something you want to do and take pride in. So what’s my solution? Depressed million miler benefit combined with poor customer service, I don’t have much choice except to fly Star Alliance network airlines instead of United on international flights. Then again I do have 500K miles on American… Perhaps time to try a different domestic airline?
As an avid user of business technology, I try to keep abreast of the competition in mobile devices, but suffer from the dilemma that many other frustrated users do. No one device seems to have it all covered in a way that let’s me settle on one mobile platform for communications and other business functions. I’m not exactly on the sidelines of this epic battle among Android, IOS, Windows and others. I’m stuck in the middle of it all.
My tether to Windows Mobile was recently undone by the lack of compelling upgrade options from my last generation Windows Mobile 7.5 device. Unfortunately, it’s not been a clean break. I settled on HTC’s One (Android) partially because I still couldn’t justify an iPhone as a serious replacement, but also on the hopes that the platform could give me the business seriousness of Windows with the depth of utilities and and apps in the iPhone environment. Beware of being halfway into anything…
Just this morning I tried to receive and the upload some MS Office docs on my Android phone to the Google drive of my child’s elementary school class. Despite the “native” interaction you’d expect from Android and Google’s suite, I couldn’t save the .doc files to my 32GB android phone so I could then upload them to the Google drive. The more I tried to work around the frustration, the more it became apparent that my hip new Android device seems to suffer from some of the same compatibility problems that Apple has in its closed, but wildly popular, environment. My new phone can’t even support this simple (and widely used) document type.
Then it shouldn’t surprise you that I continue to carry at least 2 smartphones on most days, and up to 3 on others as I try to tap the particular strengths of each. If my pockets look fat to you, it’s not because my wallet is overstuffed. You probably have just seen me rolling with my 3 best (can’t-do-without-them) frenemies. Stop me sometime, I’ll introduce you to the Bros – Sir 3GS, and the HTC twins (fraternal) – Mr. One and Mr. HD7.
Can somebody get me the Ph*** out of this mess??? With that I introduce you to Microsoft’s next volley in this battle… That tablet’s going to look pretty silly when I hold it up to my ear to make a call.
Windows 8.1 gets a bad reputation as a tablet OS in spite of all the work Microsoft has put into it. While it’s true that it’s quite a stretch to build a platform that covers all possible computing forms, Windows 8.1 has some nice features that leaves Android behind.
Microsoft wasn’t the first to develop a scheme allowing multiple apps to run and display at the same time, but it’s done it better than anyone. Snap view allows putting multiple apps onscreen and then adjusting each pane to the size that works best.
While Android doesn’t have this ability, Samsung has its multi-view which works in a similar fashion. It’s restricted to a few approved apps, though, and that is a big limiter compared to Windows 8.1. It’s only on a few Galaxy devices and not part of Android proper.
Samsung’s multi-view is better than Microsoft’s snap view in one area, and that’s the ability to rotate the screen to portrait and still use it. The Windows 8.1 snap view will only work in landscape, in fact it disables screen rotation when it’s active. That smacks of laziness of the developers of Windows and needs to be fixed.
The one restriction aside, snap view in Windows 8.1 is well implemented and it’s nice to find it ingrained in the OS.
Have a lengthy discussion about Android and it will eventually turn to the thorny subject of updates. Perhaps the lack of updates is a more accurate way to put it.
Updates to Android devices are at the whim of the device makers and carriers and there’s no guarantee that a given device will ever get that shiny new version of Android. If they do, it will likely be long after it’s available from Google.
While it’s true that Android devices continue working just fine without each new OS update, they do miss getting some security updates that are part of these OS renewals.
Mobile experience improvement
Android has been out longer than Windows 8, and it seems that the user experience (UX) is roughly the same as it’s been for a long time. Sure there are minor improvements with each new version, but that’s about it.
The story is different when it comes to Windows 8. While there were some serious shortcomings in the original version of Windows 8, Microsoft stepped up to the plate and ironed them out with Windows 8.1.
That Windows 8.1 rolled out so fast is a testament to the new Microsoft. The improvements that are ingrained in Windows 8.1 are not minor. The advantage of snap view is due in large part to the 8.1 upgrade.
Rumors are already appearing about the upcoming Windows 9, which will no doubt be another major step forward as far as the UX is concerned.
We’ve been taught since an early age that sharing is a good thing, and that certainly applies to information. The ability to send information from one app to another is very powerful on mobile devices.
Both Windows 8.1 and Android have the ability to share information between apps, but the Windows implementation seems to be more consistent. The Share feature is always available right there in the Charms menu, and many apps have it implemented well.
There are a few apps that don’t have the ability to share, Google’s Chrome comes to mind, but for the most part apps make it simple to do so.
A great example of sharing in Windows 8.1 was given to me by a friend. He’s able to take ink notes in Windows Journal on his tablet and share them to his Evernote cloud where all his other notes live.
Another good example is the ability to share web pages to the Windows 8.1 Reading List app. This saves information on the web to read later in the Reading List app designed specifically for that purpose.
Sharing information is not missing from Android, but it’s more useful in Windows 8.1 in this writer’s experience.
The evolution of Windows
Windows 8.1 isn’t for everyone but it’s coming along nicely. It’s not strictly a mobile OS but it’s evolving into a decent one. The advantages discussed here are not the only ones over Android, but they are big enough to make a difference.
Some may feel that the availability of Microsoft Office on Windows 8.1 is a big advantage over Android and wonder why it’s not on this short list. While the absence of Office on Android is a disadvantage over Windows for some, it’s not for the millions of current Android users and thus is not discussed here.
Android makes more sense for some mobile users as it’s a robust platform for tablets and phones. It’s now making its way onto the desktop, too. Those wanting a pure mobile UX can do well with Android.
Windows is a better mobile OS than some realize, and it would be a mistake to overlook it. Mobile devices of all types are now available with Windows 8.1, and that alone could be an advantage for some over Android.
All my start-ups after Orbitz were boot-strapped, so I get rather passionate about this topic. Whenever inquiries come in from small business owners regarding the logistics of getting outside capital – valuation expectations; how much control to relinquish; what changes in operating agreement are necessary; re-classing voting rights and shares; guaranteed distributions regardless of performance (sort of like Jay Cutler’s new deal); etc. – I ask one simple question. Why do you think you need outside capital? Often, I’m dismayed by the answers I hear back… They range from funds for rainy days to taking money off the table for the founders. One thing you need to realize, it’s irrelevant why you think you need outside capital. Investors will only invest if prospects meet their investment thesis in addition to meeting a couple of crucial criteria.
Management team in place – if it comes down to poorer business model with great executive team vs. great business model with poor executive team, investors will always choose the former over the latter. There’s no such thing as great business with poor management – it won’t last. Lesson for business owners – choose your management team wisely as your business grows.
Scalable business model – investors will invest if exponential return in COGS investment can be forecasted, e.g. there’s significant operating leverage. Whether the business is technology-based or processes-based, business owners will have to demonstrate that an investor do not need to continue to spend corresponding OPEX dollars in order for it to grow.
So really think about why you need outside money and what you will use it for before approaching / accepting the capital. Besides, there’s some truth to old saying – taking VC funds is like making a deal with the devil – do really want or need to do that?