From Project Portfolio to Individual Tasks – Teamhood at Scale

TL;DR

One of the key challenges among complicated or complex projects is the seamless flow of information. In Teamhood, we have created a Synchronized copy relationship with auto-aggregating properties to tackle this particular problem.

You can create Project portfolios as separate workspaces and then create item copies as milestones or functional tasks in other workspaces. Those copies will give feedback on the information and keep everyone aligned. There is no limit to how many levels of such hierarchy can be created and with that, very powerful scenarios can be constructed.

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Intro to the way of thinking

When faced with project management at scale, you might have several questions or problems to solve. For example:

  • How to keep the level of detail fine-tuned for each specific employee role?
  • How to maintain strong relations between projects and tasks that fulfill those projects?
  • How to automate cost tracking and progress from the bottom to the top?
  • How to keep everyone aligned?
  • How to break organizational silos?

Another thing to consider is the environment your team works in. We see that more often than not, projects at scale can be categorized into two key types of environments: complicated and complex.

  1. Complicated – usually this correlates with the number of projects and amount of tasks under each project. The more projects and tasks there are, the more complicated the environment becomes.
  2. Complex – this correlates with the nature of actual project work or project goal. Where projects required intensive collaboration between numerous individuals. Also, high uncertainty levels quickly push projects to become complex.

This creates a need for a solution that will be able to represent either environment and help answer the questions mentioned above.

Common levels of detail

One last factor with project management at scale is the different levels of detail that will be required. Depending on who is using the product, they will require different types of information. Here are the 3 categories we want to outline:

We are categorizing purely based on our practices and observations made by working with our customers. Each project level defines type of goals, ownership, types of stakeholders involved as well as way of declaring what needs to be done.

  • Portfolio or program (high level)

Top management-focused information. Usually, business area executives or senior managers will be working through this layer to define strategic customer projects or internal initiatives. Only high-level data per project or program can be used here to represent the schedule, planned budget, top-level milestones, RACI or similar responsibility matrix, actual cost, actual progress, and actual status.

  • Project milestones (mid-level, aka “the bridge”)

Project management or middle management focused information to bridge strategy and tactics across the organization. This most likely will focus on individual projects or project milestones to have more detailed progress tracking. Similar data just on milestone level will be tracked here: schedule, planned budget, RACI or similar responsibility matric, actual cost, actual progress, and actual status. This is where project managers will most likely be the owners and managers.

  • Tasks level (low level)

Functional teams or individual contributor focus. This will be where actual work happens, and it will contain the most detailed breakdown of tasks. All those tasks will be used to feedback information from the bottom to the top. Various information can be tracked here based on the nature of tasks.

A few examples are estimated work hours or days to complete, actual time taken to complete, assignee, whom to report on progress, actual progress, actual status, and specification.

Synchronized copy and value aggregates to the rescue

In most common situations while working with Teamhood and needing scaled project management, you might end up creating separate workspaces for each level of detail. That means at least 3 workspaces:

  1. Portfolio / Program workspace
  2. Projects / Milestones workspace
  3. Functional teams / tasks workspace

To visualize those workspaces, let’s create a separate row each on a single Teamhood board. Just beware, in reality, each row would probably represent a separate Workspace or at least a Board. Luckily, there is no big difference in how the actual synchronization feature works. See the example below, where COPY is the data flow using synchronized copies, and SUM is the aggregated value flow.

image 1

Such structure can be even 4 levels or more. Teamhood does not have a limit here.

Learn more about aggregates in this video.

Which item properties are synchronized and aggregated?

By default, all numeric values are aggregated from child items to parent items. When an item is a synchronized copy, Teamhood checks what is the synchronized copy configuration in the original item workspace, then takes actual values (takes precedence) or child item aggregate and synchronizes the selected value to the original item (source of copy).

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