Known throughout the world for its greeting cards, retail stores, gifts, and television series, Hallmark Cards believes that when you care enough, you can change the world. Their products and services are dedicated to creating a more emotionally connected world and making a difference in the lives of others. Translating caring and creativity into action is not lost on the Hallmark PMO, who is responsible for maximizing the company’s investments while reducing its risk.
This blog provides a summary of the recent case study and shares the challenges the PMO was facing, the approach to improvement, and some of the benefits realized after streamlining PMO projects and agile execution.
The Hallmark Cards Case Study
Hallmark was founded in 1910 by entrepreneur J.C. Hall and is still led by members of the founding family today. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, Hallmark’s businesses employ approximately 28,000 people worldwide. The Hallmark experience extends online at Hallmark.com and includes Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Hall of Fame, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel, and Crayola.
Challenges: Disparate Tools and Labored Practices Hindered Productivity and Visibility
Charged with finding a collaboration tool for project teams, the PMO hoped to make significant changes to how resources and projects were managed. Adjunct teams were using many different project management tools, including several rogue implementations which flew under security’s radar. Hallmark Cards needed a single collaboration tool that would pass strict security standards, was flexible enough for the various types of teams that needed to get work done, and yet still worked for offsite and remote resources.
“We were using sticky notes on visual boards around the company and too many spreadsheets,” says Dawn Acosta, PMO consultant at Hallmark Cards. “The boards were difficult to read, cumbersome to create and maintain, and required physical presence to view and update them. Many projects had up to 15 feet of sticky notes (literally), yet we were still trying to collaborate through emails and complex spreadsheets.”
Equally inefficient were many of the PMO’s team meetings to discuss roadblocks and progress, turnarounds, and standard work. Without a consolidated, cloud-based system to house project and resource information, team members found meetings less than productive.
Solution: Make Invisible Work Visible
Planview Projectplace®was selected after an extensive pilot, and once rolled out, the benefits were immediately felt. Story maps went from arduous to coordinated, and the real-time visibility was a welcome change. “We were able to put everything about what we wanted to deliver and prioritize, the activities we must do and how they all ladder up in one tool,” says Acosta. “We still use cards and columns, but now it’s all digital. It’s easier to manage and manipulate, we can have more content with checklists and color-coded tasks, and best of all, the information is in real time and accessible from mobile devices.”
Because of the flexibility and intuitive interface of Projectplace, it didn’t take long for users to realize the tool could be used for more than project collaboration with Kanban boards. The PMO has eliminated manual, lengthy resource request, onboarding, and offboarding with Projectplace. They now have everything in one place, including standard operating procedure documentation, checklist, statuses, and metrics.
“All of the intercommunication and documentation that occurs in ProjectPlace reduces the church through Outlook, with the biggest benefit being it links all of that communication back to the item you were talking about,” says Hayhurst. “We no longer have to switch between application to figure out what is happening and where the communications occurred.”
Results: Modern Day Collaboration Using Digital Boards
Since eliminating sticky notes in favor of Projectplace, the Hallmark Cards PMO has:
- A single, secure, and virtual place to collaborate, standardize work, and post updates improving visibility and accuracy of resource request records
- Reduced PMO meetings from 1 hour to 30 minutes resulting in 1,000-man hours saved per year
- 24/7 access to the real-time status of tasks, creating accountability and responsible team members, and improve delivery for everyday work and projects
- Drastically reduced the number of emails and eliminated spreadsheets used, saving time and confusion
- Broadened the flexibility of ProjectPlace to creative use cases that support PMO work
- Expanded collaboration workspaces from 2 initial groups to 6 additional teams outside of the PMO within the organization
The PMO at Hallmark Cards digitized story map management, project execution, and archaic Kanban board practices, improving visibility and streamlining procedures, increasing team collaboration and productivity. A true testament to translating caring and creativity into action. Here’s a link to the full case study PDF.