In my current capacity as a Planview expert-in-residence, I was pleased to be invited to attend and speak at the Horizons 2011 User Conference last Wednesday, as well as share my thoughts as a guest blogger. As always, there was much to take in; catching up with old friends, meeting new, first-time attendees (a majority this year, in fact), and sitting in on several of the many sessions.
In retrospect, one particular take-away struck me as a consistent theme over my experience at a dozen or so Planview user events. Of the many unique ways that participants gain value from such meetings, perhaps none is more important as finding that one ‘nugget of information’ that changes the future course of their program and profoundly affects their level of success. I have no doubt that Greg Gilmore talked about this in his closing session on Thursday.
As you would expect, most user presentations offer positive experiences and share amazing achievements as they continue on their portfolio management journey. Certainly inspiration and useful knowledge can be gained from such accounts. But, as we all know, the road isn’t always one that is easily traveled; sometimes a presenter offers up tough lessons created by struggle and adversity. Such accounts serve as a reminder about how challenging the implementation of portfolio management can be, or any other major improvement initiative for that matter.
Although it is natural to initially react with a bit of gloom when an organization recounts their struggles, there is a selfless and positive reason why they volunteer their story. If you look around the room, you will probably find that someone is at that very moment having an epiphany; that the resulting knowledge is shining like a beacon to someone else, showing the way forward for their own efforts. Maybe it shows in the look on their face, or how they lean in to their coworker with hurried whispers. Perhaps it is their furious notations or in the questions they ask.
Ultimately, that’s what Horizons is all about, what it has always offered to the user community — the chance to learn and grow from each others’ knowledge and experience — even it if is hard-won. As aptly illustrated by the idea of ‘finding a nugget,’ the value of one simple idea can be immeasurable, whether it comes in the form of a Meet-The-Expert session, a customer presentation, a networking discussion, or learning of new product capabilities. Even though it seems such nuggets are rare as we work our way through our daily efforts, I suspect you would be hard pressed to find a Horizons 2011 attendee who left empty handed. Hope to see you there next year!