How Citrix simplifies its PMO to deliver better customer experiences
Smartsheet helps Citrix’s Customer Success Portfolio Team simplify its process and project management so team members can focus on their customers’ needs.
- Large (2000 - 9999)
- North America
- Automation Features
- Project Visibility
"Our division’s flight plan for 2019 included 69 projects. With the toolkit and training via e-learning, we were able to empower project leads who don’t have PMI training or PMP certifications to manage and lead those projects for their teams. And we saw tremendous results."
Product Manager, Customer Success Portfolio Team, Citrix
Citrix provides a unified, secure and intelligent work platform that transforms the employee experience by organizing, guiding, and automating all activities people need to do their best work. With Citrix digital workspace solutions, employees are more productive and engaged.
In much the same way, Smartsheet helps Citrix’s Customer Success Portfolio Team simplify its process and project management so team members can focus on their customers’ needs.
To better serve those customers, Citrix set out to redesign its product support portfolio. When Stephen Andreasen joined the Support Programs and Strategy team as a Product Manager, his chief responsibility was to oversee a substantial plan for the effort — “More than 1,000 rows long; that’s not even an exaggeration,” he says.
To keep stakeholders up to date, Andreasen had to check in with members of the project team to get the latest details on their tasks, enter it into the project management tool, and write updates and develop visuals to share with executives and other key stakeholders. It was a tedious, manual process, that wasn’t sustainable as his role expanded to include more business analysis.
“My manager suggested we find a better way to monitor projects, make things more efficient, and free up more time to do other things,” Andreasen says. “We already had enough projects to deal with, and we were getting more and more. We needed to establish an evaluation and intake process as part of a more formal project management office.” They decided to adopt Smartsheet to help connect departments while streamlining their PMO, then quickly saw plenty of benefits that impacted their budget and quality of work-life.
Connecting departments with one platform
Smartsheet met Citrix’s requirements in several ways. Its flexible configuration options meant that each project could be set up to meet the needs of the work and the team’s style, not forced into a rigid structure.
It streamlined the flow of information between different teams, which was crucial for projects like the support portfolio redesign that required input from IT, legal, operations, marketing, and other key groups. And it was easy for new users to learn quickly. That was vital for a team that had only a few formally trained project managers to rely on; it simply wasn’t possible to assign dedicated PMs to every project.
Elena Leichardt, Product manager on the Customer Success Portfolio Team, introduces team members to the new Smartsheet-based project management system with a training she built and named the Project Management Toolkit for Project Leads. It includes tailored templates that align with Project Management Institute (PMI) best practices, as well as a set of e-learning modules that allow project leads to take in the information on their own schedule.
Smartsheet helps empower project leads
“Our division’s flight plan for 2019 included 69 projects,” Leichardt says. “With the toolkit and training via e-learning, we were able to empower project leads who don’t have PMI training or PMP certifications to manage and lead those projects for their teams. And we saw tremendous results.
“People would watch e-learning at 9 a.m., and by 10 a.m. they would already build out their project plan and start connecting things to the dashboards to provide status updates to their leadership and to their team.”
Leichardt and her team are also pursuing an ambitious project to understand the customer journey in detail and find ways to improve the experience at every level for both customers and Citrix colleagues.
They use Smartsheet to collaborate with other Citrix teams, using sub-team workspaces within a project sheet to draft and review the components of the project plan. Weekly project meetings aren’t just status updates; with all the information in one place, Leichardt and her colleagues can instead solve problems and move the project forward.
Their initiative is just one of the many customer programs that Citrix continually develops and refines. The more complex the program, the more important it is to have a tool that helps simplify how the work can be done.
Value creation through automation
“The great thing about Smartsheet is that it helped us automate the things that made sense to automate,” Andreasen says. “The project manager can focus on more value-based activities — not sending email reminders every day, but identifying the risks that are blocking progress and spending more time getting people aligned.”
Executive reports take nearly 98% less time to compile
Smartsheet also helps company executives save time on weekly reporting. Leichardt says executives used to have to gather individual write-ups from as many as 10 direct reports, then spend a few hours compiling a new document to send up to company leadership.
Now team members can update their details in a Smartsheet sheet, and the team lead needs just a few minutes to review and update the information before sharing it with a vice president. This means reports take approximately 98% less time to compile. They no longer have to create a new presentation; leads can simply share a link that allows executives to drill down on any details they want to explore.
Excitement for Smartsheet is spreading
Faster reporting and an easy learning curve have helped Andreasen and Leichardt get enthusiastic responses when they introduce Smartsheet to their colleagues.
“Before I converted the PM toolkit training into e-learning, I was presenting it individually to some directors and managers, and I saw some of them actually turning into evangelists of Smartsheet by the end of the meeting,” Leichardt says.
“I delivered one training, and then half an hour later, Stephen told me that he heard a couple of managers who attended the training explaining to other managers how great Smartsheet is, and how easy it is to use.”
As Citrix develops more customer programs, Smartsheet is helping its people think creatively and become even more ambitious about problem-solving. With fewer administrative details to manage, there’s more room for innovative thinking.
“It just helped us become a lot more effective as a team and freed us from the admin work that a lot of project managers get bogged down with,” Andreasen says.
“Once we set up Smartsheet, it helped us free up a lot of people to spend more time really getting their job done. Which is actually a lot like what Citrix does, to simplify IT so that people can focus more on getting their work done, not get bogged down by complicated admin processes — or complicated anything.”