“Why I chose Sharktower” – Fraser Macdonald, Head of Delivery & Innovation
Lorraine Hosie on June 9th, 2021
When you’re overseeing projects that involve different people from different organisations across various time zones, how do you ensure everyone’s on the same page?
By adopting Sharktower, Fraser Macdonald from the Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF has been able to support collaborations across the globe to work more consistently and efficiently, while providing the organisation’s Board with the insights they need to keep the long-term strategy on track.
Here, Fraser talks about managing data-focused delivery before and after Sharktower.
How did you run projects before you got Sharktower?
“We let the teams run themselves, so we were in more of a governance position. But that means that you get a whole variety of things coming in, you know, people were self-managing through Excel or through Planner or other tools that are available to them. Which was great but it wasn’t a scalable or sustainable solution for us because we have such a broad portfolio now that we needed to bring that all together and consolidate it all in one place, so that we have a better understanding of what’s going on ourselves, and can keep track of anything that comes up.”
What project delivery challenges have you faced in the past?
“Lots of challenges! Really it has been the variety of people. In some ways it’s a positive because you get such a wealth of experience and ideas and expertise in the room, but at the same time, these people and these organisations all work at very different paces and timescales and time zones. So that’s been the biggest challenge – how to bring all those people together under one hat I to achieve the goals that we’ve set out.”
“We can see how everything we’re working on feeds into and links back to our one-year and five-year strategies, so we can communicate back to our Board.”
When did you know you needed a better way of doing things??
“There were a couple of triggers for that. Firstly, it was the growth of our portfolio and just being able to manage and understand everything that was going on. But at the same time it was an ask from our Board. They take a kind of increasing interest of how things are going, potential risks and potential issues that they can help with, and it’s difficult to communicate that when everyone’s using such a variety of tools. It was becoming more and more complicated, so that led to us think that we needed a better solution.”
How does Sharktower meet those needs?
“Sharktower pulls everything in under one space, so all the projects look the same. They’re all run the same way, and the terminology that’s used across all the projects is the same too. From very detailed points like tasks and activities through to those broader strategic objectives. We can see how everything we’re working on feeds up into and links back to our one-year and five-year strategies, and that allows us to communicate back to our Board.”
Does Sharktower help you work across different territories?
“Absolutely. We work on very different time zones and we work on very different activities, but just to know that you’re all talking about the same thing and keeping track of the decisions that are made. It helps us keep track of all the various issues that are going on, and the stories that are happening within the project. It’s been immensely useful.”
What difference has Sharktower made in your organisation?
“To the point where we we’ve actually started using it a lot more internally as well as for the collaborations. We’ve found it very useful because as our team grows and as our team activities get more complicated, it allows us to look internally as well and see what we’re doing, how it’s feeding into the various projects we’re working on and our broader objectives for the development of our organisation.”
How has adopting Sharktower been overall?
“It’s been really great, especially with the level of support we’ve had from the Sharktower team. Obviously with any tool, things might not quite work to plan or not directly translate, but the team have shown us how our world translates into Sharktower world, and that was immensely useful for us just to get started.”
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