How Verto’s mobile working tools make collaboration easy for you

In our last blog we looked at the benefits of collaborative working and why it’s worth investing in. It’s been shown that when we work together costs go down, results go up, our learning improves and we have a more united voice.

 

This is why, increasingly, both public and private sector organisations are being encouraged to develop and maintain strong partnerships.

 

But, as we also acknowledged in our blog, collaborative working isn’t always easy. For example, how do you enable people across a range of organisations to communicate quickly and easily? How do you make sure everyone has access to the most up-to-date information? And, with so many people involved in a project, how do you stay on top of what’s going on?

 

We understand both the value of collaborative working and the barriers to making it a success. This is why we designed and developed tools that directly overcome these barriers. And allow you to enjoy all the benefits of working with others.

 

Project updates and notifications

 

Verto’s updates and notifications help you track projects and stay on top of tasks.

 

You can create different task lists to help people manage their work. These lists can be for individuals, specific teams or everyone involved in the project, whichever is best for you.

 

You can then set Verto’s notifications to keep you and other members of the project up to date with what’s going on. You’ll know when someone has completed a task and you’ll know when things start to fall behind. This means you can take action immediately and make sure your project stays on schedule.

 

Instant messaging

 

Verto’s instant messaging tool means you can keep in touch with everyone involved in your project, quickly, easily and whenever you need to. And they can keep in touch with you too.

 

You can check in with one person, bounce ideas off a whole team and update everyone involved in the project.

You don’t always know when you’re going to need a piece of information - perhaps you’re in a meeting and you’re asked for a specific cost that you don’t have to hand. That’s no problem with Verto as you can simply message the person who has the answer. And they can get back to you in an instant.

 

File sharing

 

When a lot of people are involved in a project, it’s vital everyone has access to the same information.  Verto makes this easy too.

 

When you use Verto you can store all your documents in the cloud. This means anyone who needs to can access a document to read or update it. Whenever they need to and from wherever they are.

 

Crucially, Verto’s inbuilt document control tool also means you can be sure you’re always looking at the most up-to-date version of any file.

 

And remember, because Verto is based in the cloud, you can use it on almost any device, at any time, wherever you are.

 

To find out more please call us on 0844 870 8785 or message us here.


Why it’s Worth Investing in Collaborative Working

No one ever said collaborative working is easy. To make it a success definitely takes effort. But making that effort is worthwhile because the benefits of collaborative working can be significant, for both your service users and the organisations taking part.

 

In future posts we’ll look at some of the barriers to collaborative working, what can go wrong, and how you can make it easier.

 

But for now, perhaps because we’re still in a positive New Year frame of mind, we’re going to focus on the benefits of collaborative working.

 

What is collaborative working?

 

Before we start, it’s worth being clear what we mean when we say collaborative working.

 

There are many definitions posted on the web and published in guidance documents, some of which will suit your organisation and specific collaboration better than others.

 

From our experience supporting people and organisations involved in collaborative working, we’re happy with:

 

Collaborative working is two or more departments or organisations working together. This may be to contribute to a particular activity, function or project, or to contribute to a new organisation. The arrangement may be for a fixed time or it may be permanent.

 

Why do we work in collaboration?

 

It’s also worth looking at what’s driving us to work in collaboration.

 

The impetus may come from public opinion, government policy and the ongoing public sector drive for improved efficiency and effectiveness – most likely it’s a combination of all three.

 

However, what initially led to the collaboration is less important that what the outcomes may be. Because when collaborative working goes well, these can be extremely positive.

 

 

  1. Collaborative working helps you save money

 

Organisations working together are usually much more cost-effective than, what we now call, silo-based working. From joint procurement to cutting duplication, there are many ways that collaborative working can lead to savings. As evidence of this, our clients are currently using Verto to help them track £13.2 billion of planned savings.

 

  1. Collaborative working helps you be more effective

 

At the heart of collaborative working is improving outcomes for service users. When we focus more on why we’re providing a particular service and work together to find solutions, both of which collaborative working makes us do, we’re more likely to make a positive difference.

 

  1. Collaborative working helps you learn, share and repeat success

 

Closely linked to the point above, working with others and learning from their knowledge and experience, helps us understand more about what we really need to provide and how best to do this. Over time, services can become more resilient and expertise in teams can grow.

 

  1. Collaborative working helps you build a strong and united voice

 

When we share our knowledge and experience, we may also uncover shared problems and concerns. If we then need to lobby for change, one clear message sent by many will have much greater impact.

 

 

We designed Verto to help make collaborative working easier and more successful for you. In future blogs we’ll look in more detail at how Verto’s specific tools do this. Because whether you want to make communication, reporting, risk analysis, task management, resource management, performance planning or document storage and sharing easier, we can help.

 

For more information please call us on 0844 870 8785 or message us here.


Happy New Year! We’d Like to Help You Get 2017 Off to a Flying Start

The merry and indulgent days of Christmas are behind us for another year and it’s time to get back to work. It can be hard to be enthusiastic during the dark days of January, so anything that helps us ease back into work after the holidays is always welcome.

We’ve pulled together some of our favourite comments on collaborative working and project management to motivate you for the year ahead. They remind us how rewarding and exciting working with others, planning and delivering successful projects can be.

Take a break for a few minutes and read them. We think they’ll inspire you and help get 2017 off to a flying start.

 

 

“Project managers are the most creative people in the world. We have to figure out everything that could go wrong before it does.” Fredrik Haren, author and speaker on business creativity, innovation and change.

 

“As a collaborative leader, you support people in their work – you remove roadblocks and help them win.” Kenneth H. Blanchard, American author

 

“They [project managers] are organized, passionate and goal-oriented, who understand what projects have in common, and their strategic role in how organizations succeed, learn and change.” Project Management Institute

 

“Collaboration is about team work. It’s not a cliché, it’s a practical reality.” JA Perez, humanitarian and author

 

“Project managers function as bandleaders who pull together their players, each a specialist with individual score and internal rhythm. Under the leader’s direction, they all respond to the same beat.” L.R. Sayles, Emeritus Professor, Columbia University

 

“Open collaboration encourages greater accountability, which in turn fosters trust.” Ron Garan, astronaut, speaker, entrepreneur

 

“Project managers rarely lack organisational visibility, enjoy considerable variety in their day-to-day duties, and often have the prestige associated with work on the enterprise’s high-priority objectives.” Meredith and Mantel, authors

 

“An outstanding project manager is able to take the team on a journey by sharing an appealing vision and a roadmap for achieving that vision.” Susanne Madsen, project leadership coach and author

 

“Project managers need to be unique when it matters; finish what they start and show strong leadership.” Lindsay Scott, careers specialist and director at Arras People, a project management recruitment company

 

“Project management isn’t just about working with tasks and deadlines. It’s about working with and understanding people. If you’re a good communicator and collaborator then you will also be a great project manager.” Jacob Morgan, author and journalist

 

“Project managers seem to forget that many of the conventional forms, charts and tables they must fill out are intended to serve as aids, not punishments.” Mantel, Meredith, Shafer and Sutton, authors

 

And finally;

 

“I’m a project manager, not a magician. Magicians have way cooler hats.” Merlin Mann, writer, blogger and podcaster

 

 

Whatever hat you wear (or don’t), we wish you a happy, healthy and successful 2017. And if you’d like to make success easier this year, with all your project management and communication tools in one place, Verto can help.

 

For more information please call us on 0844 870 8785 or message us here.


Our Top Ten Tips for Project Management Best Practice

However many projects you manage, no two will ever be the same. Even where projects share some aspects, they are unlikely to be totally alike. For example, the project team, stakeholders, funding streams or key targets could all be different.

 

However, some areas of best practice apply to all the projects you manage. Have a look at our top ten tips and make them part of the way you work. You’ll find your job will become easier and your projects will be more likely to succeed.

 

1. Plan your project properly

Thorough planning before the project starts will help you be clear and realistic about what the project is meant to achieve. This means you can set well-defined success criteria that you can measure and report on.

You’ll be able to make sure you have the right budget, the right resources and the right skills on the project team. It will also help you identify and plan for potential risks and set realistic timescales.

 

2. Start your project properly

To help set the tone for your project and create some energy around it, start it formally with a meeting or event.

Invite all your stakeholders and use it as an opportunity to remind everyone of the project’s aims and the part they’ll all play in its delivery – and ultimate success.

 

3. Keep in touch with all your stakeholders

Once your project is up and running make sure you communicate regularly with everyone involved. Let them know what’s going on, including any problems, risks and delays. Be sure to share successes too, like when milestones are reached, to acknowledge people’s input and say thank you.

How you share information can include anything from a simple message to one person right through to a formal report to the project board. What’s important is to make sure everyone is as up-to-date on the project as possible.

 

4. Ask for feedback

Alongside keeping in touch with everyone involved in your project, ask them to share information with you too. Encourage people to give their feedback, as this will help them stay involved with the project and keep you in touch with what’s going on.

You can also use feedback to help you learn and improve your own performance.

 

5. Keep an up-to-date and detailed work plan

A detailed work plan will help everyone know what they’re responsible for and will make it easier for you to measure progress, hit milestones and meet deadlines.

These days, cloud-based applications make it easy to share documents. So update your work plan regularly and store it in the cloud so everyone can work off the current version.

 

6. Record everything that happens

Make sure you record everything that happens on your project and use it to improve performance across the board. You can learn from what has worked as well as from what hasn’t. You’ll also build a valuable source of data to help with your reporting and future planning.

 

7. Learn to say no

When someone asks you to take on more work or responsibility it’s tempting to say yes, especially when you know that’s what they want to hear. But always saying yes can easily lead to overload and a reduction in performance across the board.

So only say yes to new tasks or commitments when they won’t have an adverse effect on the priorities you’ve already agreed. Even small changes can accumulate over time and have a significant impact on your project.

 

8. Always document and agree any changes to the scope of the project

It’s likely that at some point in the life of your project, its scope may need to change. This may improve the overall benefit of the project but it can also have a negative impact.

So, before you go ahead with changes to the scope of your project, make sure the project board understands their potential impact and agrees to them. Finally, make sure you document the changes and update your project plan.

 

9. Be ready to respond to risk

Risk is a normal part of any project so you should build risk analysis in from the start. You can manage risk and minimise its effect by having a clear view of all the project’s potential risks, and mechanisms in place to let you know as soon as one arises.

The quicker you respond to risk the less impact it will have and the more likely it is that your project will stay on track.

 

10. Take time to reflect on the project when it’s ended

When your project has ended, involve the whole project team in reflecting on how it went. Look back in detail on how the project ran, its key events and issues. Learn both from what went well and what could have gone better.

Ask, for example, if the project delivered what it set out to achieve? Could it have done more and delivered bigger benefits? What went wrong and how could you have avoided these problems?

 

Use this learning to improve your own practice and share it with others to help future projects succeed. 

 

Verto’s cloud-based software makes managing projects easy for you. For example, its instant messaging tool, flexible reporting, instant updates, inbuilt version control and instant access to your documents and lessons learnt will all help you put these best practice tips into action.

 

For more information please message us here.


Who can benefit from Verto’s project management software?

You can benefit from Verto’s collaboration and project software, even if you don’t have the words programme or project management in your job title.

It doesn’t matter if you work in the public or the private sector either.

 

The benefits of our cloud-based software extend to a wide range of roles in a wide range of organisations, such as:

  • Private sector companies from SMEs to large corporates
  • NHS STPs
  • Other NHS organisations and health authorities
  • Local authorities including county, city and borough councils
  • Fire and Rescue Services
  • Government departments
  • Shared services organisations

 

Any PMO, organisation or individual who manages a number of different projects will benefit from using our software. For example, Peterborough City Council was managing 70 individual projects when we started working with them.

And any organisation working in collaboration with others will benefit from Verto’s shared platform too.

 

Verto can help you with:

  • Service delivery
  • Performance planning
  • Client and stakeholder engagement
  • Programme control and governance
  • Risk analysis
  • Shared practice
  • Managing resources
  • Flexible working
  • Costs and timesheets
  • Measuring project delivery
  • Business intelligence and reporting

 

We don’t just provide the software either.

We can train you and your team how to use Verto, and train you to train others in your organisation too.

We can help you move your operations to the cloud.

We can configure Verto to suit your individual requirements. For example, we can help NHS organisations run their QIPP reports and ISFE returns.

We can help you manage corporate transformation programmes.

We can help you manage your capital portfolio.

We can help you improve levels of governance and visibility across your projects.

And we can help you manage resources more effectively and make savings – to date we’ve helped our clients plan and track savings of £13.2 billion.

 

We could go on, but the best way to find out how Verto can help make your work easier is to talk to us. Please message us here.


From 1 to £13.2 billion: The Benefits of Verto in Numbers

Verto’s cloud-based software can help you in a number of ways. For example, it can help you cut costs and improve efficiency across all aspects of your project and programme management.

 

It can also help your shared practice become more effective, for example when you’re working with providers or local enterprise partnerships.

 

Our years of experience and understanding of the demands of modern working drive these benefits.

 

The numbers below tell you more.

 

1          Verto’s project management software has 1 clear landing page you can customise for the way you work.

 

2          You can choose which of our 2 systems will suit your organisation best.

 

7          Verto starts from only £7.50 per user per month.

 

10        NHS Blood and Transplant rate us 10/10 for training, configuration, hosting and system development and updates.

 

15        The team at Verto has been providing cloud-based applications for more than 15 years.

 

24        Verto’s instant messaging means you can easily stay in touch 24 hours a day.

 

25        We’ve helped PMOs cut their costs by 25%.

 

30        And helped projects secure savings of 30%.

 

50        We’ve helped more than 50 organisations set up and run their PMO.

 

60        You can trial all Verto’s benefits FREE for 60 days.

 

120      We’ve provided cloud-based services to more than 120 public sector departments and organisations including fire and rescue services, NHS CCGs and local enterprise partnerships.

 

26,000             We support 26,000 registered users.

 

38,000             And track 38,000 tasks and milestones every day.

 

13.2 billion      We’re helping our clients deliver £13.2 billion of planned savings.

 

For more information on how Verto can help you please call us on 0844 870 8785 or message us here.


How Verto Is Helping CCGs Manage Their PMOs And Achieve Effective Collaboration

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for planning and commissioning health care services for their local area. They are responsible for the entire local population and are measured by how much they improve health outcomes.

In order to meet this broad remit CCGs work with a wide range of partners and deliver a wide range of projects.

 

What is a PMO?

 

A PMO (programme or project management office) serves as a central point for all a CCG’s projects. An effective PMO will help a CCG make sure it delivers its projects on time, on budget and in line with the project’s stated aims.

Because a PMO collates data from all a CCG’s projects, it gives managers the information they need to identify priorities and target resources. This data will also help the CCG show the tangible service and patient care improvements they are delivering.

A PMO will serve as a centre of excellence, providing control and governance as well as advice and guidance to project managers. This is particularly helpful for project managers who are not formally trained in project management.

Overall, a well-run PMO will help CCGs improve efficiency across the board, leading to savings in time and costs – essential for organisations that are under increasing financial pressure.

 

How Does Verto Help?

 

Verto’s project management and collaboration software is specifically designed to:

  • Support partnership working by bringing together, on one secure platform, everyone involved in managing and delivering a project. This includes the project’s wider stakeholders.
  • Make collaboration easier with tools such as instant messaging, file sharing, real-time updates and notifications.
  • Improve practice by linking project outputs with performance outcomes and through best practice templates and controls.
  • Strengthen governance and transparency with accurate data, flexible reporting and a clear view of all projects at any given time.
  • Standardise practice with a range of templates for key activities in the project cycle.

 

“18 months on and with over 350 projects loaded we are reaping the rewards of our Verto application.”

NHS Thurrock CCG and Basildon CCG

 

Comprehensive Support and Training from Verto

 

We provide support and training to help you set up your PMO and get the most from it once it’s up and running.

We provide full onsite training for your PMO staff and Verto administrators. We can run either train-the-trainer or end-user courses, whichever you prefer.

We can create bespoke workflow and reports to suit the way your CCG operates. We can offer useful insights from our own experience of PMOs and put you in touch with other clients who can share with you what they have learned. We can even set up forums for you to receive valuable feedback from the people who use your projects and services.

And if you need any help once your PMO is in use, our helpdesk team are there for you.

To find out more get in touch. And look out for future blogs where we’ll take a more detailed look at how we support an increasing number of CCGs and now STPs.