Category Archives: Project management

GreenPages is Helping Dead River Become a Transformational Services Provider

David Widener is the Director of IT & Project Management at Dead River Company and is one of the most cutting edge people we work with. Dead River Company is New England’s largest energy marketer which means they provide wholesale commercial and residential energy services in the form of oil, propane, and, in some cases, natural gas. David is the senior most leader for both IT and Project Management with 20 years of IT experience.

From an IT perspective, Dead River is just rounding that curve from being infrastructure blockers and tacklers to becoming the transformational services provider they know they need to be. David understands that even as a traditional energy marketer, he needs to change the way he does business in order to gain a competitive advantage including integrating new tools, new services, and new processes. This directly falls in line with GreenPages’ launch of our Transformation Services Group.

Watch the video to hear David discuss the projects he has worked on with GreenPages, including Managed Services, Cloud Services, and Project Management initiatives, his experiences in doing so, and his recommendations to his peers that want to transform their IT departments in a similar fashion!

Watch the video on GreenPages’ YouTube Channel



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5 Tips for Effective Communication with IT Stakeholders

project managersThere is often a business cultural dynamic and belief that because Project Managers (PMs) don’t perform the work, they don’t understand the work; that if a PM supports multiple con-current projects across various disciplines, they’re unable to comprehend the inner workings of the technology design or implementation.  When it comes to technology, a Project Manager’s goal is the same as the engineer’s: to exceed customer expectations and enable organizations to compete successfully and efficiently. Effective communication between the engineering team and the PM team is key. Here are five “Be’s” to keep in mind:


1) Be a Comrade: Some engineers may view PMs as micromanagers who get in the way of getting the job done.  Keep in mind that each team’s goal is to meet the needs of the client and the project stakeholders.

2) Be Honest: It’s true that Project Managers aren’t the absolute technology experts but effective Project Managers should understand the solution the engineers are solving. A well-informed and knowledgeable PM takes the time to request in-depth overviews of specific initiatives so they can better address any issues or concerns that may arise if a project hits a snag.  (As all project do!)

3) Be Consistent: Engineers have scheduled deadlines to deliver on task. Effective Project Managers make sure they’re working collaboratively to ensure timely delivery. For instance, tracking project plans with engineers before updating clients, touching base with engineers on a scheduled basis (e.g., daily, weekly), or consistent follow-up with internal staff, as well as the external client. These are all critical to managing a successful project.

4) Be a Client Champion: Every project, no matter how meticulously planned or designed, can sometimes hit a rough patch., Effective Project Managers anticipate these speedbumps and work to coordinate the necessary support needed to successfully overcome any challenges.  Being a client champion is one of GreenPages’ most important corporate values. The strength of the team comes from everyone working cohesively to resolve problems in the best interest of the client.

5) Be an Active Listener:  Effective Project Managers ensure they’re clear on direction and feedback from both engineers and clients. By striving to nurture mutually-beneficial relationships with frequent, honest, and open communication, overall project success (from scope to closure) is ensured.

When a group of engineers, client stakeholders, and project managers achieve true working synergy, the team becomes more than just a collection of people; the results achieved together are greater than the results any of us could achieve alone.

By Stacy Robinson, Project Manager

Six Steps for Choosing a Software Vendor for your Start-Up

You’ve decided to take the plunge. Your dream business is on its way to make it big and you’re scaling up rapidly. As a startup entrepreneur you’re conscious of your costs – bottom-line matters the most to you and outsourcing is the answer.

For your business, every decision that you take not only affects you immediately but can have rippling effects. It is important then that these decisions are taken after carefully considering the impact, yet you may not enjoy the luxury of time in this competitive business landscape.

As a budding business house, there are a few challenges that you will face – tight budgets, short turnaround times, robust software support, right skills and people resources, high focus on business development and competitive pricing norms. Most of these challenges will remain, but when it comes to choosing your software vendors, here are six steps that can ease your decision:

Understand your requirements
An in-depth analysis of how software is going to support your business is most critical. You not only need to understand your current requirements, but as a start-up your growth curve is exponential. You would need to have a sense of direction of where the business is headed and how your requirements will change. This will then be helpful for you to match your needs with the offerings of the vendors you screen.

Is the vendor flexible enough?
Sometimes you will have to choose between an extremely well-known name that provides you with a standard set of software offerings or an isv that is more willing to tweak systems as per your requirements. This will probably give you much more flexibility as you grow, enhance or modify your software requirements in a dynamic business environment.

How open are communication channels?
One of the biggest challenges you may face with vendors is the lack of open channels that can help cater to fast moving changes in your systems. Transparent communication channels, no language barriers and 24 by 7 customer support should be top of your list when selecting vendors.

Do they have the right people?
Do they have the right skills and people resources? Are they able to retain these people? Are their teams able to provide expert counsel to you in matters of software, emerging technologies and project management?

Confidentiality and security?
Does your software vendor provide you with a sense of peace when it comes to managing your data? Look at testimonials from other users and conduct a proper survey on how vendors manage their own security, confidentiality and look at legal agreements carefully before signing on.

Expansion capabilities and hidden costs?
Will the software vendor be able to support rapid expansion, do they have open architectures that facilitate growth and revisions? Look at all hidden costs clearly; articulate as much as is possible at the outset. But also do a professional ethics check to see that the vendor adheres to corporate norms when unwritten requirements crop up.

To know more about software vendors please click here.

How the Project Management Office Can Drive Business Growth with Excellence in Customer Service

PMOProject Managers today don’t just manage projects; they are a key contributor in managing the business. So, is there a way the Project Management Office can gain the business competitive positioning and better business results? I say yes. We can do this through delivering excellence in customer service.

Aristotle said it best when he said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle ~384-322 BCE.  To create a culture of service excellence, the PMO must first define for itself what excellence in customer service is. Involve the members of the Project Management Office in this activity (after all, we know from our experience managing projects that stakeholder involvement facilitates buy-in). Ask each member to provide their best customer service experience. From the cumulative experiences, collaboratively define what service excellence is for your team in your business. This definition should become the mission statement of the PMO.

Next, have the Project Management Office members recommend the values they will guide themselves by to obtain service excellence. Below are a few general principles to build on. I agree that many may seem obvious or cliché, but you will find that they work:

  • Be available
  • Treat your customer the way you would like to be treated
  • Provide a personal and individual level of attention to each client
  • Be an expert in your role, discipline or practice
  • Be empowered to make decisions
  • Ask, listen and learn
  • Analyze risk to identify potential problems and implement corrective and preventive measures
  • Communicate early and often
  • Request feedback and use it to evolve service excellence
  • Be humble, honest, frank and prepared

Once the Project Management Office defines and outlines values, PMO management should create a formal documented Customer Service policy and roll it out to the team. The upkeep of the Customer Service policy should be considered an iterative process; the needs of the customer and feedback from stakeholders are regularly analyzed and constant improvements are made to the program.

Review the policy with the PM team regularly, especially when there are any updates, or new hires added to the team. Perform team building exercises in support of the program, and share lessons learned at regular team meetings to foster continued support of the program. We want to ensure everyone adopts this behavior. After all, service excellence must become the new norm.

Great service can be used as an effective acquisition strategy, as well as a retention strategy for happy customers. Roll out a Customer Service Excellence program in your Project Management Office and you will find that the customer service approach will lead to growth and profitability.

Are you interested in learning how effective project management strategies can help your business excel? Email us at


By Erin Marandola, Business Analyst, PMP

PMP Meets ITIL and Says, “YES!”

By Brian Shaw, PMP, ITIL Foundations, LogicsOne

Successful IT project management professionals are making continuing education the norm. Neither IT ecosystems nor the tools for managing projects are static, and as a result, we must actively build skills to evolve with business needs. Furthermore, by achieving certifications we demonstrate competency within the marketplace.

The first certification you need as a project manager is your PMP, Project Management Professional certification (For more information visit The body of knowledge for a PMP certification, often referred to by PMBOK ®, provides a framework for: initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing projects. This framework provides a common language, set of expectations and guidance for project success. GreenPages-LogicsOne has made PMP certified project managers the standard to ensure consistency and excellence in project management.

Recently a peer recommended I attain the ITIL Foundations certification. ITIL stands for IT Infrastructure Library and provides an approach to IT service management. ITIL offers structure and processes for: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement.

A certification, such as ITIL, for ongoing services may seem like an odd choice for a PMP accustomed to managing projects with a fixed scope and duration, however upon closer review you will discover an ITIL certification fits perfectly with project management. While ongoing services are different from projects the implementation of new or changed services are typically achieved by projects.

New services are brought to life in service transition. Projects in service transition interface with the other stages of the ITIL lifecycle to ensure the vision from service strategy, as outlined in service design, comes to life in service operation. Additionally, opportunities to improve services as identified in the continual service improvement ITIL stage may also become projects.

The ITIL Foundations certification has many benefits to project management professionals practicing within a service organization. Those benefits include:

  • Shared Terminology: Engineers and operations staff may not always know project management terminology, however they are familiar with terms such as incident management, SLA, etc. The knowledge required to gain an ITIL Foundations certification will ensure you are familiar with the same terms as people in the service organization. This shared dictionary goes a long way towards avoiding confusion.
  • Outcome Based Action: Projects should deliver a specific result, as should the transition stage within ITIL.
  • Clarifying Roles & Responsibilities: This is a huge benefit for project managers. Have you ever been on a call, trying to assign a task and either nobody volunteers or you don’t know who the owner should be? If yes, then ITIL is a great fit for you. ITIL delineates responsibilities by roles which fit nicely into project plans.
  • Project Success: The ITIL strategy for building new services has proven successful since originally conceived in the 1980s by the British government. What project manager doesn’t love successful strategies?
  • Professional Development Units (PDUs): Already a PMP? If yes, then you are required to attain 60 PDUs for each certification renewal cycle. ITIL courses and the certification can be used for PDUs. For the exact number of PDUs allowed with your course, check with your ITIL program provider and PMI.

Each project manager has a responsibility for continuing education. The ITIL Foundations certification demonstrates familiarity with knowledge certain to contribute to your overall project success.


Interested in speaking with one of our project management experts? Click here!

Effective Communication Strategies for Successful IT Project Management


By Kristi Samber, PMP, Project Manager


Effective communication throughout the life of a project is not always as easy as it sounds.  It does not mean sending more emails to more people, capturing every detail and delivering it to all project stakeholders, and it especially does not have to mean meetings. 

In a Project Management role, you must facilitate accurate exchanges of information to your project sponsors and all project stakeholders. Communication is the glue that keeps the project together throughout the entire project life-cycle. Effective communication is required right from the planning stage of the project where communication is key in gathering requirements and negotiating budgets. In the initiation phase of the project, you are building your team and establishing expectations. This is the most critical during project execution, where you are communicating status and issues and collaborating on issue resolution.  Finally, during project closure, it is imperative that you communicate the lessons learned so that others can benefit from the knowledge gained during your project, as well as the overall success of the project to your project sponsors.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that about 80% of your time managing projects should be focused on communication.

Know Your Audience!

Your methods of communication vary by who your audience is, as well as the content of the information you’re delivering. There are both passive and active means of communication. Emails, webcasts, websites, even this blog are all examples of passive means of communication. Those who you are communicating with can review the information on their own time. Examples of active means of communication include face to face meetings, conference calls and telephone calls – where you have an active audience. Throughout a project life-cycle, both active and passive means of communication should be utilized. Be sure to consider your audience.  A formal presentation in a conference room may be the right medium for communicating the achievement of major project milestones to the executives within your organization. Whereas a conference call may be the correct medium to collaborate on issue resolution or to bring new resources up to speed. There is no one method that is right for all audiences or all information that is to be delivered. 

I believe that communication style is a key element to successful communication and extremely undervalued.  We all have our own communication style that to some extent is part of our personality.  For those of you who have done a DISC Assessment, this may sound familiar.  My communication style has served me well in my career. With my innate communication style, for instance, I am more likely to communicate the big picture than focus on detail.  But this does not mean that it’s ALWAYS effective.  When I am going to communicate information with someone, I think about their motivations, their goals, and their personality.  If I am delivering a message to a highly analytical person, who only wants the facts and understands the impact of what is being delivered, then I am going to flex to their style to facilitate the most effective communication. 

Helpful Tips

  • Meetings should be short with a clear agenda and objectives
  • Be timely in your communication – don’t wait on delivering an important message or in distributing action items.  Confront issues HEAD ON.  Don’t delay delivering a hard message – it just makes it worse.
  • Don’t information overload – nobody is going to read an overly verbose email.  Target your message and tailor to the key information that you are trying to relay.
  • Elicit feedback and follow up if you are not getting the confirmation or answers that you need–don’t assume that just because you sent it they will read it.
  • LISTEN and be present.  It is your job to make sure that you are capturing the stakeholder’s needs, that you are understanding their motivators and concerns, and that you are distributing the information accordingly.

What strategies do you use to manage projects?


Are you looking to learn more about effectively managing IT projects? Fill out this form and one of our PMP Certified Project Managers will be in touch!




IT Project Management Methodology – Does One Size Fit All?

By Stacy Toof, Director, PMO, Solutions

You might be asking yourself, is there more than one methodology that can be used to manage a project?  What are those methodologies? Do you always use one consistent methodology?  What are the pros and cons of doing so? Can you shift mid-stream of a project? Ultimately, how do you know what methodology to use and when, or if it’s even necessary?

As you may or may not know, project management methodology is a conceptual framework for project and program management.   It’s the specific development and documented approach that is called a methodology, allowing an organization to standardize its project management practices company-wide and aiding in the effectiveness and efficiency of resource utilization.  The GreenPages-LogicsOne Project Management Office (PMO) has customized and documented project and program management processes to fit the specific objectives and needs of our business environment.

Toof Table 5-7


With that said, since there is no one-size-fits-all for each and every IT environment, there is no one-size-fits- all in project management methodology either.  It’s our recommendation to start by researching and understanding what has already been successfully developed within the project management industry by recognizing and supporting the value of work that organizations such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) have already created. Take the information you gather and internalize and customize it to fit the needs of your business environment. Your thoughts and consideration should include management buy-in, a set of guidelines, standards, best practices and processes with a vehicle to constantly share feedback and communication of lessons learned, with a focus to adapt as business needs evolve. 

The advantage in going through the process to define a project management methodology and determine whether or not you need one, is to help provide those individuals within your company who are managing projects the guidance, standardization and feedback mechanism for delivering better quality and consistent results.  This allows a framework for sharing a common language and delivery of optimum value of cost, time and output through a defined workflow process of initiation to closure. 

In addition, I would like to provide you with some insight into a couple of commonly used terms in project management; “Agile” & “Waterfall.”

It’s important to understand that these terms have a purpose in the world of project management, but understanding their definition and when to use them will contribute to your success.   Agile is the ability to move quickly and easily.  Therefore, Agile techniques are best used in small-scale projects or on elements of a wider program of work where requirements and solutions evolve through team collaboration iteratively throughout the project lifecycle, driving the need to support and adapt to change.  You are able to recognize workable output/products, (quick wins) at the end of each tested stage. (I.e. software or product development projects). Waterfall is used when progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards within phased projects such as Conception, Initiation, Analysis, Design, Development, Testing, Implementation/Production and Support.  The product is tested at the very end, resulting in the workable output/products being recognized upon completion of the last phase of the project. This means any bugs that are found result in the entire technique being performed over again. (I.e. phone implementation or infrastructure projects).

By taking time to consider these things upfront, it will help you ensure that you are on the right path to successfully establishing a project management methodology.  As always, our Project Management Team at GreenPages-LogicsOne is available to help get you started, fill in any current gaps and offer you professional advice any time. What project management strategies and methodologies does your organization currently use?


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Are You Ready for a Project Management Office? Part 2 – Players and Pitfalls

By Nancy Mather, Director of Professional Services Operations, PMP

This is the second part of a series. Catch up with part 1 here.

Once you’ve made the decision you’re ready for a Project Management Office (PMO), it’s time to think about who you need for players. If you’re on the fence about a hire due to uncertainty of sustained business needs to support the hire, or due to the fact that you have found someone that might not have the exact experience you are looking for but you believe is the kind of person you want on your team, consider a contract position instead of a permanent hire. More than half of all PMO’s use contracts resources to manage projects.

Consider the reporting structure and if the PMO will manage the project managers. It’s important to try and keep PMO resources unified within the group. That doesn’t mean that there can’t still be a dotted line reporting structure to groups outside; however, try to keep the PMO together.  The team will gain great value from the consistency that comes from being part of a PMO. In addition, it will make it easier to keep processes and best practices consistent. Project Management team meetings can be a great forum for the team to share lessons learned.

Be on the lookout for functions that might take Project Managers away from their primary focus of project management. Project Managers are known to be detail-oriented and organized by nature. This can at times make them a catch all in the company for a variety of responsibilities, some of which might not need to belong with them. This could include things like:  resource scheduling, contract creation, negotiation, or other general administrative tasks.

Over the years, we have gone through my renditions of what functions our PMs hold.  Some functions we’ve moved to centralize, and others we have decentralized. Centralizing helped us increase efficiency in areas around contract writing and resource scheduling, and it decreased efficiency when it came to centralized billing. The key is to be open to change and recognize that there is not a one size fits all answer.

If project managing is not the primary role of the person that’s deemed the project manager, you could be setting yourself up to fail. We often see examples of IT professionals that wear a project management hat as needed in their organization. While some can do this effectively, others can get more hands on than needed and take on more of the leg work than needed. Just because someone is good in one role, it doesn’t mean they will automatically be a good project manager.

Executive buy-in is also a must. Without executive level support of the PMO, your PMO could be doomed to fail by not being valued or being dismissed as an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy. There must be executive buy-in that believes in the fundamental value of a PMO. In order for this to happen, the PMO must be aligned with the organization’s strategy. If the PMO doesn’t understand the company’s key drivers, it won’t contribute to the value.

Continual improvement is also key.  While a PMO should use best practices for consistency, it’s important to make sure that these practices are continually being looked at for refinement and continuous improvement. The PMO must be agile in the event that the needs of the business change.

By considering these things up front, it will help ensure that you are on the right path to successfully establishing a PMO. As always, our Project Management team is available to offer you professional advice any time!



Are You Ready for a Project Management Office? Part 1 – Where to Start

By Nancy Mather, Director of Professional Services Operations, PMP

As modern IT continues to transform, so must traditional project management approaches and methodologies. Conversations have shifted away from a sole focus on technology to more of an emphasis on business vision and outcomes creating an additional layer of complexity as new stakeholders become involved in the process.

A Project Management Office (PMO) is a centralized group set up for the purpose of implementing project management expertise across an organization. At its best, a PMO benefits an organization by providing accountability, visibility, a sense of discipline, and ensuring that projects are completed successfully, within budget, and on time. At its worst, a PMO is viewed as a police force, roadblock, and layer of red tape that slows down progress while not providing any value.

How do you know if you need a PMO? When GreenPages made the decision to implement a PMO, it was a natural progression based on the size that our project management team had reached and the number of projects that were coming in per year. We had reached a point where stratification of the team was necessary. The one size fits all role of “Project Manager” was no longer effectively representing the varying levels of experience across the team. In addition, we had collected a significant amount of collateral from templates to best practices, so for us the formation of a PMO was a natural progression in the evolution of the department.

One of the questions we often hear from our customers, is how do you create a PMO and where do you start? I’m a big believer that it is important to start with the basics. Define your mission, vision, and goals. Formally defining the role of the PMO can be a challenge, however defining where you want to go will help ensure you are on the right path to get there. Consider a value proposition for the PMO. It would be something as simple as projects delivered on-time, on-budget, with higher quality.

Define your timelines with phases. After changes are made, take time to breath to understand the effects of those changes. This will allow you to make refinements as needed. Define what effectiveness looks like and how it will be measured in the future. This is where the vision and goals come in to effect. Defining what you want to achieve will help you steer the course.

It’s also important to perform a gap analysis of where you are today and where you are trying to go. It is important to look at the staff that you already have and begin to think about the roles you envision them in under the PMO. It’s also important to think about who will manage the PMO, and if there will be layers of management within it. The formation of a PMO can be an opportunity to create a management career path for those on the team that want it and are ready for it.

Develop a training program for the PMO. Consider a program that is tiered and on-going. At the onset, a focused training on tools and process is necessary.

Determine the new project funnel flow. Where will the project that the PMO will be responsible for come from? Determine how many projects you believe each person can reasonable and effectively manage. Will you be able to control the flow of project to manage to that level? It’s critical to identify key metrics and watch trends closely that effect your staffing needs. Weekly one on ones with staff are valuable to understand what the team has on their plates and to understand current bandwidth.

Stay tuned for part 2: Are You Ready for a Project Management Office? Players and Pitfalls


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Defining Requirements Leads to Successful IT Projects

By Erin Marandola, Contract Administrator, PMP

Simply stated, a successful IT project is one that is completed on time and within budget.  But, how do we get there, and why are there so many project failures?  From a service provider’s perspective, a successful project avoids scope creep (the project getting out of control), which adds cost, time and risk.  The successful project should also avoid gold plating (the addition of unintended added features to the final product of the project).  These pitfalls can be easily avoided.  In this blog, I’ll review how properly defining requirements can contribute to a thorough, well-thought out Statement of Work, and lead to a successful project. 

If there is a mutually agreed upon Statement of Work outlining the project scope, deliverables, acceptance criteria, and assumptions, each party should have a clear, equal understanding of the project, right?  Not exactly.  A key factor in project failure is neglecting to exhaustively define and document project requirements within the Statement of Work.  When we withhold information, assumptions are made.  Since we don’t all think the same way, this can lead to the service provider believing certain terms and conditions are true, while the customer believes otherwise.   

Looking back at my career, a few project failures come to mind.  In one case, there was a different perception of what was considered in and out of scope between various parties.  For example, the Statement of Work said “Eight (8) hours of post-implementation support.”  The customer assumed the provider would provide support to end users, but the provider assumed the support would be at the system level and provided only to system administrators.  In another case, assumptions were made while scoping the project and writing the Statement of Work, but they were never documented and validated by all parties.  This resulted in an engineer arriving onsite for an Exchange upgrade, only to realize the project could not be completed based on conflicts in the client’s environment.  It was assumed the customer had a Disaster Recovery solution in place that would support the upgrade, but that was not the case.  Had the requirements been documented, this would not have happened. 

Register for our upcoming webinar to learn more about project management best practices

To create a comprehensive Statement of Work, we need to methodically define requirements.  The most crucial ingredient in defining requirements is the stakeholder, defined as anyone with a vested interest in the project, or anyone that will be impacted by the project.  Stakeholders should be included in meetings where scope and requirements are being defined.  They can open our eyes to the impacts the future project will have on the organization, environment and processes.  They can also help define what the business and functional requirements are, and what constraints might hinder project objectives.  Additionally, stakeholders help define what assumptions the project team is working under and how project success will be measured.  The benefit of stakeholder involvement in defining requirements is the collaboration – the stakeholder meetings facilitate consensus amongst participants, ownership, and buy-in in the project.  The collaborative approach allows stakeholders to assess multiple options to reach the project goals and mutually agree upon the best fit. 

Once the requirements from the stakeholder meeting are defined, progressively elaborated and documented, a Statement of Work can be created incorporating the feedback.  Prior to mutual execution of the Statement of Work, it is crucial that the service provider and customer review the document together to ensure both parties understand the business need, desired solution, assumptions, and scope of work.  The Statement of Work should be updated as appropriate based on feedback from the review session(s). 

In summary, defining requirements early on is essential in keeping a future project on track, in scope and in budget.  Stakeholders are an invaluable resource in defining requirements.  Defining, documenting and incorporating requirements into the Statement of Work results in a document that is clear, through and easy to manage to, helping to avoid some of the pitfalls we earlier alluded to.  Best of all, defining requirements leads to a project that meets the true needs of the organization. If you’re looking for more information around IT project management, our VP of Project Management and our Director of Project Management are holding a webinar on January 23rd to discuss the benefits of creating a Project Management Office.