Our team often hears a recurring pain-point from our clients: back-to-back meetings without breaks is exhausting and impractical. This pain-point is growing more familiar to many of us as the current pandemic requires us to work remote and meetings are scheduled to compensate for a lack of face-to-face time. When meetings are scheduled back-to-back, one meeting going over the allotted time can have a domino effect on the rest of the day’s meetings, throwing off everyone’s schedule. Even when meetings end as scheduled, often there is no transition time before the next meeting starts. Without time to reset and refocus, employees can experience fatigue and distraction setting in, which can then cause real problems for teams.
We host many meetings and are always looking for ways to alleviate scheduling pain-points. An effective tool that many may not be aware of is the ability to automatically shorten meeting times in Microsoft Outlook to allow for more meeting transition time. You can even choose different standard meeting durations depending on the length of the meeting. The option is also available as an enterprise-wide default for organizations that want to standardize the practice of giving their employees a bit of buffer time.
If you use this option, meeting facilitators still need to make sure meetings end at the scheduled time, but enabling the feature will remind everyone of the importance of having a break in between calls.
How Can We Help You?
Could your organization use a team like ours to help coordinate activities and identify and alleviate pain points? Contact us and let us know how we can help you and your organization achieve greater business and mission success: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether related to specific project challenges or larger program inefficiencies, Management Strategies excels at uncovering and resolving client pain-points. Let’s address some typical pain-points that our teams encounter when we are hired, as well as how we apply our expertise to uncover and address these pain-points:
Pain-point 1: Lack of Data
A program manager lacks on-demand access to project data and dynamic dashboards that provide at-a-glance answers—our program management services can consolidate, streamline, and mature processes and enable transparency through custom reports and dashboards.
Our Project Management Professionals work with clients to develop solutions that centralize or tap into existing program data and provide visually appealing, data-driven, and automated analytics that enable quick decisions, provide transparency, and eliminate roadblocks.
Pain-point 2: Inefficient Processes
A teams’ progress is stymied by overly bureaucratic processes and decision roadblocks—process improvement can identify and eliminate “waste” in processes and help to find ways for organizations to operate more efficiently.
Our Lean Six Sigma practitioners are trained to uncover root causes of problems and find creative solutions that eliminate waste and increase efficiency.
Pain-point 3: Disconnected Stakeholders
A Chief Information Officer (CIO) learns that their customers are not supporting or adopting the new IT initiatives/policies that the agency is rolling out organizational change management (OCM) can help articulate the new initiative’s value to the organization, increase stakeholder buy-in, and reduce resistance to change.
Our Prosci®-certified practitioners are skilled at assessing agency stakeholder needs and designing custom strategies and plans for winning their trust and commitment.
Organizational Change Management
Pain-point 4: Outdated Structures
An agency leader determines that outdated organizational structures and lack of information sharing due to disparate IT systems is slowing mission execution—business transformation can streamline business operations and identify an integrated technology solution.
Our business transformation experts draw on their deep, collective experience designing and delivering comprehensive transformation initiatives across multiple Federal agencies.
How Can We Help You?
Do any of these pain points resonate with you? Contact us and let us know how we can help you and your organization achieve greater business and mission success: email@example.com.
Today we recognize our nation’s heroes on Memorial Day and we ask you to join us as we remember and honor those who courageously sacrificed their lives. From everyone here at Management Strategies, we thank you!
There is no better time than spring to re-commit ourselves to less business clutter and better organization strategies. Decluttering and reorganizing is essential to maximizing our time and can also have a noted, positive impact on professional teams’ productivity. We polled our team members for some of their tested “spring cleaning” tips and have organized them in this post to provide you and your teams with inspiration for increased productivity as we move through 2021 and beyond.
Senior Manager Tyler Pietruszka offers advice for enhancing team productivity using scrum:
“We employ a modified scrum approach to make sure that all team members are aware of workload and tasks that team members are on the hook to deliver throughout the week. Having multiple team touchpoints allows me to track team progress and offer support or guidance when team members have questions or find themselves overloaded with client requests. These touchpoints also contribute to team unity which is especially important in a fully remote environment due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.”
Manager Harrison Moore has council regarding digital automation tools that can help easily manage digital clutter:
“I recommend using automation programs to help keep your computer organized (Hazel for Mac, File Juggler for Windows). Use these programs to monitor folders and automatically rename and/or move files based on set rules. For example:
- Monitor “Downloads” folder for files where filetype is .xlsx, filename contains “Master Schedule”, and was downloaded over a week ago, move any found to trash.
- Screen Shared Dropbox “Bills” folder for new files and display a notification whenever something has been added.
- Scan desktop and automatically move screenshots to a “Screenshot” folder.
- Automatically delete files sitting in trash/recycling bin for more than two weeks.”
And his final recommendation concerns a frequently overlooked detail – the essential task of backing up data:
“After learning this lesson the hard way, I now follow the “3-2-1 Rule” for Backups, which means:
- At least three copies of your data (original and two backups)
- On at least two different media (two different hard drives, one hard drive and cloud storage, etc.)
- With at least one backup offsite (cloud provider, hard drive kept at a family member’s house, etc.)
Senior Consultant Kelsey MacDonald’s recommendation is:
“At the beginning of each season, I organize all digital files on my computer and make sure each file is logged appropriately for future reference ensuring I am able to find them in the future.”
She continues with a tip for continuous process improvement:
“I advise clients to conduct a “lessons learned” review each season (or quarter) to determine what worked well, what didn’t work, and what should be done differently. This naturally leads into a planning conversation for upcoming team goals and deliverables.”
Director Brandon Dart focuses on the true meaning of “spring cleaning” with his technique:
“I find that refreshing my workspace also helps to refresh and refocus other aspects of my work. Some ways that I refresh my workspace include incorporating new items or swapping out old items in my office such as pictures and plants. I de-clutter my workspace (digitizing whatever I can) so I can visually and mentally focus. I also set aside time to re-evaluate my routines and see if there is a new way of doing things that I should explore. For example, trying out a new team collaboration software and seeing if it helps to address a recurring pain point such as a need for increased team information sharing.”
Manager Elizabeth Lazaro has a few remote working tips:
“Now is a great time to re-evaluate if the ergonomics of your home office setup are still working for you. Consider specifically if your home environment allows you to work comfortably. Find ways to create a functional workspace that will help you maintain a good work momentum, maintain your data and productivity, as well as your professional dynamism despite not working in a standard office setting.”
President Peter Sobich recommends that after a project has been completed, the work doesn’t stop there:
“From a personal perspective, I find that spring is a great time to review and update your resume to ensure that your most recent experiences and accomplishments are included so you are ready for your next client or project. Similarly, from a corporate perspective, our team takes time in the spring to ensure that past performance citations have been created for our most recent client work so that our website and other corporate capability materials can be updated accordingly. While it’s a best practice to complete these write-ups as soon as a project has been completed, we all know that doesn’t happen every time!”
How Can We Help You?
With “spring cleaning” in full effect, decluttering and reorganizing personal and team business procedures can boost productivity for the year. We hope that our thoughts have triggered ideas of your own to declutter and reorganize. To learn more about any of these tips or to speak with us more about maximizing productivity, reach out to Management Strategies at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Task Automation?
Task automation has quickly become an essential tool that enhances modern teams and organizations, especially those that are looking for ways to reduce the time-consumption of routine, administrative tasks and designate this time to focus on more value-added activities. Implementing task automation into your organization should not require the purchase of elaborate tools or in-depth technical resources. In fact, members of our team routinely use task automation to streamline internal business reporting processes (invoicing, financial reporting, and dashboards) as well as client support initiatives (risk reporting, project status dashboards, and document compilation and formatting).
Task Automation using VBA
Management Strategies specializes in a particular type of task automation that uses Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). VBA is a feature of common Microsoft products that are used in modern businesses (e.g., Excel, Word, Outlook). A VBA code can repeat any action that a user can perform manually in a Microsoft product. Since VBA is available across common Microsoft products, a single script (several lines of code) can issue commands across multiple products. For example, a script can format data in Excel and then send that formatted file to another user via Outlook.
A Detailed Example
Management Strategies uses VBA for task automation across several clients. A popular request we receive from our clients is to improve program/project risk tracking and reporting processes. We find that many risk management programs are time-consuming and lack robust reporting or special display functionality that ties back to real-time data (dashboards). Our solutions are customized to address unique client needs and requirements; however, our typical solution involves the migration of risk data from an offline form to a simple online database.
First, we consolidate data in a central database. Next, we develop VBA scripts that automate the processing and transfer of data into a user-friendly display, such as Excel. Finally, we establish a script to format the data so it is easy to understand and also supports executive decision-making. We can set up the script to run at a specific frequency (e.g., weekly to support a meeting), as well as configure the dashboard to be emailed out to key stakeholders to allow easy tracking.
How Can We Help You?
Task automation using VBA is a powerful tool that teams and organizations should use to maximize efficiency and free up personnel to focus on more value-added activities. To discover more about task automation and how Management Strategies customizes our support for your team or organization, please contact us at email@example.com.
From all of us at Management Strategies, wishing you and your families a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday season!
Management Strategies has been recognized by Washingtonian magazine as one of its 50 Great Places to Work in Washington, D.C. The list is featured in the magazine’s May issue.
“We are honored Washingtonian has highlighted our positive culture and workplace and thank each of our team members for living our values every day,” said Peter Sobich, president of Management Strategies. “This recognition validates our approach to building a firm that offers challenging work in a supportive and fun environment.”
Management Strategies recognizes that people are our most valuable asset and ensures that each team member has challenging work and ample opportunities to learn and grow. From our competitive compensation and benefits program to our open and transparent management structure, we believe our success as a firm is built upon the success of our people. Learn more and browse our open positions.
Washingtonian’s panel of editors reviewed nearly 200 companies and more than 7,500 employee surveys, from companies of various sizes and from a wide range of industries to select its 2019 winners. This year’s 50 winning workplaces were chosen on the basis of such measures as: generous pay and benefits, interesting and meaningful work, great work/life balance, opportunities to learn and grow, commitment to charity and community, and the recognition and respect given to employees.
Executive Leaders Radio (ELR), the #1 business weekly radio show in the Mid-Atlantic States, recently featured an interview with Peter Sobich, President of Management Strategies. ELR conducts “elite interviews” of prominent executive leaders focused on “what makes people tick.” These conversations cover an executive’s background, education, influences, mentors and early career and life experiences to capture the unique human aspect of each guest. All questions are designed to help the ELR audience learn “what it takes to succeed.”
Executive Leaders Radio is broadcast across more than 40 terrestrial and internet stations. The interview with Peter Sobich aired in the Washington D.C. metro area on Sunday, October 21, 2018, from 9-10 a.m. on WFED/1500AM and was simulcast on WWFD/820AM (www.federalnewsradio.com). The interview was rebroadcast nationally on Saturday, October 27, 2018, from 7-8 a.m. (EST) on Biz Talk Radio: www.biztalkradio.com and tunein.com. Listen to a recording of the interview by searching for Executive Leaders Radio content on: iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, SoundCloud, and iHeart. The interview is also archived on www.executiveleadersradio.com.
About Management Strategies
Management Strategies is a strategy and management consulting firm based in the Washington D.C. metro area. We specialize in delivering world-class project management, process improvement, organizational design, and stakeholder engagement services to federal government agencies. We bring the talent and experience of a “Big Four” consultancy with the agility and innovation of a small firm. Our clients include the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Explore our website for additional details about service offerings, executive profiles, company news, and career opportunities.
Management Strategies, a D.C. metro area-based strategy and management consulting firm founded in 2014, has been named one of Inc.’s 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. The award is announced yearly to celebrate entrepreneurial success, leadership and innovation by looking at revenue growth over a three-year period. Management Strategies ranks 559th overall with a 3-year growth rate of 902 percent.
The list is a unique look at some the most successful companies in the U.S. economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000. The 2018 Inc. 5000 achieved an astounding three-year average growth of 538.2 percent, and a median rate of 171.8 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue was $206.1 billion in 2017, accounting for 664,095 jobs over the past three years.
“This award recognizes the hard work of our talented team over the past four years,” says Management Strategies President Peter Sobich. “I believe our success is linked to our ability to achieve and maintain high rates of client satisfaction and employee engagement. My deepest thanks to our people for their tireless commitment to our clients, our firm and to each other.”
About Management Strategies
Management Strategies is a strategy and management consulting firm based in the Washington D.C. metro area. We specialize in delivering world-class project management, process improvement, organizational design, and stakeholder engagement services to federal government agencies. We bring the talent and experience of a “Big Four” consultancy with the agility and innovation of a small firm. Our clients include the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. https://www.managementstrategies.com provides additional details about service offerings, executive profiles, company news, and career opportunities.
For continued professional development and to apply new skills to our client’s most pressing challenges, six Management Strategies team members recently obtained Lean Six Sigma (LSS) certifications (both Green and Black Belts). LSS is a continuous process improvement methodology that we apply to challenging processes to improve process speed and eliminate non-value-added activities. The LSS Green Belt certification focuses on the use of analytical tools and developing a deep understanding of lean principles. The LSS Black Belt certification goes a few steps further and focuses on the application of lean principles towards meeting specific challenges. Our team members apply their newly acquired LSS knowledge to increase work efficiency, propose additional tools and techniques that help our clients to reduce costs, and overall increase our customers satisfaction.
Training reimbursements are available to all Management Strategies employees. We encourage continuous professional development through the development of new skills and maintenance of existing ones. Learn more about this and other employee benefits: https://www.managementstrategies.com/careers/
We help our clients optimize the performance and efficiency of their people, processes, and technologies to achieve greater business and mission success.
11921 Freedom Drive, Suite 550, Reston, VA 20190