Project Management for Environmental Services

Stillwater Associates LLC

"Project Insight gives us the insights we need to make better decisions that help increase our profitability."
- President

Main Challenges

Stillwater Associates is an 'office-less' consulting organization. Team members are scattered all over the country. "We discovered as we grew from three people to 10 people we could no longer manage our budgeting easily," the company president explains. "We didn't have the processes and infrastructure to manage it properly. After projects were completed, we discovered that clients were pleased with the outcome…but not the bill. It became clear we needed a better way to manage our project budget process."

"We sell hours and pay hours, so it was vital that the project management software could capture time data from a project and transfer it effortlessly to QuickBooks Online."

  • Lacked the processes and infrastructure to manage the project budget process properly
  • Required project and resource software to handle employees scattered around the country
  • Needed project management solution that integrated with online financial software

Why Project Insight

Stillwater Associates hired a project management consultant who provided a list of companies offering project budget management capabilities. "We evaluated all of the solutions," the president says, "and reduced the list to three, all of which were excellent choices. The tiebreaker for us was Project Insight's ability to connect to our accounting system relatively inexpensively. They could program our connection to QuickBooks Online, capture the time data from the project management software and transfer it to the financial software."

  • Connects project management software to online financial software inexpensively
  • Produces weekly reports on the status of each project to keep everybody on budget
  • Offers a timekeeping widget that accurately tracks employee's hours
  • To work with a company that listens to customers and makes appropriate changes

The president hired a project coordinator-a chemical engineer who is also a stay-at-home mom-to keep everybody on the straight and narrow. She uses Project Insight to enter the projects and track the amount of time each employee spends on the project. She runs weekly reports using current data to highlight the status of where Stillwater Associates is on each project.

"Reporting is easy," states the president. "It takes a little training, but not much. I'm constantly jumping in and within three minutes I get the numbers I need for a new portfolio report." "The feature I like most is the ability to run a report online in the software, export it to an Excel spreadsheet, and then do whatever I want: change it around, sort, whatever. It's very flexible." Because all of the consulting that Stillwater Associates does is based on tracking billable time, the timekeeping widget is especially helpful. Project team members simply click on the timer when they start a task, then click again when they stop. Their task hours are automatically calculated. "I didn't like the fact that the timekeeping widget was at the bottom of the page," notes Stillwater president. "It was inconvenient.

At the recent Project Insight User Group meeting I mentioned the issue. Less than a week later the Project Insight team had moved it to the top of the page and improved its functionality. This wasn't a big problem, but I appreciate how they listen to customer input and respond rapidly."

The Results

  • Primary goal achieved - no budget overruns
  • Everybody knows the amount of time they're expected to expend on each project
  • Clients are constantly updated to eliminate any "surprises"
  • Company has the capability to expand business into new areas

The president quickly achieved his major goal - his company was no longer overrunning project budgets. They establish a budget and stick to it. Everyone knows what their piece of the project is, how much time they should allocate, and the current status of where they are each project. As a result, since Stillwater Associates implemented the Project Insight software, every project has been completed on time and on budget. The company can also give the consulting clients real-time status updates, which cut down on surprises. "Project Insight keeps us focused," the president asserts. "If we don't pay attention to the overall project budget we can get distracted, perhaps go off on a tangent that isn't fruitful.

The project software helps keep us on track before we go too far in a wrong direction." Recently an unexpected benefit has appeared. A major client has embarked on a large project, and Stillwater Associates may manage it across multiple companies, including managing other contractors. "We're able to take this on because our Project Insight project management software has powerful features we've never had to use. As our needs and responsibilities grow, we can seamlessly add those features. In this way Project Insight is becoming an integral part of our success."