Project Management for Training Services


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

Main Challenges

The very nature of SafetySkills' work requires some kind of project management solution. They began with Microsoft Project, but it was overkill—much too powerful for the company's needs. Therefore they migrated to the other extreme and began using Basecamp. They were impressed with the program and used it for a couple of years.

  • Lacked the ability to manage workflow
  • Lacked forecasting capabilities to maximize resources and profitability
  • Lacked system alerts to warn of problems that required immediate attention

"As we expanded, we basically outgrew Basecamp," says SafetySkills' founder and CEO. "It didn't have the resources, task leveling and recording we needed. Plus, it didn't allow us to manage workflow." Another challenge for SafetySkills was managing resources. Management was unable to track all work, resulting in some employees occasionally having little to do, which wasted money. On the other end, the eight sales representations were sometimes so successful there was more work than could be handled. This created an imbalance Basecamp was unable to mitigate. "We can inventory only so many hours." he explains. "Therefore it was essential to have the ability to forecast workloads several months in advance to maximize efficiency and deliver products as promised. Should we increase hours? Decrease them? It was impossible to calculate with the system we were using."

As the SafetySkills' processes evolved, the need for quality control increased. When an issue arose, management had to evaluate it, track it back to the employee(s) who worked on it and determine where the problem lay before they could solve it. "You can't solve what you don't know," the CEO observes. "Our old system couldn't red flag problems early on. Project managers didn't want to ask for help if they thought they could save the project, so by the time I got involved it was generally too late. We needed a better solution."

Why Project Insight

"We began looking at several mid-market solutions," he says. "We conducted an extensive search. Some companies were too expensive; others didn't have the features we needed. Since most of our employees would be using this system, it had to be easy to use. We also wanted reports that could be generated quickly to help us track and evaluate projects to ensure they were on schedule. And, we had to quantify hours for our R&D that satisfied the IRS."

  • Provided more value for the dollar
  • Gave project managers visibility into all projects
  • Quantified R&D costs to qualify for IRS tax credits

"Project Insight delivered this and more. Plus, they delivered the most value for our dollar."

The Results

  • Maximizes resources for increased efficiency and productivity
  • Helps calculate profitability on a project-by-project basis
  • Provides red alerts so management can address problems immediately
  • Delivers detailed reports for greater confidence in making financial decisions
  • Details R&D costs to qualify the company for tax credits

Project Insight project management software was implemented eight months ago. There was a period of transition migrating from Basecamp, but after two months the system was fully configured and deployed. About 75 percent of SafetySkills' employees use the system every day for fundamentals like time tracking and invoicing.

"We're far more efficient and productive than we've ever been," the CEO explains. "We're getting more done because we're able to maximize resources, which reduces downtime." "We also have better insights into our profitability on a project-by-project basis. Because Project Insight is built around the paradigm of formal project management, it includes control points—red flags that pop up during a project. I can look on my iPad to quickly see the status of each project, make sure it's on track, address problems early on and determine what our profitability will be. That's something we couldn't do before."

About half of SafetySkills' activity is research and development-building training courses to market and sell. Before Project Insight project management software was installed, the company couldn't accurately calculate R&D costs or substantiate the costs with the IRS to receive tax credits. Now the system generates reports that detail R&D costs on an hour-by-hour basis that the IRS accepts. "Reports are easy to use because you can customize them and configure them any way you want," he notes. "With the push of a button I can get answers to some pretty deep questions in a way I understand because the data is formatted in the way I need to see it." Because tasks are set up by importance and can be tracked to completion, management can see the bottom line now. And because profit and loss statements are far more detailed, management has more confidence in the financial decisions they make.

"Customer service has also been outstanding," the CEO concludes. "Let me give you one example. When we were about to launch, one of the founders actually flew out to help us. That was very impressive."