• Ad Agency Talent Management Model

    Ad Agency Talent Management Capability Model
  • PeoplePM Training Course

    Improving the people skills of project managers
  • Improve Marketing Productivity

    Improve marketing department productivity
  • Enterprise Marketing Management Foundation

    Enterprise marketing management foundation
  • Improve HR Program Management

    HR Program Management Software
  • HR Roadmap Brochure

    HR Roadmap Brochure
  • Sapphire for Succession Planning

    HR Roadmap Brochure
  • Transform IT Governance

    IT Governance Transformation Brochure

Case Study: Ad Agency Job Tracking Portal

Client: Global Advertising Agency

Project: Job Tracking Portal Implementation

The Challenge

A large global advertising agency desired to implement a customized web-based job tracking portal as a front end to its production job tracking and financial management system. The new system handled job number creation, job start notification, call reporting, estimates, purchase orders, job closure, reporting, and other key job tracking activities. The new portal was intended to facilitate client cost management and foster timely communication about job status amongst production team members.

The current system was not intuitive and often difficult for inexperienced users to navigate. The system did not provide users with the most up to date information, and did not allow them to view and manage all impending client job charges. The reports provided by the current system were cumbersome and often included inaccurate data from the internal production departments.

The agency lacked standardized job tracking controls, guidelines, and procedures. Client requirements, instead of agency financial management and other data needs, drove most of cost tracking activities. The responsibilities of estimating and managing client job costs were unclear and inconsistent from account to account.

The Solution

Intellilink undertook a multi-pronged approach in order to address the agency’s challenges, and to maximize the benefit of the new system.

Process Analysis & Functional Requirements Gathering – The Intellilink team organized a multi-disciplined project team made up of department leads from Finance, Account Management, Project Management, Print and Broadcast Production, Client Accounting, and Information Technology. The objective was to gather functional requirements that truly captured the needs of all parties involved in job cost tracking. Intellilink conducted group process workshops and one-on one interviews to document as-is processes and identify improvement opportunities. The team developed to-be processes which incorporated proposed systems functionality and job cost management procedures. The re-design emphasized gathering quality data at the source, providing real-time access to information, and establishing better ownership of cost management by the appropriate departments.

Policy Development – The Intellilink team then wrote a Job Tracking Policies and Procedures Manual based on the improvement recommendations created during the process re-design phase. The policy manual was the first document created to standardize production roles and responsibilities across account teams. This document spelled out guidelines including; account management’s interaction with clients, turnaround times on signed original and revised client estimates, and purchase order requirements for internal and external vendors. Intellilink managed the agency-wide communication of the document and tailored key messages for each department. The policy manual was critical as leadership wanted to ensure that agency employees understood that the job tracking systems rollout was not simply an IT exercise, but a transformation in the way the agency conducted business.

Systems Implementation – Intellilink then identified a key account on which to pilot the job tracking system. The team selected the account based on the equal volume of print and broadcast work in its pipeline, timing of production, and complexity of the client requirements. Intellilink recommended that the IT department pilot and implement select functionality in a phased approach instead of releasing all of the new systems functions at once. The phased approach allowed the pilot team, to socialize and become comfortable with each system function versus being overwhelmed by an overnight system rollout. This approach also allowed the developers to tweak and enhance each function as the pilot group provided feedback. Intellilink developed and managed the implementation plan, oversaw the release of each function, and recommended system enhancements to facilitate the new job tracking processes.

Change Management – The Intellilink team then organized the training, communications, success tracking, and other change management efforts. The team developed presentations for each department lead to communicate key process and policy changes to their staff. The team also managed job tracking system training for the pilot and other account teams, and created feedback tools for users to provide input on the new processes, and recommend systems enhancements.

Best Practice: Allow project resources to bid on upcoming projects


Capture descriptions and resource requirements of upcoming projects.  Allow project resources to view upcoming projects and express their interest in working on them.  When selecting resources for the project, review those who have expressed interest to determine if they are an appropriate fit prior to reviewing the entire resource pool.


  • Improves employee retention
  • Aligns project staffing with career development
  • Increases quality of work through increased commitment & motivation

Implementation Considerations

  • Employee expectations must be carefully managed. Project resources must understand that bids are a consideration but not the sole factor in determining project assignments.
  • Monitor the process to assess whether employees are bidding on suitable projects.  If there appears to be a gap, work with employees to ensure that they understand what is required on the project they desire and develop an appropriate career development plan.


  • Employee retention
  • Customer satisfaction results

Case Study: Improve Human Capital Allocation

Client: Global Management Consulting Firm

Project: Improve Consultant Resource Allocation

Overall Project Mission

The project mission was to improve resource management for a global management consulting firm by improving usage of the firm’s resource allocation system. System functionality to enter project assignments existed but a number of users were not entering data in a timely fashion and in some instances, were not entering assignments at all. Therefore, resource availability in the system was not accurate and the value of the application to the firm was in question.

The Challenge

The Intellilink team needed to identify the root cause behind the poor usage and implement changes before all users lost confidence in the system. Users were globally geographically dispersed and had little time to spend with the project team. Therefore, the Intellilink team needed to find alternate but accurate means of solving the problem.

The Solution

To analyze the situation, the team developed hypotheses behind the poor usage and collected data from the application to confirm them. Based on the data, the team outlined a set of conclusions and solutions to the issue. User interaction was kept to a minimum and the project progressed without visiting each office.

Develop hypotheses – From initial interviews the team believed that poor usage was mainly due to the difficulty of using the system. Too many steps were involved to enter and subsequently maintain a resource assignment. Also, all assignments followed the same complicated workflow regardless of assignment type. For example, the steps required to enter a vacation were as comprehensive as the steps required to enter a client engagement.

Collect data – To test the hypotheses, the team analyzed the assignments that were entered into the system.  The team mapped the actual data entered against the fields that were displayed in the multiple screens required to complete the entry. The team found that the most commonly used fields were dispersed across multiple screens. Additionally, the team analyzed the types of assignments that were entered and the frequency of the various assignment types. For each assignment type, the team reviewed the required fields and found that for certain assignment types the required fields were again dispersed across multiple screens. Finally, the team compared the data entered onto project assignments to those entered on the client engagement and found numerous fields that needed to be manually entered in both places.

Develop solutionsThe Intellilink team concluded that different screens should be developed for client vs. non-client assignments and the integration between the engagement management and the resource management modules needed to be improved. For each of the different screens, the required and most commonly used fields were grouped together to reduce user effort. For example, non-client assignments required fewer fields and could be entered with as little as three clicks. For the client assignments, the development of improved integration with the engagement management module allowed the defaulting of numerous fields, such as client industry, functional classification and location.


Best Practice: Utilize a balanced scorecard to assess recruiting performance


The performance of the recruiting function will impact many parts of the organization. Take into consideration these broad impacts by developing a balanced set of metrics to measure the success of a recruiter. Metrics can be developed by considering the various stakeholders impacted across the organization.  Stakeholders should include: hiring managers, interviewers, candidates & new hires, other recruiters, and other HR team members.  Recognize & reward recruiters based on the scorecard.


  • Aligns recruiting activities with organizational needs
  • Increases the quality of new hires
  • Reduces cost per hire
  • Reduces time to hire

Implementation Considerations

  • Consider the market conditions when evaluating a recruiter’s performance via the scorecard.  For example, a recruiter may be responsible for senior executive level positions, where the cost per hire & time to hire is significantly higher than for junior level jobs.  If these market conditions are not taken into account, some recruiters may be unfairly rewarded.
  • For larger organizations, the capturing of these metrics would need to be enabled through technology.  If certain desired metrics cannot be easily obtained, consider using suitable proxies.


  • Number of positions filled
  • Recruiting cost per hire’s compensation
  • Time to hire vs. Contracted time to hire
  • Customer satisfaction survey results

Case Study: Change Management for PPM Rollout

Client: Global Financial Services Firm

Project: Change Management for PPM Rollout

Overall Project Mission

A major financial services firm wished to implement an integrated, enterprise-wide information technology management system to improve IT effectiveness and efficiency. The approach was to perform an extensive pilot and then implement the software in the major lines of business (LOBs). Each LOB was very large and had its own IT organization and CIO. In addition, the extensive functionality of the software (project, resource, and portfolio management) necessitated a staged implementation to ease the burden on users and increase the likelihood of success.

The Communications & Change Management Challenge

The implementation of the new IT management system would affect over 12,000 people in several lines of business around the world. In addition, the breadth of functionality meant that the system would affect almost every IT management process, from IT portfolio management at the CIO level to time & expense entry at the project team member level. Further, the LOBs were decentralized; thus, the program’s core team had no direct influence over LOB decision making. In order to achieve success, the program core team had to persuade a diverse group of independent LOBs to embrace significant changes to their processes and systems.

The Program

A Communications & Change Management program was launched to help ensure the success of the wider implementation effort. The program addressed issues and communications for two sets of stakeholders. The first set included core program stakeholders, e.g. LOB CIOs, program steering committee members, and pilot/implementation core team members. The second set of stakeholders was the LOB user community who would have to buy into the program to make it a success.

Program Communications – The team quickly implemented a plan to manage the messages communicated to influential program stakeholders, e.g. LOB CIOs, steering committee members, etc. The team met weekly to determine key messages and the medium of communication. In addition, the team developed and distributed a monthly newsletter to keep program team members and other interested parties apprised of project activities.

Stakeholder Analysis – The team worked with LOB representatives to define the key stakeholder groups and to identify how business processes would change. Next, potential barriers to change were identified, and the team developed mitigation approaches (e.g. communications and HR incentives) for each barrier. Finally, the team conducted a change readiness assessment to identify which stakeholders required the most attention.

Communications Planning – The team then developed a detailed communications plan that defined key messages, target audiences, information sources, communications channels, and delivery timing. In addition, generic e-mails and presentations were developed to provide a starting point for the LOBs who would be running their own change management efforts. Next, feedback mechanisms were designed to enable change management teams to track the effectiveness of their communications.

 HR Incentives – The team placed a strong emphasis on developing HR incentives to motivate users. The team worked with HR representatives to push for the development of a standard career path framework to reward proficiency in project management (PM). The team worked with a project management center of excellence in one of the LOBs to transform it into a firm-wide user community that supported PM certifications, forums, training, and peer mentoring.

Transition – The team delivered a complete package of communications and change management materials that could be tailored to meet the needs of individual LOBs. In addition, the team developed a detailed approach document describing how to implement the change management materials to guide the LOB teams through the process.


Best Practice: Develop a standard competency model


Define a set of standard job roles.  For each role, define a set of standard skills (both hard & soft) and experience levels that are required.  Develop a competency model that includes these skills so that a clear definition of roles & career development path is available.


  • Enhances the ability to assess the entire resource pool to identify potential gaps/excesses by ensuring consistent classification of resources.
  • Provides individuals with an understanding of where they fit in the organization & options for progressing their career.

Implementation Considerations

  • The competency model should be designed to ensure that it is at a granular enough level to clearly capture a individual’s profile while not so granular as to result in significant maintenance overhead.
  • Processes should be designed to ensure the competency model is reviewed & revised to reflect the changes in the labor market as well as changes in the organization’s resource needs.
  • Training should be provided to ensure that both individual resources and managers clearly understand the definition of the competencies.


  • Number of competencies
  • Number of experience levels
  • Number of resources at each competency & experience level
  • Proportion of resources who have been mapped into the competency model

Case Study: Improve Business Development Process

Client: Executive Coaching Firm

Project: Improve Business Development Process

The Business Development Process

A global executive coaching firm wanted to redesign and automate business development and pipeline management across the organization.

Business development had traditionally been the responsibility of individual coaches. This often meant that senior management had limited information on the complete sales pipeline across the organization. Business development was also hindered by the lack of shared awareness of contacts within a client organization and often resulted in multiple executives independently selling to different divisions of a corporation without any central coordination. The sales process also lacked metrics to determine performance and any capability to identify insights into the winning / losing of sales.

The executive coaches had often operated as independent contractors in the past and viewed their rolodex of contacts as proprietary information. Although the organization as a whole would benefit, they were extremely reluctant to share customer information with other coaches. Any successful solution would need to ensure that data security concerns were addressed while encouraging the responsible sharing of information.

Some attempts had been made in the past to track business development opportunities on multiple spreadsheets. However, inconsistent data definitions meant that it was difficult to view the pipeline for the entire organization and it was also found that processing & data needs quickly expanded beyond the functionality of Excel spreadsheets.

The Solution

Intellilink identified that the unique organization structure of the firm would require a customized solution involving process improvement and organization redesign as well as the development and implementation of a web based software tool.

Process Definition & Organization Redesign – It was determined that a major redesign of existing processes was not required. Rather, the existing process simply needed to be standardized utilizing standard terms and a controlled status & activity reporting procedure. This provided much needed transparency to the process. Existing organization redesign efforts were enhanced and a dedicated team of business development professionals was setup. This team directed business development activities across coaches and followed clearly defined protocols for sharing client contact information.

Tool Development & Implementation – Intellilink developed a customized & cost effective application to support the new business development and pipeline management process. The application supported multiple users from all across the country and provided a single database of business opportunities and sales activities. The application allowed the business development group to control the vocabulary used in the pipeline management process and data security was implemented based on opportunity ownership to securely limit which users received access to certain sales information.

Best Practice: Promote a virtual collaborative environment


Promote a collaborative environment by making virtual collaboration tools available to all individuals. The value added of such tools as web conferencing increases exponentially if the tools are used frequently across an organization. They should become part of every executive’s daily routine and treated no differently than telephones or email. Utilize suitable senior executives as role models.


  • Increases creativity of teams resulting in better solutions.
  • Increases cooperative & collaborative behavior resulting in increased leverage of existing knowledge capital.

Implementation Considerations

  • Collaborative tools can reduce the need for face-to-face interactions.  However, it is important to identify the type of work that can be conducted remotely vs. the type that must be done face-to-face.
  • Many organizations reward & recognize individual performance.  However, to promote collaboration, team achievements need to be rewarded.  Consider implementing a scorecard that includes team-based achievements.  The input should include objective project metrics as well as qualitative feedback from key stakeholders.


  • Number of collaborative tools
  • Frequency of usage per collaborative tool

Case Study: HR Effectiveness

Client: Financial Services Institution

Project: HR Effectiveness Assessment

HR Effectiveness

A European financial services firm with approximately 2,500 staff in the US wanted to assess the effectiveness of its Human Resources Department. The firm had grown significantly in recent years and the HR department had been given additional headcount to assist in providing better service to its customers.  The organization recognized that its HR department needed to become more strategic but first wanted to assess the current state of the department before making organizational & process changes.

The Solution

Intellilink undertook an assessment of current operations to determine the effectiveness of the HR department. The study also developed recommendations on headcount reallocation and on how to move towards becoming a more strategic partner with the business.  The study consisted of three main tasks: data gathering, analysis, and recommendations.

Data Gathering – The Intellilink team interviewed HR staff to gather information on roles & responsibilities, interactions between the different HR teams, and to get an overview of the staff’s thoughts on the mission of the HR department. Senior HR leadership indicated that the tasks undertaken by HR generalists varied greatly across business lines and even across individual HR generalists supporting the same business line. The team decided to shadow a select number of HR Generalists to track their daily activities. The team also interviewed heads of business line customers to identify their specific HR needs and determine the current level of service received from HR. Intellilink developed a list of typical HR functions and their descriptions to share with the customers to gauge what services they were most interested in receiving. In addition, the Intellilink team worked with the HRIS team, requesting various HR reports that would assist in the analysis by validating (or invalidating) interview or shadowing data.

Analysis – The Intellilink team correlated interview results with the HR Generalist tracking analysis and reports from the HRIS team.  Often additional data needed to be gathered (i.e. transaction volume in order to compare level of effort) in order to confirm the findings. The Intellilink team reviewed the analysis with the senior HR leadership team, who concurred with the general findings of the activity analysis. Intellilink then developed a framework of activities undertaken by the HR Generalists. All HR Generalists across the organization were then requested to track their activities against this framework for three weeks. The information was collated and used to expand the activity analysis.

Recommendations  – The Intellilink team then developed a number of recommendations. The team recommended that specific headcount be reallocated to the business lines that were not receiving the required level of service. The team also determined that the HR department was operating adequately, but not at the strategic level required by the business. The activity analysis clearly determined that few strategic tasks were being undertaken by the HR Generalists. The team developed a high level roadmap for the organization to begin moving towards this goal and included; a HR skills assessment analysis, a standardization of HR generalist job roles, increased performance management across the HR department, and a quarterly internal customer survey.


Best Practice: Obtain the optimum balance of skill sets & experiences on a project team


When allocating resources to a project, review the project team as a whole rather simply one individual at a time.  Final assignments to the project should consider the strengths & weakness of the team as a whole.  For example, if a project requires 3 developers with 5 years of experience but these types of resource are not readily available, consider using 2 senior developers and 1 junior developer.  Additionally, complementary behaviors could be taken into account as well.


  • Increases the flexibility of resource allocation by increasing staffing options.
  • Improves the performance of the project team.

Implementation Considerations

  • Consider utilizing a methodology, such as Myers-Briggs to predict team dynamics.  It is important to note that such tests are merely indicators and should not be treated as definitive predictors.
  • An alternative to behavioral indicators is to track the success of the team.  For successful teams, attempt to put the same individuals together on future projects.
  • To increase the value added by the resource manager, he/she should provide feedback on the strengths & weaknesses of the team, which will enable the manager to proactively manage the team.


  • Number of potential teams per project

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