Our Journey

After 30 years in Program & Project Management at large global companies, not only doing her day job as a PM or later as a PMO leader, our Founder, Michelle Watkins, found that tools &technology were the key to streamline processes at every level and ensure data integrity and real time visibility.

The problem everyone faced as PMs and PMO leaders is how to have a one-stop-shop of an integrated project management solution that brought together not just the project plan data, but also all of the project management assets needed to run a project plus a way to create reports and dashboards into a seamless, integrated experience.

Whether you are in a professional services org or an IT org, your end clients and your leadership don’t want to see your project plan details, their brains don’t think like a PM, they want pictures driven by real data, aggregated views that tell a story.  

In 2010, Michelle finally found a platform—Smartsheet—that could achieve all that was needed to have a one-stop-shop of project data and information, data she could aggregate and with the end-to-end project management process they finally had a solution that was truly scalable, repeatable, transparent, real time, collaborative, integrated and automated. Something she could put in front of clients or executives that was meaningful.  

After rolling out these project management based solutions within her own global organizations, Michelle found that leveraging a platform like Smartsheet and having an integrated solution frees up 40-50% of a PM’s admin time that can finally be re-purposed for doing the actual project management part of their job (or reduce those 60-80 hour work weeks).

How is this possible? The power of real time collaboration transitions the updates from the team members to a self-serve model where they no longer update a stagnant Excel file or send a recap to the PM who then manually makes all the updates. The capabilities of Smartsheet so that the PM can stay informed of changes/updates is driven by automation, cell history, highlight changes and activities logs.

As adoption across the organizations began to get traction and attention, Michelle found that the project management optimization quickly transformed into delivering a highly configurable Project PORTFOLIO Management solution for leadership that could easily aggregate and rollup the desired views from the underlying data.

Michelle was a Smartsheet client twice (Lifeway Christian Resource + Ultimate Software), then joined Smartsheet internally in the early days of a 1 year old internal consulting team, only the Bellevue, WA office and the only PMI certified project manager on the team.  This opened up the opportunity for Michelle to be selected to support the alpha/beta testing of Control Center, handling the first few implementations, ramping up the rest of the consulting team, supporting sales with demos for client scoping calls.  During this time at Smartsheet, Michelle supported many global brands’ project management and project portfolio management solution needs.

After leaving Smartsheet internally, Michelle then became a Smartsheet client for a 3rd time by joining Salesforce’s HR PMO to continue the project management maturity we began together when they were a client by maximizing the use of Smartsheet as a PPM platform. Within six months as a result of leadership changes, Michelle took over the HR PMO leadership providing support for the HR Global teams with a growing talented team providing a high level of service delivery to our partners. 

In 2019, Michelle began to realize that her vision in 2010 after finding the Smartsheet platform of one day providing a“ PMO-in-a-box” service offering could very well be a viable option to clients of every size.  To test out this theory, Michelle spent the year of 2020 after Salesforce working with another consulting firm with former ADP executives, providing PMO Services as well as integrated and complex Smartsheet solutions for Global Payroll engagements and standing up an Ultimate Software practice also leveraging the power of Smartsheet.    

In January 2021, Global PMO Partners was born.  Michelle took each nugget from the decade+ journey of project management optimization, powered by Smartsheet and the transformation expertise to mature PMOs and PPM solutions and infused the best outcomes into GPMO’s Solution Offerings. 

What started as a one person show (Michelle), in less than three months the engagements ramped up to a strong pipeline of project management optimization consulting services needs with the need to hire talent.  Over these last few years, GPMO has grown the team, focusing on hiring PMP certified former project managers and former PMO leaders who also found Smartsheet along the way in their previous roles and decided to join forces with Michelle and GPMO.  Our sweet spot when we engage with our clients is that all of us have sat in our clients’ shoes before.  We know what many of their pain points are and incorporate the solutions into our engagement outcomes.  We have become a trusted partner with some clients choosing to expand with us over multiple years although our goal is set them up to be successful as we wrap up and roll off.  

When engaging GPMO, we find that our clients not only get a streamlined PPM Implementation experience, they also benefit from decades of expertise and a level of management consulting services with our ability to help them steer clear of the ditches and provide best practice recommendations.

What we have found along the journey is Smartsheet is still a sought after platform. Even as an exhibitor at the PMI Global Summit in 2023 as our team delivered demos to our fellow PMP certified PMs and PMO leaders, many were using Smartsheet as an intuitive replacement for MS Project and Excel and had no idea that with the right premium app add-ons, that Smartsheet could become a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) platform. We love showing our PM & PMO community what’s possible!

What we also learned along the way is that the dynamics of any business has its ebbs and flows and the dependency on one platform and partner program alone limits our future pipeline.  In Q4 of 2022 we were very blessed to become an Airtable partner.  We spent 2023figuring out Airtable’s sweet spot in the industry, aligning with leadership on the capability needs for our PM/PMO/PPM space in which many critical features have since been launched by Airtable.  We can’t wait to show you what we’ve built for ourselves at GPMO on the Airtable platform!

In Q4 2023, GPMO also became a partner of Hive that has built an incredible out of the box project management platform that attracts many Asana and Monday users. Hive’s user interface is attractive, its project management capabilities are seamless, it’s functionality with built in Resource Management and Time Tracking truly make it a one stop project management shop.

It’s a long story to share our journey.  But it’s this journey that excites our clients the most when we meet them for the 1st time to scope their project management and portfolio management optimization needs.  Our clients know when they choose GPMO, they are getting a team of experts who become a part of their team if only for a short time with a vested interest to ensure a successful transition of ownership of their new streamlined solutions!

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