Changing Your Culture and Technology to Break Down Silos: The Stanley Black & Decker Story
No matter where you are in your journey toward digital transformation, there’s always a way to improve and be better connected. Here’s our story of how we did just that at Stanley Black & Decker.
Years ago, our design and branding efforts consisted of roughly 10 separate teams scattered throughout the organization. We all did similar things but in completely different ways.
To fix this problem, we started by getting everyone on the same work management platform. This was a good first step; however, we still kept our silos. This meant that if work needed to be shared it could, but generally it wasn’t. What one team did was a mystery to the other teams, which resulted in a communication breakdown.
When we began unifying everything across our work management platform, we faced some challenges. Each team had set up a different way of working within the platform, a move that hampered basic functionality and composite reporting. We had created guidelines and rules for things like field creation and sharing, but despite our best efforts, each team had gone rogue.
And boy did they go rogue! Teams had created new fields because they wanted to show or hide choices, or just to have different descriptive text. Fields deemed as mandatory for all our projects weren’t present within every team’s use case, making it almost impossible to report up to our CMO on current state of the Global Customer Experience (GCX) group.
To say the least, we were in the midst of true work chaos.
Does this sound familiar to you? If so, you’re probably asking yourself the same thing I asked myself, which was, “Where do I begin? How do I fix this?”
Here’s how I went about solving these problems while 400 users and their hundreds of requestors continued to use our work management platform daily.
My first step was discovery. I was promoted from project coordinator and administrator to system analyst for the GCX group. My first action was to download and import our usage dashboard to discover how GCX was using the platform.
My team and I worked alongside a consultant and identified a need to first fix problems outside of the system and before we could address even the basic problems inside the system. I told our leadership team that the whole situation was like living in a house in desperate need of renovation, and that we needed to strip it down and build it back up before we could change the paint or decorate and buy new furniture. In other words, a lot of things they wanted to do would need to wait until we had a strong foundation. No one wants to live in-house being renovated, but sometimes it’s the only choice.
After careful planning and internal buy-in, we decided our true goal was a simplified system with consistent usage that would allow for real-time project visibility.
We adopted the motto: Crawl. Walk. Run. It sounds so simple, but this was a huge cultural shift for us. After all, Stanley Black & Decker prides itself on our ability to move quickly and do more with less. So to move gradually with this initiative was a new concept that made some people nervous.
I knew we had to create a plan that would get us the biggest results in the shortest amount of time. We gathered feedback from many different workers, managers, and executives to help us focus our efforts on three high-impact areas:
- Project Templates
- Layout Templates
We started with reporting because it helped us define what we wanted to track, and allowed us to design the rest of the program toward that end. We took a deep dive into key performance indicators to truly define our story. We then used those key performance indicators to figure out what we needed to track.
From there, we built streamlined reports that implemented user filters so the same report could work for our entire group. We also decided that any report built for data compliance would auto send to managers and workers on a frequent basis as a constant reminder to check-in.
The next thing we tackled was simplifying project templates. Some of our teams were using templates with up to 40 tasks in them, which was too many steps to manage. We streamlined the templates as much as possible and in many cases went to a 3-task model:
Not only did this 3-task model solve for status hunting and visibility, but it allowed for easier date manipulation when necessary.
We did something similar for layout templates. While creating a good layout template takes time and can be tedious, the more effort you put in upfront the better off your users will be.
We started by making a base template that works for most users, and then copying that to tweak and build other templates. We found that creating layout templates by persona was helpful in ensuring the focus is always on the audience.
Since we already knew our reporting needs, we were able to minimize the number of custom forms and fields in each layout template. We also made sure everyone was using the same field.
We now have fewer groups and far more project sharing across the organization. There’s no more hidden data, and when we experience an organizational shuffle there’s less work for the administrators.
Additional Measures: Automation and Trainings
In addition to fixing our reporting, project templates, and layout templates, we also created a single portfolio for the GCX group, with programs based on new product development as well as events and campaigns. We are also using calculated custom fields to share both high-level information and individual projects so we don’t have to enter the same data over and over. In addition, we’ve implemented the RACI model (responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed) directly in our process.
Finally, we’ve also implemented formal mandatory trainings on customized processes and field definitions. By level-setting our user base, explaining expectations and redefining fields, we’ve set ourselves up for successful consistent usage. We created simple laminated double-sided guides to remind everyone what they learned in the trainings. As part of our training, we also redefined who the project owner is as well as who is responsible for data inputs.
For the first time we have a united, strategic purpose for using our work management platform. We’re not using it to simply check off boxes. We’re using it as our system of record for work.
Just because we’ve had success in breaking down silos and bringing people together doesn’t mean we’re done. We still have a long wish list, and we are ever-evolving, ever-growing, ever-optimizing. The biggest takeaway to remember is that no matter where you are in your journey, there is always a way to improve and be better connected.
Learn more about how other Workfront customers are using Workfront here.