Introduced a PMO in 2020 with Asana. By 2023, they saved 135 workdays per year by eliminating silos and uniting work across teams.
Created an organizational roadmap for upcoming projects and consolidated active projects into a portfolio to easily showcase progress against goals
Established a numerical ranking system to prioritize new projects and make good decisions for the business, via an Asana intake form
Coupa is transforming the way businesses manage their spend. The company supports over $4 trillion under management across more than 3,000 customers, including Nestle, Salesforce, and Unilever. The first of Coupa’s core values is “customer success,” and its 1,000-person Value Services organization focuses on just that, with teams like professional services, account management, customer experience and support working toward Coupa’s mission to unlock customers’ full potential to do well and do good.
In 2020, the Value Services organization established a project management office (PMO) to unite work across its teams. Leadership selected Asana to be the PMO’s backbone, providing infrastructure that would help them visualize the department’s roadmap, provide program and project management services, and introduce process efficiencies to scale Value Services teams.
Today, Asana is a central source of truth for prioritizing and executing Value Services projects, with integrations like Jira, Salesforce, Confluence, Slack, and Gmail allowing teams to plug into Asana in flexible ways. This has eliminated silos and promoted transparency across the entire Value Services organization, from individual contributors up to executive leadership.
Before Asana, there was no centralized workspace for tracking and managing initiatives across the Value Services organization at Coupa. Different teams used a variety of tools and spreadsheets, which dispersed work and made it difficult for executives to see progress at a high level.
To streamline, scale, and accelerate the Value Services organization, leadership established a PMO to develop solutions for these challenges and chose Asana to provide a strong foundation for growth. They searched for a platform that would provide an efficient way to report on project status across teams, gain clarity on who’s doing what by when, and prevent work from falling through the cracks.
As the PMO provided project and program management support to Value Services initiatives, they needed a formal intake process to help them organize and prioritize requests in an aligned and objective manner. Asana offered a single path to manage requests, an overhead view of work in flight, and a way to spot and consolidate duplicate work.
Once Asana was selected, the PMO championed the platform – and project management as a practice — within the Value Services organization, slowly expanding the platform to other teams. They ran a series of recorded enablement sessions with step-by-step processes and decks for how to engage PMO services and organize projects in Asana. As other teams were exposed to the platform, interest and adoption grew.
To support adoption, Rhonda Cusack, PMO Senior Project Manager and Asana Ambassador, created a very active internal Slack channel called @all-things-asana. She posts Asana release notes and tips, and Coupa employees ask questions and share best practices.
Today, upcoming and in-flight Value Services initiatives are tracked in Asana, helping customers reach their business goals from Coupa implementation to adoption and beyond. Projects include implementing new tools like a CMS, a learning management system, and a client communication platform for account managers.
Value Services teams can request project and program management support from the PMO via an end-to-end system in Asana that takes projects from request to roadmap to delivery. Here’s how it works.
For the PMO to consider a request for support, a Value Services team must submit their initiative via an Asana form that takes the project through a priority scoring system.
The form asks about information such as business use case, executive sponsors, teams involved, timing, and whether technical support is required. It also asks submitters to map the initiative to at least one of three organizational goals: measurement and visibility, services innovation, and scaling and efficiency.
Each multiple-choice answer in the Asana form has a number value assigned to it – for example, an answer can “earn” one, three, or five points. The PMO team takes the average of these scores to get an overall priority number that helps rank the initiative against others.
This system has facilitated faster and more objective decision-making about how to allocate resources. The Asana form also helps the PMO team collect important information about a project upfront so they can kick off work faster.
Maya Khalidi, PMO Manager, says, “If teams want a project on the roadmap, they need to fill out our Asana intake form. Our executive sponsor backs this one hundred percent, which supports adoption.”
When a form is submitted, it creates a corresponding task that goes into a Project Intake board in Asana, where the PMO team reviews the request and its priority ranking. With Asana’s add tasks to multiple projects functionality, they can drop approved initiatives into another Asana project called the Value Services Roadmap, which captures and tracks all upcoming and in-flight work.
The Value Services Roadmap gives leadership a view into what’s coming up for the organization. Each task in the Asana project represents an initiative in the queue, and custom fields make it easy to sort, filter, and report on them. These fields are automatically populated by the original form, and include prioritization level, approval status, delivery quarter, and the strategic goal it maps to.
In this pre-kickoff stage, the team can align all stakeholders, gather project requirements, and agree on milestones. For initiatives that require support from the Technical Services PMO team, an Asana subtask is automatically assigned to the Technical Services team for approval, via Asana rules–ensuring cross-functional alignment of roadmap priorities and visibility across both PMO organizations.
When work begins, the PMO converts the Asana task into an Asana project. All historical information from the original form submission carries over to the project’s overview section and custom fields for context.
New projects are auto-added to the PMO team’s “In-flight” portfolio in Asana, which shows all active projects at a glance. It’s easy to see their due dates, status (represented by green, yellow, and red), which Value Services teams are affected, and more.
Teams can collaborate and track work in the Asana project, and in-depth status updates for each project are posted biweekly. The PMO team created a consistent template for these updates, including the goal, what’s been accomplished in the last two weeks, roadblocks that need attention, and next steps. Rhonda says, “Asana provides consistent visibility that ensures our senior leaders are clear on initiatives and goals across the roadmap. They can comment directly into status updates with any follow-up questions, and can easily click through to the project for more information.”
For consistent reporting of key organizational performance metrics, Pierce Bartolo, Associate, PMO built a dashboard that tracks work across the in-flight portfolio, such as the number of active projects by team, number of projects by status category, and the percentage of projects delivered on time. Completed projects are moved to a “completed projects” portfolio in Asana.
Since establishing the PMO with Asana as its infrastructure, it’s estimated that Coupa’s Value Services organization has increased their total time savings +658% from 2020 to 2023. The PMO helps its teams scale and gives executives visibility into initiatives across the organization, through a prioritized roadmap and standardized progress reports. Moving processes to Asana has streamlined collaboration between the PMO and the teams they work with, helping save approximately 135 workdays per year that was once spent on work, and is now focused on driving further impact.
The PMO will continue showcasing the value of Asana and project management to teams across Coupa, helping them drive more impact as the company works toward its vision of making every business dollar spent more effective, equitable, and sustainable.
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