Case Study: Melissa & Doug | Laminar PMO | CIO Advisory | Toy Manufacturing | Direct to Consumer | B2B | September 2, 2022
What problem were we asked to solve?
Melissa & Doug is an American manufacturer of children's toys, inspiring creative thinking through screen-free, open-ended play for over two decades.
A remarkable year-on-year growth brought with it the need for a stronger operational infrastructure.
The company realized they lacked visibility to cross-enterprise initiatives, portfolio management became challenging due to inconsistent reporting and varied project management techniques, the organizational efficiency and productivity were impacted due to the lack of a prioritization process for project funding and resources.
Melissa & Doug hired Mr. Mike Macrie as the CIO, of Digital Transformation and Innovation to solve their digital strategy and transformation challenges. Mike’s vision was to establish a strong Project Management Office to enable growth and organizational efficiency. He set out to standardize processes and workflows by bringing in Laminar to establish, run, and mature the PMO function. He turned to Gravitas for help.
Why Gravitas and Laminar?
“There are portfolio management tools out there that are competent, but they tend to require significant investment and effort to maintain and keep them running. Being a medium-sized company, I did not think that they were appropriate, but I still wanted the dashboarding, visibility, and transparency. Laminar with in-built PMO best practices seemed a great fit”
- Mr. Mike Macrie, CIO, Digital Transformation and Innovation
An affordable price for all the competitive functionality was critical in the selection process of Laminar as the PMO tool.
What outcomes and capabilities did Gravitas deliver?
To roll out the Laminar offering, the Gravitas team with M&D’s input organized onboarding workshops and training, accounted for all key stakeholders and personas, and bootstrapped project data setup critical to the successful uptake of the PMO tool. Laminar was set up in a few hours and rolled-out at record speed of less than 3 weeks.
100% increased visibility
7x return on investment
3 weeks set-up time
$79k annual savings from automation
1. Visibility to cross-enterprise initiatives
One of the biggest challenges for M&D was the lack of visibility on the health of their projects. Laminar gave them a 10,000 feet view of initiatives across the enterprise to drive collaboration and monitor enterprise strategy progress. In the CIO’s own words
“Most importantly, we can cancel projects that are not a priority for the organization. Redirect resources onto the projects that are important and only fund the projects moving forward that are important to the executive leadership.”
They can manage execution and delivery across multiple projects - ensuring that the right projects get done at the right pace, which otherwise may miss the leadership radar, be delayed, or not be re-surfaced at the right time. With Laminar, Melissa & Doug in one click, have visibility over the current health and dependency of initiatives/projects.
2. Ability to monitor and manage intake and prioritization of high return on investment initiatives
“The leadership dashboards are super important. We had no visibility into the status of our projects. We had project managers using numerous different methods of reporting and managing projects and we had no process for prioritizing.”
Today, Melissa & Doug, monitor and manage intake and prioritization of their high return on investment initiatives through Laminar’s in-built BVR (business value rating) that ensures all initiatives/business cases are ranked before funding approval and kick-off.
3. Built-in intelligence and automation
Laminar automates the repetitive work that leads to inefficiency and inconsistency - giving the PMO team more time to focus on delivery and quality of consistent reporting to the leadership so they can focus on running the business.
“The PMO workbook gives us the ability to both view and edit the data very quickly”.
“The auto-generated report decks cover about 75% of the project needs. Without them, there would be no centralized reporting leading to project teams creating project status reports and other communication manually and inconsistently.”
Even worse, there would be no reporting at all without the auto-generated Laminar reports. The other 25% of projects need the reports to be tailored and utilize the automated reports for light tracking.
“The fact that we can project out what our spend will be across all projects by month is really important for our planning purposes.”
Laminar is not an ordinary the shelf-tool, with its in-built intelligence it helped the client make data-driven and timely decisions for hassle-free growth of their business.
4. Easy integration and compatibility with existing tools
Melissa & Doug primarily used the Google platform so the ability of the tool to integrate well with Google Docs as well as the Microsoft Office environment was critical in the selection process.
“It was important that we get a tool that's going to grow as we grow.”
Melissa & Doug needed the tool to be integrated with Smartsheet and spreadsheets as they lacked any PPM tool, but they wanted the ability to scale and connect to larger platforms as they intend to expand in the future. Laminar integration was seamless.
5. Best practices enablement and smart PMO governance
“On-time and on-budget delivery, target prioritizing – are all important concepts that we are introducing to the organization through Laminar and eventually getting capital budgeting.”
“These are big company best practices that you're introducing in small companies - to individuals even if they are project managers, they may not be as accustomed to best practices. Even if they've read a PMO book or are certified, they might not have used it in a while, they might not be following it. There might be some who are not even familiar with PMO concepts.”
Gravitas consulting was Melissa & Doug’s trusted partner in training and change management. Laminar provided Portfolio, Program, and Project views – in a unified fashion. Laminar’s embedded best practices of Fortune 500 clients helped mature the PMO office.
6. Decision KPIs and metrics
Melissa & Doug had neither Key Performance Indicators defined, nor tools of measurement established. Within three weeks, Laminar provided Melissa & Doug the ability to drive measurable strategic outcomes at the Portfolio and Project level and derive co-relation in one-click.
Today, they can measure various portfolio metrics like the investment mix and strategic investments vs. overall functional investments. They can also measure and slice and dice project metrics like consultant and employee time utilization, backlog analysis, etc. In summary, Laminar brings the best-practices of Fortune 500 companies at an affordable price for small to medium enterprises.