When Gantt charts aren't enough, UniPhi takes project management to a whole new level

Mark Heath

Mark Health's UniPhi System brings a different approach to project management software, and takes an axe to status meetings.

When the people in charge of the Queensland Flood Recovery road reconstruction program were planning the A$800 million venture, they realised traditional project management using spreadsheets and Gantt charts simply wouldn’t cut it.

A project spanning three of the most remote regions in Australia couldn’t afford the time delays that can come with centralised, paper-based reporting. So they went to Mark Heath CPA, whose UniPhi (pronounced “unify”) software takes a different approach to project management.

“We help people manage things that are beyond their control,” Heath says.

“Everybody says that you can’t do that, but we believe you can. UniPhi Project Management Software has been developed to automatically gather information from various sources at various sites. It consolidates, integrates and aggregates information into various views, showing people what they need to see. The knock-on effect is great, timely transparency.”

Heath moved from accounting into the project management industry more than 20 years ago. He quickly recognised that professionals in the project management industry were often too focused on delivering to a timeline to see the bigger picture. They were going about their work in isolation without knowing what the project’s value proposition was Heath also saw project managers spending up to three days a week in status meetings.

“This doesn’t leave a lot of time for actual management,” he says. “So another goal was to negate the need for status meetings.”

All staff members on a project work in the UniPhi software. Email, too, is usually integrated. This means every piece of information, whether gathered on a remote site through the mobile app, or reported in head office or elsewhere, is aggregated through UniPhi’s cloud-based software. Everybody can see, in real time, exactly where others are up to.

“It empowers people to do their jobs without endless meetings,” Health explains. “Users know people can see what they are doing and they can see what others are doing. And if everybody understands the importance of the project to the business, this allows for far greater creativity, innovation and effective decision-making, as people will problem solve around the goal of the business rather than obsessing over getting a task done.”

In an industry torn between collaboration and control, Heath says his team appears to be winning the battle. And with a fast growing base of more than 50,000 UniPhi users in 120 locations around the globe (causing some to call his business a “mini Atlassian”), his belief is backed up by the numbers. 

One piece of advice 

“As an accountant I always looked for the value,” says Heath. “How can you manage a project properly if you do not understand the value it is trying to create? Project managers need to understand that the project is going to introduce the business to new markets, grow market share, improve productivity.

But often all I was told was, ‘We’re doing this because we’ve been told to do it’.” 

This article is from the April 2015 issue of INTHEBLACK.

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