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Stoneseed’s radio shoutout! How our now famous ice-scraper can help crisis-proof IT projects

icy window on a car

Randomly, I switched the radio the other week to hear Stoneseed’s windscreen ice scraper getting a shout out!! 

Then, as the day went on, several customers contacted me to say they’d heard it too.

The ice scraper is a nice, Stoneseed branded, piece of promotional merchandise that we give to all our team, clients, and supporters of the business, like the Radio DJ. Some firms have mugs, some have pens, at Stoneseed we have windscreen ice scrapers. Actually, to be fair, many other companies have ice scrapers too, in fact the DJ said that his radio station was among them.

SPECIAL

The Stoneseed one is special though.  

The Stoneseed windscreen ice scraper is the deluxe model!! It comes integrated into a faux fur glove to keep your hand warm as you scrape the ice from your car, it was this detail that prompted the radio mention and this lovely reflection:

One client told me that the ice scraper was typical of her Stoneseed Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) experience, in that we don’t just meet a need, we exceed it. I love this observation.

This ability to identify and deliver actual need vs perceived need has been a central pillar of the Stoneseed ethos from day one. It's nice when a client notices something like this, it’s even nicer when they share it with you.

She said that Stoneseed had delivered both “spoken need” and, because we really get to know our clients, we deliver “the unspoken need” too. The things that just make things better, easier, and more efficient and crucially “fit to face whatever crisis comes next”, these are the benefits of really getting to know a client and how they and their sector work.

It’s deliberate, everyone at Stoneseed buys into a culture of ‘reading between the lines’ to identify better ways to deliver the client’s need, “clientside” is phrase that we coined very early on to exemplify the relationship, everything we do is focussed on better client outcomes.  

One client, for instance, came to us for Project Management Office resources and we identified her organisation’s need for Business Analysis which sharpened and streamlined the whole operation, just in time for the pandemic and that unforeseeable need to pivot towards more reactive projects. Other clients will testify to Stoneseed being something of a thought leader in remote IT Project Management resourcing, in fact, we were experts in this long before it became a critical need, so when our clients did need remote access flexibility - they knew just where to come.

I’m writing this at the back end of April, the air is warm, the sun is shining, and the birds are singing - I’m hoping that mornings that require the Stoneseed ice-scraper will be few and far between from here on in. It will stay in your car through the summer, on call and ready, till the first frost of winter, that’s preparedness and resourcefulness – that’s Stoneseed, that’s PMaaS.

That ice scraper is illustrative of Stoneseed’s business model and culture on so many levels!

ROBBIE WILLIAMS!

Defrosting car windows, like PMaaS, has come a long way. Over the years you’ve probably used whatever is to hand – who hasn’t reached for a library or credit card? I’ve even used a Robbie Williams CD case to scrape off ice and, while reasonably effective, there was clearly a better way.

So, if a Stoneseed customer asks, “Could you sell me a copy of Robbie Williams’ ‘Life Thru A Lens’?” - we don’t just assume it’s because they want to sing along to ‘Angels’.

We take time to learn what their actual need is, how, in their personal experience, the case for Robbie’s CD was more robust and therefore better for ice scraping (it soooo was, by the way, plus it was my wife’s CD so no risk of damage to my own collection). Then, instead of just selling them the CD, we show them our faux-fur lined glove-scraper and the upshot is that they have a way better solution to their problem than the one they’d used previously.  

Many clients do come to us with a fixed idea of what they need. Usually based on their previous experience, which can be a great teacher but also a lousy diagnostic tool. They’ll seek to hire in a resource based on ‘how they have done things in the past’, or a limited idea of how the ever-expanding PMaaS universe can serve IT project delivery.

It can be eye opening when they discover the range of options and new possibilities. Like when, over Easter, a friend upgraded from an iPhone 6S to an iPhone 13 as was “blown away” at how much had changed, advanced, and evolved! He’d gone into the store looking for another iPhone 6S because it had suited his needs but come away with something that suited them better. It made me reflect how, like everything in tech, managed project resources (as a Service) are constantly evolving to meet new and relentlessly changing needs.

PARTNERS IN YOUR SUCCESS

Coming into Stoneseed’s one-stop shop looking for the exact resources used to deliver ‘project X’ two years ago can limit your access to best in class ‘as a Service’ resources that would better suit ‘project Y’ today.

As partners in your success, it’s our duty to ensure that you resource your project with the best solutions available. It's a duty that all Project Management ‘aaS’ providers should be conscious of, but it shouldn’t be a licence to print money. It’s not like when you buy a car, and they try to sell you lots of extras that you don’t really need or are massively overpriced or deliberately complicated or untransparent.

To merge my car accessory and Apple products analogies, back in the day, a car dealership once sold a friend a “state-of-the-art connectivity pack” to allow his new car’s stereo to connect to his first-generation iPod (it’s hard to remember handheld tech pre-Bluetooth!!).

It cost £250, paid it off over the five-year term of the finance agreement, with compound interest. When he took delivery of the car, the “state-of-the-art connectivity pack” was a cable that hung out of the bottom of the dashboard.

The thing is, there are project resource providers operating like this, layering on resources, or expanding time spent with you to bulk up the invoice, but it isn’t a practice that builds relationships.

CRISIS PREPAREDNESS

Major companies and organisations are focussing more effort into “crisis preparedness”, and the key seems to be resourcefulness. I think it’s important that we have a similar focus too – calmly, thoughtfully and without need for alarm, our IT Project delivery operations need to be ready for the next calamity.

Like your ice-scraper at the end of Autumn, Stoneseed’s PMaaS may be about to enter a new season of relevance.

These are uncertain times. None of us know what living with Covid is really going to entail and the effect it will have on project resourcing, the international situation feels more precarious than it ever has in most of our living memories, and then there’s the cost-of-living crisis and its inevitable impact on every aspect of every supply chain.

We all need to be ready.

PREPAREDNESS, FLEXIBILITY and TRANSPARENCY

Stoneseed’s Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) allows you to access project professionals, resources, and tools on flexible timescales and at a predictable cost. Our services portfolio offers a true end to end service, from IT Technical Advisory, Business Analysis Services and PMO Services to Programme & Project Delivery. 

Flexibility and Control are going to be keywords in this next uncertain chapter. Stoneseed’s thought leading on-demand resource model allows you to dial up and down IT project resources in sync with your delivery needs - turn it on, turn it off, turn it up or turn it down. We flex with your needs and what you pay flexes in sync.

Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) can provide access to a wide range of project skills, to suit your demand schedule, from a single Project Manager, Business Analyst, Technical Advisory or PMO expert for a few days, right through to a large team of fully utilised project professionals. 

The PMaaS commercial model is straightforward and transparent. At Stoneseed, we’ll work with you to forecast the project resources required and then give you a rate card with resources defined by type and skill set. Resources are called off against your demand schedule and can be flexed up and down throughout the period - you are simply billed for the resources consumed at the end of each month. So, with PMaaS you can align resources with demand and only pay for them as and when you need them - on a cost effective, full-time, or part-time basis.  

None of us know what the next uncertain season is going to look like. Stoneseed’s team are experienced across multiple technology solutions, sectors, and industries, and we work on all types of projects and programmes such as Business Change, Transformation, Infrastructure, Digital and IT Project Delivery – we’re ready to help you face whatever project challenges lie ahead.

To reiterate, Stoneseed's PMaaS services are all available onsite or remote.

You can download the PMaaS brochure from our website to find out more or call me on 01623 723910 for a chat or to arrange a meeting, I can even see if there are any ice scrapers left in the merch cupboard!     

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