Sensei Labs brings gut-feel back into project management with Conductor

Sensei Labs
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It was at a post-mortem — one of those post-mortems, after things had gone horribly wrong — that the idea behind a new project management tool from Sensei Labs was born.

The project gone awry had actually happened within Klick, the independent health agency that owns Sensei Labs, which develops workplace management software. Besides looking at all the data behind the project, though, the group discovered the warning signs had been there from the beginning.

“In the end it was just such a frustrating experience that a number of team members quit,” Jay Goldman, managing director and co-founder of Sensei Labs, told B2B News Network. “When we got everyone in the same room, though, it was clear everyone knew this was going to happen. Some people had even told somebody, but it had never coalesced or gotten to someone who could pull a hand brake.”

That’s why, in addition to more traditional functionality that traces tasks and data throughout a project cycle, Conductor has been designed to prompt team members for their ‘gut feel’ on projects to flag issues early. This could include time and budget overruns, among other things. The idea is to combine gut instinct with process control for a more holistic view of project management, according to Goldman.

“We all spend a lot of time making sure we hire really smart people, but we also need to treat them as adults,” he said. “Absolutely you should try to understand what’s going on from the hard data and all the quantitative details, but you should also recognize the people who are in those roles are really smart people with a lot of experience.”

At least one early adopter is already convinced. As part of the launch, Sensei Labs said Conductor will be used by consulting firm A.T. Kearney on work it is doing with clients in Asia, Middle East, and Europe. The firm will roll out the solution globally in 2018.

“Management consulting has really changed — a lot of the work some of them used to do was implementing solutions, sometimes force-fitting them into a different organization. (A.T. Kearney) never pursued that approach,” Goldman explained. “They recognize a solution needs to be best-suited for the organization.”

By bringing out the best thinking and instincts of its consultants, Conductor will be able to help both A.T. Kearney and its clients be more successful, he added.

If Conductor works out as intended, Goldman said he believes it will shift the traditional “command and control” approach of project management offices to one based on orchestration of talent. That won’t appeal to all enterprises, he admitted, but there should be an interest to get more insight into why some projects succeed and many others fail.

“I would argue there’s not a business on the planet that can continue to conduct business as usual,” he said.

Sensei Labs said Conductor is available as a SaaS subscription for organizations from 10 to more than 10,000 employees.

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.