We started building our software more than five years ago, but since our official launch early in 2020, we’re still a fairly new name in intelligent delivery management.

So we’ve put together answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions people ask about what Sharktower is, what it does and how it works — from the AI to how it integrates with other software.

Ready? Let’s go.

 

1. What makes Sharktower different to any other project management software?

Straight in with the biggie here! Well, yes, there is other software that can provide portfolio and project management functionality (things like Clarizen and Planview) or flexible kanban and agile-working tools (like Asana and Wrike).

But Sharktower delivers all of this functionality along with unique features that aren’t available with other solutions. Things like:

· Real-time reporting and collaboration, showing how business objectives link directly to project scope

· Synchronised, integrated planning — our dependency path visualisation and drawing tools let you integrate and manage all delivery methods together in one plan

· Predictive analytics and machine learning models to spot problems before they occur (more about this below).

· AI-driven personalisation including a recommender that helps prioritise tasks

Sharktower’s collaborative visual planning tool

Sharktower’s predictive machine learning models show non-subjective project health scores; predictions, risk and slippage probability modelling, and project team sentiment analysis (see ‘How does the AI work?’ below for more detail). Sharktower is the leader in this space, and these features are not commercially available in other PPM solutions.

Our Enterprise licensing option comes with extra support services, including:

· Custom portfolio dashboards created to fit organisational needs and integrate external data related to portfolio performance (project finances, procurement, QA measures etc)

· Ability to create repeatable project templates based on model projects and knowledge.

· Dedicated delivery analyst support days to dive deep into the underlying usage and delivery performance data to help drive best practice.

2. How does the AI work?

This is a big question with a potentially huge answer, but to cut a long data science story short, Sharktower has machine-learning models that learn from your data.

The models are trained on our repository of data collected from all historic Sharktower projects, but their specific accuracy and relevance to your business will improve the longer they are exposed to your data and the more data you put into the platform.

More about our machine learning models

These models are designed to provide indicators rather than definitive answers. Our team sentiment analysis uses Natural Language Processing on all our comment and free text fields to spot patterns in behaviour that will tell you if the team’s comments are trending more positively or negatively over time. This is a really useful indicator because, after all, the people on the ground are the ones who truly know what’s going on.

The project slippage model uses a combination of data you’ve put into Sharktower and the network of nodes and edges in the plan visualisation tool. It suggests an expected end date and shows how that date differs from your planned completion date. If slippage is predicted, you can then look at the riskiest areas of the plan to find a solution.

Three charts depicting Sharktower AI models on project health, slippage and team sentiment

Sharktower’s machine learning models show trends over time

The project health model analyses various different factors in your delivery data to show you an overall score (and more importantly, a comparison with other projects in your organisation). Like the team sentiment model, this one shows upward and downward trends, so you can keep an eye on how things are progressing.

Finally, Sharktower’s recommender system curates a newsfeed tailored personally to each user, based on their activity and interactions. This can reduce duplication of effort, and allows teams to collaborate and support each other.

3. How does it integrate with Jira?

Sharktower’s Jira Cloud add-on synchronises your stories between Jira and Sharktower (and vice versa), in real-time, so you can capture the bigger picture of what’s going on around development work.

All of the supporting activities, whether it’s business readiness, changes to the operating model, marketing activity or wider infrastructure build can sit within the Sharktower plan. This means senior stakeholders and project managers can interact with the information that’s most relevant to them, while the low level detail of the development work can remain in Jira. So you can stay in touch with your developers while allowing them to track progress in the way that works for them.

Sharktower’s Jira Cloud add-on synchronises stories between Jira and Sharktower

4. How does it ingest data from financial systems?

We appreciate it’s not always possible to make decisions based on delivery/progress data alone, and financials usually come into it at some point (often along with other data sources such as HR or benefits tracking).

Our Enterprise-level service includes custom ingestion facilities to represent your other data sources alongside the delivery data in Sharktower. A custom-designed portfolio dashboard (like the one shown below), incorporates financial data to enable the most informed decisions possible.

Sharktower portfolio dashboard

At Enterprise level, Sharktower’s custom-designed dashboards can incorporate external data

5. What’s the ROI, and how quickly will I see it?

The immediate return on investment is seen in the removal of manual effort.

We see our clients typically spending around 30% of their time compiling and collating reports for different audiences. None of this data is linked to the underlying plan so it’s immediately out of date as soon as it’s shared (so largely wasted time in compiling it!). In Sharktower, all the data is available in real-time, aggregated and visualised, so everyone has the same version of the truth.

The data is also connected (no more silos!) so anyone can drill up or down to find out more, without having to arrange multiple meetings. Our clients are able to realise this benefit as soon as all project data is in Sharktower, so teams can use their time and skills to the best extent.

Longer term, the benefit lies in reducing the risk of failed or wasteful projects.

Industry reports state that roughly half of projects run over budget and only half deliver the value they were expected to. This is a frustrating and unsustainable way of working.

We’re helping the change industry remove this wasteful way of operating. With our data visualisation and AI models, Sharktower clients are able to spot risks before they happen and make well-informed decisions about where to focus on or intervene in specific projects.

Want to see what your business could save? Try our project waste calculators

Want to know more?

If you have any other questions about Sharktower’s technology hit ‘TALK TO US’ or drop us a line at info@sharktower.com