Overview and Background
Board of Child Care’s (BCC) Chief Operating Officer is seeking an Asana consultant for an August/September engagement with 1:1 monthly coaching thereafter (at least through the rest of 2020). The COO hopes to decide on consultant by Monday, August 24 with work to begin thereafter. Applications will be reviewed on a first come first serve basis.
BCC is a medium-size not-for-profit organization (850 employees, $45 million annual budget) serving children and families across the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA. www.boardofchildcare.org/programs
Some terms and definitions:
- Executive Leadership Team (ELT): Six people comprised of the CEO, CFO, COO, Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) and two Executive Directors (both handle responsibility for program oversight in MD/DC and WV/PA respectfully)
- Senior Leadership Team (SLT): Members of ELT plus all the organization’s Vice Presidents (3) and Directors/Managers (18) across both programing and support department functional areas.
The COO was an early adopter of Asana and brought it to BCC six years ago (user of one – him) having used it at his prior job (again user of one). Today, the teams that the COO directly oversees use Asana in their day to day function and coordination (IT / marketing / Quality Assurance / Fundraising / Administrative Support). These teams have an expectation of clearing their Asana inbox at least once a day and discussions on Asana norms and workflows within those teams occur on a regular basis. These are the easiest teams to do this with as the COO oversees them. As in most stories of software adoption, however, it gets more difficult as you expand across the org chart, and this is really where the consultant comes in.
The Executive team (and a handful of SLT members) have been using Asana well to coordinate new program launches, respond to particularly complicated RFP type proposals, pre-work and actual coordination of a merger with another non-profit in 2019, plan events, and several other types of work. They have coded in the strategic plan to the software last year and this year but has had fits and starts of getting people to keep their items up to date. There are corporate KPI’s that the ELT tracks in Asana (although the COO suspects the consultant will have a better way to do this). A limitation the ELT feels is that the work effort of putting the KPI’s in Asana doesn’t translate to everyone knowing the KPI’s or where they stand (nor do people feel a connection to how their work impacts those KPI’s).
Like most pieces of software, Asana usage even across ELT and some members of SLT varies and is inconsistent. There isn’t consistent or in some cases any usage of the Asana inbox, and there are still big gaps in time where some Asana members don’t update their tasks or projects so you lose that sense of momentum and “what’s going on?” There is a common declaration by some that the Asana inbox is always impossible to get to given the high volume of email they receive for normal business and programing operations.
The COO and the CEO both feel that culturally everyone on ELT agrees in concept that there are good bones to Asana usage at BCC (in some functional areas more than others) and that as a leadership team ELT does see the potential for the software to really manage the strategic plan and all the elements that need to hum along to achieve the outcomes they desire.
What the COO is looking for in a consultant is someone who can help bring Asana to that next level at BCC. That next level means:
- Reviewing how the COO onboards people to the software and transitioning the burden of this from him to others.
- Reviewing the actual project and team structure in Asana and documenting it such that new users can get oriented to the “how BCC uses Asana” question.
- All members of SLT are in the platform and that they are (at least monthly) updating their strategic projects and quarterly rocks (milestones). The COO and CEO feel we will be successful this year if the burden of updating 90% of the projects and milestones has moved from ELT to their direct reports, so ELT can spend more time on bandwidth, coaching, adjusting milestone delivery dates as new information is uncovered, and getting people unstuck.
- It is easy to send our Board of Directors an update on how we’re doing without a lot of manual exports using Asana2go or the Google Drive integration currently employed.
- Every member of SLT knows what THEY are responsible for (strategically) each quarter, and they know what each other are working on and how it’s going. The vision is, for example, that the director of the school BCC runs should know at a high level how the development team is doing fundraising wise, and the development vice president should know how the school is doing rolling out it’s new behavior management program.
Our vision is not that every member of SLT needs to be able to build complex implementation projects in the software. The natural list makers and early adopters will self-select into this skill. But at the core once the ELT has set the goals, projects, milestones and thought about where they should be due, and the KPI’s, they want to see SLT execute on those. Our vision is not that every member of SLT forgoe the use of email and only use the Asana inbox. Generally the consensus (at least right now) on ELT is that they would be happy if SLT folks could at least be assigned tasks in the software, know that those tasks were seen, and that SLT will actually both complete the task AND mark it as done in the software (several current users are not good about actually marking things as done, which makes it difficult to actually know where a project stands). This whole dynamic is another area the COO feels a consultant can really give BCC lift.
At the moment, all members of ELT have a license and some members of senior leadership team does. Some with licenses are not really “in” Asana each day. Some love the tool and use it every day, and some have no experience and no access to it yet.
In order to get the strategic plan to really live and breathe, the COO is seeking a consultant to help scale the Asana experience to this newbie group (about 40 people at various org chart levels – everyone on SLT and then a handful of other supporting roles and support departments that we really need to bring in to make this all work).
Finally, Microsoft Teams is included in BCC’s MS 365 subscription and the COO is seeing informal adoption of this tool across various groups. While he has no interest in coding in the strategic plan to MS Teams (Asana it is not), he does want to avoid the confusion of “well I put that in teams but I was supposed to put that in Asana” or just that feeling of having too many inputs (email, Asana, MS team updates, etc.). I need help from the consultant to lay out the framework for appropriate usage of MS teams and some clear training on what appropriate uses are for it (as it not feasible budget wise to bring everyone at BCC into Asana).
Requirements of the consultant:
- Certified Asana Pro – while COO may consider someone who does not have this certification, preference is given to individuals who can bring scope and experience of how other companies have achieved what BCC is looking to do in Asana and the best way to do it.
- Able to do video calls during normal business hours on Eastern Standard Time.
- Can begin the engagement the week of August 24th
- Clear communicator in English (written and oral). Must be able to create clear training materials.
- Brings with them tools and templates that can be rapidly modified and deployed to BCC as appropriate.
- Experience working with companies at least the size of BCC. Consultants who have not engaged clients as large or as complex as BCC (e.g. has many different service or product lines, large geographic area, Asana user base of at least 70) will unfortunately not be selected. COO is not willing to be the first engagement of this size for a consultant.
- Experience working with executive teams.
- Can complete a reference check
How to Apply
Deadline for applications: Thursday, August 20