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Workfront Certified System Admin Spotlight: Katherine Stibley

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Congratulations to all of our newly certified System Admins! It’s such an amazing accomplishment, and we want everyone to get to know some of our newly-minted experts. We’ll be spotlighting as many of our System Admins as we can. Kicking us off today is the wonderful, brilliant, @Katherine Stibley‚, answering a few questions in her own words.

Workfront: What was your background before learning Workfront (super technical, lots of project management, or totally something different)?­

Katherine: I have an MBA in IT and Operations with a career track in marketing-finance/operations roles that leveraged those skills to support my stakeholders. I’m one of those people that will open every menu and push every button just to see what happens, and so I’ve often wound up the defacto sys-admin on the various platforms I’ve worked on spanning accounting, project management, data analytics, pricing platforms and various ERP systems. ¬≠¬≠

Workfront: In two sentences or less, how does your organization use Workfront?­

Katherine: Workfront is in many ways the heartbeat of our client service model, enabling us to deliver quality, timely and measurably impactful results to our clients. From the moment the ink on the contract is dry to the time the last status report is sent, Workfront is a partner, roadmap, (and let’s be honest ‚Äì sometimes nagging Mom) that keeps us on time and organized to deliver our campaigns in ways that also make it transparent to balance workloads and provide real-time project insights to our leadership teams.¬≠¬≠

Workfront: What is the Workfront accomplishment you are most proud of?­

Katherine: Prior to the Workfront implementation we had a particularly obnoxious manual Word document-based ordering process with one of our partners. Filling out the Word form alone was painful, and that’s before getting into tracking all of the orders/delivery status in Excel with no good auditable way to cross-reference client information or track the expenses properly. With the implementation of a request queue and a carefully built dashboard we’ve been able to allow the partner direct access to see their orders and update the status and deliverables directly back to the appropriate client teams on our side. Giving the partner access to everything they needed, but locking them out of everything they didn’t, required a creative combination of custom access levels, queue security settings and inventively breaking a dashboard to make it hide non-externally-appropriate reports.¬≠¬≠

Workfront: How will being Workfront system admin certified change things for you?­

Katherine: For me, the bootcamp classes filled in a lot of the theory holes in my knowledge. Previously, I’d figured out ‚Äòa’ way of getting something done but didn’t quite understand enough about the system to know if it was the most optimal way, the only way, or a way that would bite me in the backside three months down the road. Going through the certification coursework meant that now I have a complete set of tools in my kit instead of trying to solve every problem with the proverbial hammer. As someone already happily working as an admin, the official certification was mostly bragging rights, but I would also absolutely use it as a resume builder if I were marketing myself¬≠¬≠.

Workfront:If you could time travel and go back tell your newbie-Workfront self anything, what would it be?­

Katherine: Stop over-engineering and listen to the actual request made of you. Just because the system CAN implement an entire marching band doesn’t mean that’s actually the right solution to the challenge.

Katherine: Spend a lot less time trying to develop stock portable dashboards for entire teams, and sit down with how they manage their workflow today. Giving them the 80% coverage solution will just mean they take that 80% and spend three times more effort into manually rekeying it into their comfortable legacy format that might very well be a client driven template they’re required to provide reporting in anyway.

Katherine: Last but not least, while sometimes not knowing what you don’t know means you pull off things nobody else thought were possible ‚Äì it also means that you risk bypassing the native existing functionality in favor of a fragile workaround that you’ll learn 9 months later was never needed in the first place. If you find yourself thinking ‚ÄòIt’s silly that the system can’t X’ that’s your clue to call Support and ask. Let them save you from yourself.¬≠¬≠

Workfront:What areas of work management do you consider yourself an expert in?

Katherine: I would say I’m strongest in the process engineering aspects, whether that’s implementing a new report, system integration or tweaking a custom form. My skill is less in DOING the work, and more in figuring out the best way to do it in the first place. I’d say the areas specific to Workfront that I leverage the most to do that are the custom forms and dashboards/reporting.¬≠

Workfront: Finally, as a fun way to get to know you, when you get snacky and need a quick treat‚Äîwhat is your favorite “vice”?¬≠

Katherine: Really, really good aged cheese, the kind that’s old enough to have tiny crystalline bits in it. Something like a 20yo cheddar or aged gouda.

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