Skip to content

Powering through projects with Sensei: Maximising the long-term value of benefits through enhanced Project Management

Long-time Sensei client Life Without Barriers has steadily matured its Project Management Office while adapting to a shifting landscape of how work gets done. With its Sensei driven Altus software, the organisation has provided everyone from ‘informal’ project managers to seasoned project professionals with a standardised platform that takes care of their initiatives, resulting in more accurate and complete information about work underway across its operations. As a result, Life Without Barriers benefits from consistent information system widely used by its people, contributing to the clear and precise flow of invaluable insights from project teams through to executive level.

Life Without Barriers (LWB) is a national provider of a range of social support services including Foster Care, Disability, and Aged Care. LWB has a clear purpose to partner with people and change lives for the better. LWB contribute to a world where each person can live a life free of barriers that prevent them from realising their rights and opportunities. LWB has operated for more than 25 years, challenging the status quo and seeking better ways to help every Australian in need live a fulfilling and rewarding life.


LWB Manager PMO Monica Geraghty says the organisation has worked with Sensei since 2017 and across multiple iterations of what is today known as the Altus platform. “When we first chose to work with Sensei, we had a centralised Project Management Office working on a variety of enterprise and business projects, with a diverse population of people ranging from qualified Project Managers to Business Analysts, and project- associated roles. All these individuals needed a tool which would bring some clarity to the projects they were tasked with, and which would establish a reportable record of how they were progressing,” she relates.

Her colleague and Project Management Analyst Matthew Rickard provides insight into just how many projects are underway at any given time. “Right now, we have 757 projects in the Altus platform, 227 of which are active, and we have 193 named users.”

These projects operate across both operational and corporate support business areas. Rickard says projects have a tiered governance structure, typically with a member of the executive having responsibility for direction, then a business owner providing oversight for multiple projects under their ambit, and finally citizen or professional project managers are allocated for delivery.

“Before adopting Altus with Sensei, it was difficult for project managers to not only control their initiatives, but also report up through the organisation,” recalls Geraghty. “As we were using a variety of tools, including spreadsheets, we would spend a lot of time on reporting, sometimes in response to the different needs of different audiences. For the project manager, this meant a degree of inefficiency and a hassle factor. Then, of course, the executives or the business sponsors would have a hard time getting a consistent view across all projects, with a diverse and disparate set of reports coming in.”


Working with Sensei has proven a winner over the years as the software they implement has adapted in line with LWB’s project management workforce. It also helps that the PPM solutions implemented are built on the Microsoft stack. Geraghty explains: “From a technical perspective, Altus aligns with our IT architecture, and we used Microsoft Project as a staple so that tied in nicely. However, what’s more important is the support we received from Sensei, along with the flexibility of the tool which makes it useful for everyone from the first-time project manager, through to the seasoned professional. It isn’t so complex that a new user is lost and intimidated, but it also offers full functionality for those more familiar with the business of project management.”

When LWB initially implemented Altus, known then as Jumpstart, Geraghty says Sensei led LWB through a process of discovery. This captured their typical project lifecycle and unique project data, both being important to LWB. Configuration followed, matching LWB needs whilst retaining industry best practices which are built into the tool.

While the initial cohort of users were project management professionals with a clear understanding of and comfort in using an enterprise system, Geraghty says the user base has grown over time to now substantially include citizen project managers. “What we’ve noticed, with a great deal of appreciation, is that Sensei’s solution has changed at the same time. As those citizen project managers have increasingly become part of the workforce, we’ve seen the Altus tool becoming more open and more flexible, delivering the ability to be consistent in information asked for, while not overloading newer project managers with excessive complexity or detail.”

She says this has proven crucial to the lasting success of LWB’s Altus deployment with Sensei. “There’s two things here. You don’t want a tool restricted to the big hitters. And you don’t want to burden people who are doing project management in addition to their day job but draw them in so they see the value and use the system. That’s where we are now, with a system that broadly works for everyone.”

“Before adopting Altus with Sensei, it was difficult for project managers to not only control their initiatives, but also report up through the organisation. As we were using a variety of tools, including spreadsheets, we would spend a lot of time on reporting, sometimes in response to the different needs of different audiences.”

Monica Geraghty, Manager PMO, Life Without Barriers


The long-term use of Sensei’s PPM platforms has delivered what Geraghty describes as ‘a level of sophistication’ to the Project Management Office, and to projects in general. As reporting is concerned, she says executive sponsors and business owners are no longer subjected to that cruelest of punishments, death by spreadsheet. “It’s the same for our project managers,” she smiles, as they have a better way of tracking and managing individual efforts. “Our user population has proven willing to engage with and adopt the tool, and as a result, our executives and owners get the information they need, when they need it.”

With a structured annual review of strategy and direction, she says the availability of clear, concise and accurate project status information is invaluable. “Knowing what’s been done, what’s being done, means we can refresh projects, adjust focus if necessary, or amend strategy and spending. We couldn’t do that without a tool like Altus and the work Sensei has done to implement it effectively for us.”

Rickard adds that LWB has established a strategic relationship with Sensei. “Being a lean PMO, we have lent on Sensei Client Care and the Delivery team who provide both technical support and enhancements to improve our project management capability.

“Sensei’s unwavering support has empowered us to build a robust partnership, enabling expert guidance in project management and software and underscores their dedication to our success.”

Matthew Rickard, Project Management Analyst, Life Without Barriers

The combination of Sensei’s project management knowledge and software development expertise is invaluable. As an example, these Sensei teams understood the complexities needed to design and implement a security architecture that helped us wed project managers to their projects securely.”

Finally, Geraghty says Sensei has remarkable foresight. “They’ve seen where the market is going and that’s reflected in the changes that come through in the software solutions they implement; they see changes that users want, and they appear in the software, unprompted. It’s great knowing your vendor is keeping pace with how modern work happens.”

Download the full case study in PDF here.