Use SharePoint to Build Your Next Project Schedule

As many of you know, SharePoint 2010 allows you to build project task lists within your SharePoint sites.  That being said, the functionality can be somewhat limited if you are needing a more comprehensive tool to schedule your tasks.  If you are looking to manage a project in SharePoint and you need the flexibility of a scheduling tool but you also need it to be user friendly and easy to use, take a look at EPM Live’s schedule management capabilities.  EPM Live’s project planner has all the typical features of a scheduling tool including:

  • Summary tasks (indent and outdent)
  • Predecessors/Successors
  • Milestones
  • Gantt chart
  • Critical path
  • Baseline
  • Resource assignments

Notice I say “typical”.  There are also many features you simply won’t find anywhere else in regards to other SharePoint Project Management solutions.  These include:

  • A SharePoint-based resource pool that can be easily customized with critical resource data important to your organization
  • A “my work” rollup that users can access and view all of their work across all projects regardless of what site it resides in
  • Out of the box schedule, resource and cost reports stemming from your project schedule
  • Out of the box schedule dashboards and views

In addition to the above, there are many other advantages to building your schedules in SharePoint using EPM Live.  Take a look at the video below to take a quick tour!



PPM for the Enterprise Part 1 – Common PPM Deployment Challenges

There are many factors to consider when assessing your PPM (Enterprise Project Portfolio Management) needs across your organization.  It occurs more often than not that financial constraints or time to market requirements outweigh the critical need to truly understand and evaluate the original need for this organizational change.   Of course that’s not to say that those seeking PPM disciplines and applications don’t have objectives in mind; but, whose objectives are they and how can you meet those objectives by enforcing a tool or discipline that only benefits those at the top?  Well, in my mind the answer is simple…you can’t.  The most common mistake made in PPM deployments is the inability to define all stakeholders, their challenges, their tools and processes, and most importantly their current state of organizational project management maturity.  An effective strategy for PPM implementation addresses all of the following areas: 

–       Who will be using the system?

–       What are their current PPM challenges?

–       What tools and processes are they using today?

Very similar to branding, which I’ll touch on a bit later, knowing and understanding your target audience will undoubtedly result in higher user adaption, leading to overall acceptance and maximized ROI. 

In this 5 part blog series, I will be covering the following topics: 

  1. Common PPM Deployment Challenges
  2. PPM Maturity – Users and Capabilities
  3. PPM Deployment Tips
  4. PPM Branding
  5. PPM Tools that Address Today’s

Before we get into the various areas where maturity can be measured, let’s first discuss three common challenges that can potentially cause a negative impact on PPM deployments. 

#1 – One solution rarely fits the needs of all users

An enterprise system typically isn’t tailored to meet all team’s/user’s needs.  An enterprise system is just that, a tool to be shared and used by the entire organization.  The problem is that most teams in an organization work differently.  They have different processes, they follow different leaders, and they have different areas of focus which results in different work.  A PPM system must allow you to define your enterprise needs and then customize the tool to meet the needs of individual teams or departments.  If each user understands that the tool will meet their needs and resolve their pain points, everyone wins.  Executives get to see what they need across the enterprise and individual teams can work the way they work to make the tool effective.  Usability equals success in an enterprise system, the data outputs are only as good as the information going into the tool. 

# 2 – A PPM system rarely accommodates all other work that affects your project resources

For example, where in my PPM system can I find my service request ticket that is affecting my ability to complete my project tasks on time? There are several components of PPM that are essential and the most important one is resource management.  If you can’t effectively manage your resources how will you end up with a quality product within budget and delivered on time?  Once again, the answer is, you can’t.  In order to perform the resource management functions needed to obtain project success you must capture all work, not just project tasks.  Let’s say that Jim and Bill are working on my project and I can’t figure out why they are so far behind on their tasks.  I go into the PPM system and I see that they are only 50% allocated to three projects combined. As a PM that doesn’t give me the insight needed to effectively manage my resources.  It also doesn’t help Jim and Bill with productivity because most likely they have a different system for every type of work they are managing.  The solution?  Your PPM system must have the ability to manage all work associated with all resources so that you can properly manage your organization’s most valuable assets… your resources.  If you can remove the silos of information spread across your organization and accommodate all work in one solution, not only will you increase productivity but you could potentially reduce significant costs by eliminating unnecessary infrastructure, reducing the need for dedicated system expertise and removing the ongoing expense of maintaining redundant systems.

# 3 – PPM systems seldom represent a complete portfolio making visibility into all investments

Have you ever looked at your project portfolio in your PPM system and wondered why you are only seeing $265,000 worth of projects when you know you have allocated three times that amount for execution? Projects are everywhere, not just in your PMO or IT departments. You buy into project management because it proves to be valuable.  It is worth investing dollars to hire project managers to manage the large projects; it’s almost like buying insurance.  You need to protect your original investment of saying “yes” let’s execute on it!  But an organization’s portfolio will never be complete without including all the small projects that keep the business running.  Projects are everywhere and so are the resources running those initiatives.  Isn’t visibility into all your investments critical in understanding your true portfolio health?  A true PPM system must be able to accommodate all projects large and small which means project management maturity will vary.  A PPM system, in order to accomplish a complete portfolio, must provide tools for both complex schedule management as well as lightweight schedule management…no project management scheduling expertise needed.   It is not realistic to believe that every project in your organization will be run by a true seasoned and experienced project manager.  It is essential to consider all aspects of your work portfolio, accommodate all projects and offer a tool for every user in your organization.  

Every user within your organization will have different needs.  As you can see from the challenges mentioned above, it is critical to accommodate and meet the needs of all users within your project AND work management tool.  As you begin discussions of building a solution for your organization, don’t forget to consider all users that will eventually play a role in acceptance and usability.

Keep an eye open next week for PPM for the Enterprise Part 2, “Understanding Maturity”.

Jack in the Box Implements EPM Live to Reduce Cost and Improve PPM Maturity

EPM Live recently sat down with Kourtney Kennedy, PMP, Manager of Jack in the Box IT Portal Development.  Jack in the Box is one of the nation’s largest hamburger chains with more than 2,200 restaurants in 19 states.  Most people don’t know they were even responsible for developing the first major hamburger chain drive-thru.

Now that you know who they are, let’s touch on EPM Live’s relationship with Jack.  Jack in the Box had a common pain point with many IT organizations today; they had a multi-maturity organization that required a Project, Portfolio Management (PPM) solution that would meet the needs of each individual, each team and every department.  EPM Live has completed hundreds of large EPM implementations since its conception in 1999.  It is refreshing to see that many of the common challenges that were faced 5 years ago have been addressed with easy to use, yet comprehensive technology.  It is no longer impossible for organizations to have a one-size-fits-all solution that will indeed meet the needs of every stakeholder.  Jack in the Box is the perfect case study to reflect this evolution.  The system was designed to give executives visibility into all project and work initiatives within the organization, while at the same time, meeting the needs of each individual team.  They type of work didn’t matter, EPM Live could handle iterative planning for the product teams, complex project planning for IT and lightweight planning or simple to do lists for all other functional teams.  Take a look at some of the highlights below; to download the full case study or view the case study video, please click here.


  • Jack in the Box was using multiple segregated systems to run their projects
  • There were multiple project management maturity levels within the organization.  Jack in the Box could only accommodate those who were mature enough to use a complex toolset.   Adoption was low and there was resistance to use the current system in place
  • Project schedules were scattered and were not available for global visibility
  • Project communication was not structured nor centralized
  • Project requests were copied and pasted into toolset and received through multiple methods
  • IT contracts and requests were difficult to submit, making IT services hard to obtain


  • Support 687 users and over 600 projects
  • Leverage system already in place (SharePoint) to protect current IT investments
  • Remove disparate and segregated legacy systems and accommodate all users, all work and all processes
  • Map to current processes already in place
  • Meet requirements for multiple teams, users and roles
  • Aid in the portfolio management selection process by scoring project requests via defined KPIs


  • Global visibility into work and projects across the entire organization for more informed decision making and control
  • Reduction of dollars spent on redundant systems and duplicated effort
  • Organized method of managing work to reduce resource effort and increase productivity
  • Standardized tools and processes to implement best practices and repeatable processes
  • Eliminated the risks and costs associated with implementing the wrong projects or those that would provide minimal value to the organization
  • Roadmap and plan to gradually increase PPM maturity across the organization
  • One tool to support all users and processes
  • Increased value of IT by automating processes and making it easy for business owners to make requests

If you would like more information on how EPM Live can help your multi-maturity organization, please feel free to contact us or join one of our recent webinars, “Implementing Enterprise Project Portfolio Management for a Multi-maturity Organization“.  To sign up for a free trial, please click here.

PPM for Government – How Government Agencies Can Leverage EPM Live to Reduce IT Spending

Last week, Federal Chief Information Officer, Steven VanRoekel released the following statement in his blog, “This week, we released the details of the FY 2013 IT Budget request totaling $78.8 billion. This is a 0.75 percent decrease from the FY 2012 enacted level of  $79.4 billion – and is noteworthy given the historical growth of Government IT spending. In fact, from FY 2001 through FY 2009, IT spending nearly doubled, growing at an annual rate of 7 percent.”  He then went on to say, “We are seizing on the power of 21st century technology to consolidate data centers; move to lightweight, shareable technologies, such as cloud computing, while also directing agencies to consolidate commodity IT services; and shift to shared services. For example, the Department of Defense (DOD) is saving up to $300 million in FY 2013 from the closure of 100 data centers and the President’s Budget proposes close to a $1 billion decrease in their IT budget.”

As with many organizations, the administration is looking to IT to help reduce costs and maximize efficiencies. By consolidating systems, leveraging cloud computing and bettering Project and Portfolio Management processes, government agencies can make these goals a reality.

Achieving operational efficiency while running large-scale programs effectively are mission critical disciplines that many organizations must conquer to receive the true benefits of IT. EPM Live has had the opportunity to work with many government organizations in the last 10 years.  During the current recession many government leaders have been instructed to cut IT budgets. That being said, they are also looking to IT to reduce costs as a result of IT initiatives. So how can government leaders do more with less?  EPM Live’s strategies that have been implemented via government contracts  including Federal civilian, department of defense as well as state and local governments include:

[unordered_list style=”tick”]

  • Eliminating Redundant Systems and Segregated Silos of Information – Government agencies have a tendency to build custom solutions that are disconnected from other IT platforms.  The escalating trend and popularity of SaaS (software-as-a-service) and cloud services can help these government organizations bring systems to market quickly, less costly and without the overhead and infrastructure typically required to implement new systems, not to mention the maintenance that follows. Because EPM Live is an “all work” platform, eliminating unnecessary legacy systems is a reality.  Managing all work within an organization including projects, operational work, products, etc. on one system is now possible. Just like any other business in the world today, these government agencies must not lose site of innovation, new technology and new ways of managing work in order to keep a competitive edge. Data center growth can now take a back seat and data consolidation can bring to light the significance of having more resources available to work on the initiatives that will bring more value to the organization.
  • Implementing Project Portfolio Management (PPM) – Resulting in Better Decision Making and Positive Project Outcomes– Over the years many government projects have been evaluated and processes have been modified as a result. Over the years, the budget plans have reflected the need to cancel and cut projects that are severely over budget and behind schedule. They also require detailed business cases for initiatives that will likely bring more value and attract new funding. To support these efforts, PPM technology is essential. EPM Live has helped government organizations evaluate their projects and programs by allowing business case creation, scoring criteria, ROI analysis and what-if modeling. These organizations can ensure the right projects are being implemented. It has been stated that many government projects weren’t realizing value for years. By that time, the fast-paced world we live in today has changed dramatically, the original benefits of the project were no longer valuable and the needs have changed based on technology drivers, environmental factors, or economic conditions. Implementing PPM technology that will show ROI, timeframe, cost estimates and resource plans along with the business drivers is essential to ensure this type of planning doesn’t consume investments. Choosing the right projects and ensuring a short term value realization can help government leaders make the right strategic decisions to align with objectives, and just as importantly, reduce the risk of potential failure.
  • Improving Organizational Maturity– As mentioned above, one of the best ways to cut costs is to improve Project and Portfolio Management processes. EPM Live helps government organizations align their current processes to a toolset which in turn brings a familiarity to the system creating fast adoption rates and usability. Once the current processes are mapped and usage of the system is high, maturity growth is natural and the risks of overcoming change is minimal. Because we design our products to accommodate all users at all maturity levels, there is a sense of accountability that comes with individual ownership of a tool that can only be present if the users feel as if the system was built with their processes in mind. EPM Live provides many tools for collaboration that help users share best practices, create repeatable processes and work towards maturity improvement goals. As processes improve and maturity levels increase, productivity increases and overall efficiencies begin to unfold.  To join a webinar on “Implementing PPM for a Multi-Maturity Organization” register here.
  • Increasing Project Transparency and Awareness – It is becoming more and more evident that providing constituents with data insight into government project spending and status is critical to running projects effectively. The degree in which the government serves its customers is crucial to its success just as it is to all consumer focused businesses operating today. The government has taken many steps to improving project transparency over the years. In 2009, an IT dashboard was launched to give the American people insight into how government funding was being spent and how those initiatives were performing. Later, the government launched a program in which they would conduct program reviews and would allow for termination of programs that were not producing dividends for the American people. EPM Live has implemented these dashboards
    within many government agencies to increase transparency, generate awareness, bring to light potential risks before they become major issues and to create timely solutions to the visible problems that persist. Awareness simply gives businesses the ability to react quickly and respond to the issues that often manifest within projects due to delayed resolution.


There are many steps that government agencies can take to realize full benefit of IT.  To learn more about EPM Live and its Government solutions, please contact us for more information.


Publish Your SharePoint Project and Work Tasks to Outlook with EPM Live

One of the biggest challenges with an Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution is getting all users to actually use the tool.   The data that comes out of the PPM tool is only as good as the information going in.  That being said, a critical success factor for implementing a PPM tool is high user adoption.  So how do you ensure that all users use the tool, and even better, WANT to use it?   You provide the tools needed to ensure users can work in the format most familiar to them.

EPM Live has been implementing PPM systems since 1999.  Because our solutions are built with usability in mind, removing adoption barriers is a requirement that has been the basis for many new features over the years.   Email applications are one of the most commonly used systems in organizations today which means that users are familiar with their email toolset.  In addition to many other integrations EPM Live offers to help users collaborate more effectively, EPM Live offers an Outlook integration that synchronizes all EPM Live work items with your Outlook task list.

With EPM Live, work is always consolidated in one central location (“My Work”) within Microsoft SharePoint.  EPM Live’s Outlook Publisher allows Microsoft Outlook users to easily connect to projects, tasks issues and other work items in EPM Live to collaborate in the way most familiar to them.

Easily Synchronize All Work Assigned to You In Any Outlook Task Folder


  • Synch with EPM Live: Outlook synchronizes with your “My Work” view from EPM Live automatically and in real time
  • Set automatic synchronization schedules with EPM Live sites or manually synchronize “My Work” from EPM Live at any time
  • Easily automatically connect to EPM Live when creating new Outlook task folders
  • “My Work” items are automatically removed from your Outlook task folders when any related EPM Live connections are removed for easy self clean-up
  • Changes to your “My Work” items are stored and automatically synchronized later if network connectivity is unavailable at the time you save the task, issue, risk, change, backlog, or custom work item for offline support needs
  • Easily manage all tasks in your Outlook task folders.  Switch views via the ribbon to only see your EPM Live “My Work” items, your Outlook native tasks, or both types of tasks in one consolidated view
  • Make changes to your work items directly in Outlook and changes are automatically synched back to EPM Live

Publish changes from local My Work items back to EPM Live

The EPM Live Outlook Publisher works with both Microsoft Outlook 2007 and 2010. We offer both 32- and 64-bit versions for Outlook 2010.  Sign up for EPM Live today!

EPM Live in Concert! World Tour Dates Just Released!

EPM Live is very excited to announce our newly released, 2012 upcoming events! EPM Live will be attending an array of events throughout the year and around the world! Come out and meet us and see EPM Live’s industry leading SharePoint-based, Project Management Solutions!

To kick off our world tour we begin in San Francisco, California at the SPTechCon Show on February 26th – February 29th. SharePoint TechCon is the largest independent conference in the world for IT professionals, business managers and developers.

Next stop London! EPM Live makes the jump across the pond to exhibit at the Project Challenge spring show in Olympia, London. Attendees to this exceptional event will gain real practical project knowledge and a worthwhile learning experience. With industry leading exhibitors, like EPM Live, and FREE educational presentations to choose from, this event provides an un-paralleled opportunity to learn from leading industry experts. The Project Challenge conference gets you up close and personal with the latest tools, solutions and services at the UK’s biggest and most important project event.

Then it’s back to the states for the Share Conference in Atlanta, Georgia on April 23rd-April 26th. The Share Conference is the world’s only SharePoint Conference designed to help business users address business issues – a vibrant and thriving community where delegates, partners and speakers have important conversations, form lasting relationships and pinpoint new and different ways to use SharePoint to achieve business results.

Up next team EPM Live will be exhibiting at Gartner’s PPM & IT Governance Summit in National Harbor, Maryland on May 21st-May 23rd and at the Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit in London, UK on June 19th-June 20th. We are very excited to be sponsoring this event both in the United States and in the UK; we look forward to sharing our solutions with PPM leaders from around the world! The summit conferences are the must-attend event for senior IT and business leaders tasked with directing program and portfolio management, the project management office and IT governance.

The final leg of the EPM Live in Concert tour takes us to the another renowned Gartner show, the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Florida on October 21st– October 25th. The Symposium ITxpo is the industry’s largest and most important annual gathering of CIOs and senior IT leads. It delivers independent and objective content with the authority and weight of the world’s leading IT research and advisory organization. It is the industry’s only event to deliver the insights, tools and relationships necessary to create, validate and execute transformative business technology strategies.

Finally we close out our exhibit tour with a bang at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 12th-November 15th! Always an exciting and energetic gathering of SharePoint professionals.  The SharePoint Conference will be the conference to learn more about Microsoft SharePoint 2012, the business collaboration platform for the enterprise and the internet. Attendees will learn how to apply the latest best practices for building and deploying solutions on the platform and find out how customers and partners are embracing cloud-based services to create value for their organizations. What happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas; in fact make sure to check out the EPM Live Facebook page for pictures and insights to all these events!

So what will you experience at the EPM Live booth? EPM Live’s industry leading SharePoint-based, Project Management Solutions. EPM Live’s product offerings are helping organizations simplify and become more effective at delivering projects successfully, optimizing resource utilization, and selecting the right work for the most profitable portfolio. EPM Live offers online and on premise Enterprise Project, Portfolio and Work management tools for everyone in your organization from individual contributors to executive management.  Designed with usability in mind, EPM Live creates efficiencies and empowers resources to work smart and get more work done.

Here’s a few of my favorite product features!


Our flagship product, WorkEngine ensures that your business executes all projects and all work more effectively, efficiently and timely. WorkEngine automates your processes by leveraging key capabilities to help you effectively organize all your work including the management of tasks, schedules, resources, costs, time and other business critical functions.  WorkEngine helps you reduce costs and maximize resources by offering pre-built solution templates to bring all work into one centralized location, potentially eliminating the need for disparate work specific platforms.

Schedule Management

  • Create clear uncomplicated project schedules online using the online Project Planner. Choose various viewing capabilities to see a simple task list or a detailed Gantt Chart for comprehensive schedule management.






Resource Management:

  • By combing resource workload on both project and non-project work in a single dynamic view, resource managers have a true picture of resource capacity. WorkEngine’s Resource Planner allows resource managers to view resource workload across all work, view resource availability by time-phase, perform what-if analysis on resource workload and availability, and view resources by various attributes such as department, skill, and role.






Cost Management:

  • Leverage unique roll up components to aggregate all project cost data across your portfolio. Built-in cost dashboards provide key performance indicators to drive awareness of cost status.






For the full list of WorkEngine capabilities and our WorkEngine App Marketplace check out the WorkEngine product page.


PortfolioEngine aligns projects and work to your business objectives, to make sure the right investment decisions are executed. Achieving competitive advantage means choosing the right projects to drive the business toward its strategic objectives. With PortfolioEngine you know which projects deliver the highest ROI while maximizing your company’s resources. Resource capacity planning, portfolio sequencing and financial target modeling takes the complexity out of large decisions.  A profitable portfolio leads to a profitable company.

Portfolio Management:

  • With visibility into real-time project investment status, it is possible to monitor progress in terms of actuals and forecasts on key dimensions such as cost, schedules, benefits, and risks and communicate status to all stakeholders. Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the business by reducing the complexity of managing multiple projects through improves portfolio visibility. Leverage portfolio analytics tools to make better decisions when selecting projects and work for execution.





What-if Modeling:

  • Analyze your proposed portfolio against defined financial targets to determine alignment and overall financial impact. Compare defined budgets against proposed projects and make adjustments where needed. Define resource plans for proposed projects and work and analyze the plans against current resource capacity. Leverage intuitive color-coded heat maps to view over allocations and modify dates and sequencing to define the most optimal portfolio. Create resource and financial targets to represent current resource capacity and cost budgets. Compare targets against portfolio scenarios to analyze impacts and make informed decisions.








  • Create a powerful collection of data and centrally manage and distribute reports of all types; graphs and charts, reporting services reports, KPI dashboards and report libraries. Report on all project items from one location including projects, tasks, issues, risks, changes, resources and timesheets.








For a full list of PortfolioEngine’s capabilities, check out the PortfolioEngine product page.

We hope to see you all on our world tour! Click here for more information on these upcoming events.  As events are added to our tour we will be updating our website!

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Uses EPM Live to Improve Visibility and Reduce Costs

As a center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is responsible for space missions exploring Earth, the solar system and the universe beyond. The laboratory employs approximately 5,000 people and is running a large number of projects at any given time.

The organization was using Microsoft Project Professional within the laboratory to give project management teams access to project schedules. However to share the schedules, JPL’s Project Schedule Analysts (PSAs) needed to create portable document files (PDFs) and then place them in a file share directory for access by project team members.  This meant that the schedules viewed by team members were a static image of project status at any given point in time, and did not provide any ability to drill down into items or make changes. When engineers needed to make a change they had to coordinate with the PSAs, creating additional work for both roles.

JPL decided to deploy WorkEngine from EPM Live, an Enterprise Project Portfolio and Work Management solution that integrates Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Project Server to achieve improved schedule visibility, greater collaboration, and reduce costs.

Various projects are being migrated to the WorkEngine solution, including plans and schedules for major upcoming flight projects. With EPM Live’s WorkEngine solution, project schedule visibility has been transformed from a static view of the project at any given time into real-time access for all project teams to review and status.

By deploying a project management solution that is integrated with SharePoint Server, JPL is able to create project workspaces where teams can access schedules and other key project information in a single location. This has improved collaboration within the teams, as employees can work together on documents, calendars, tasks and other items, removing version control issues. Project teams have real-time access to data, which boosts productivity among employees.

As well as benefiting from improved collaboration and visibility, JPL anticipates significant cost reductions from moving to an enterprise project management solution. A PSA can create approximately 30 PDFs of schedules during an update cycle, including the top level schedule and a version for each Cost Account Manager. Using the web view will save PSAs up to half a day’s work each week. JPL will also create cost efficiencies through improved collaboration by integrating its projects.

To learn more about how we work with other government agencies, contact us.

Project Manager Today Shares EPM Live Product Review

Steve Cotterell of Project Manager today takes a look at EPM Live, “A SharePoint add-on that turns it into a full-blown portfolio, project and work management tool.”

“Microsoft’s SharePoint is a major player on the corporate collaboration scene. It therefore makes perfect sense that any project oriented organisation that’s invested SharePoint technology would want to take advantage of that investment when considering what project management software they should use. Enter EPM Live, an American company with offices in London and Australia and partners in thirty-five other countries. There are currently three Engines in EPM Live’s portfolio:   Project, Portfolio and Work Engines.”

Project Manager Today provides an unrivalled means of addressing the project & programme management communities in the UK and overseas.   To read the full review click here.

EPM Live "PM Lite" Template for Simple Online Project Management

An enterprise project management system typically isn’t tailored to meet the needs of ALL users.  An enterprise system is just that, a tool to be shared and used by the entire organization.  The problem is that most teams in an organization work differently.  They have different processes, they follow different leaders, they have different areas of focus, and most of all, they are at different maturity levels within the PM maturity.  In fact, most likely you have non-PMs running projects somewhere across your organization.  A PPM system must allow you to define your enterprise needs and then customize the tool to meet the needs of individual teams, project managers, or departments.  If each user understands that the tool will meet their needs and resolve their pain points, everyone wins.  Executives get to see what they need across the enterprise and individual teams can work the way they work to make the tool effective.  Usability equals success in an enterprise system, and the data outputs are only as good as the information going into the tool.

With this in mind EPM Live offers our “PM Lite” PM Lite Project Workspace template suits those project managers looking for a simple project management tool with easy collaboration and scheduling tools.

Project teams improve collaboration and keep projects on track with the power to choose to use either the EPM Live Online Planner or Microsoft Project to manage your schedule.  Your team can log issues as they arise, chat in team discussions, and share documents.   Built-in reports let you see relevant project dashboards and artifacts.  EPM Live is always striving to meet the needs of ALL users and ALL process across ALL work!

Watch a few videos to learn more about how to use our Online Project Planner:

Project Planner Overview

Project Planner Deep Dive

PM Lite” Highlights:

  • Project scheduling using the EPM Live Online Planner or Microsoft Project.

  • Issues & Document Management

  •  Visual Reports & Dashboards

  • Notifications & Alerts to improve collaboration for your team



Implementing Enterprise PPM for a Multi-maturity Organization

The Project Portfolio Management (PPM) evolution has made great leaps and bounds over the last few years. For this reason, I believe there are still a few common misconceptions that remain linked to the topic of PPM discussions everywhere. Before diving into misconception #1, it is important for you to know that PPM CAN be for everyone, regardless of maturity. If you have a multi-maturity organization, join us for our upcoming webinar to see how you can have a one size fits all PPM solution tailored to meet the needs of every user within your business.

Systems are put into place to resolve pain points, address challenges and return a positive value impact on the underlying need for PPM within the organization. PPM success factors could be defined by an increase in resource productivity, a decrease in spending or the general ability to be able to do more with less. Here’s where the misconception comes in; PPM is, for the most part, known as a complex discipline. In many organizations, PPM systems are often defined and used by those within the organization who are mature enough to understand the data that goes in and the meaning of the data that comes out.  Well, understanding the data is one thing, validating the data is another.  PPM systems will net a much greater return if all resources (those who are managing the work and those who are performing the work) are using the tool.  It is no longer fair to assume that the true PPM practitioners within your organization are the only ones qualified to use a PPM system.  Notice that I said “those who are managing the work”.  In order to have a complete portfolio that reflects true spend, every user must be included.  I’m happy to say that in today’s PPM world, that is possible.  In fact, EPM Live has brought PPM to thousands of users and has met the individual maturity needs of each and every client.  So now that we got the misconception out of the way, let’s talk a little about maturity.

What is a PPM Maturity Model and why is it so important?  PPM Maturity Models have played an important role in history, preparing organizations and IT leaders to better their Project and Portfolio Management processes. The ability to practice these types of strategic disciplines to better align with your organization’s strategic objectives is called Organizational Project Management Maturity.

In today’s competitive market it is critical for organizations to leverage their IT infrastructure to better these processes and continue to move up the maturity curve. It is proven that organizations with higher maturity can expect to see better return and performance on their project portfolio and could potentially lead to competitive advantage. Why? Because a portfolio that is managed in accordance with a PPM Maturity Model, such as Gartner’s, can help organizations identify their weaknesses, determine and set priorities, and play a key role in establishing goals to better the overall organization.

Does this mean that every organization should set a goal of going from level 0 maturity to level 5 in 90 days?  Absolutely not, in fact, quite the contrary. Moving up in maturity at a rapid pace will only introduce risks and ultimately result in low adoption or acceptance for all those involved. Organizations must realistically assess where they reside in the maturity model and set practical, incremental goals that are achievable and obtainable through gradual adoption. The Gartner PPM Maturity Model involves 5 core dimensions and 6 levels:

5 Core Dimensions:

  • People- Your most valuable asset on any project is the people. Their skill set, their involvement or availability and their ability to follow processes and deliver on projects are all crucial characteristics of project management maturity
  • PPM Processes- Processes are the activities, tasks, or workflow that is used to establish an end result. The granularity and complexity of the processes we use through project management disciplines whether it be portfolio management, resource management, time management or task management have a great impact on the end result
  • Financial Management- All project related work, in addition to materials, have a direct impact on your projects bottom line. How you track and manage this information will most definitely play a role in your project’s success
  • Technology- This one is a sweet spot for EPM Live. Technology is critical. How and with what tool you will manage every aspect of your portfolio will ultimately determine your ability to improve productivity which in turn affects your resources, your dollars, your time and the quality in which you deliver
  • Relationships- This one seems to require little explanation. The relationship we have amongst our stakeholders (project teams, customers, leadership) can make or break a project. Communication is key and the way we collaborate and nurture these relationships is of utmost importance

So how does EPM Live technology stack up against the Gartner PPM Maturity Model?  EPM Live believes that PPM Maturity is critical for project success. We also understand that most organizations fall between level 0 and level 1 maturity.  EPM Live provides the tools necessary to help organizations improve their PPM maturity while at the same time aligning with the organization’s strategic goals as you transition up the maturity ladder. For this reason, EPM Live offers a solution path to success that will help you determine where you are in organizational maturity, where you want to be moving forward and a roadmap to get you there!