Importance of Project Portfolio Management Noted as Top 10 Project Management Trends in 2014

Project Management trend predictions for 2014 continue to roll in and one notable prediction is the emphasis on Project Portfolio Management (PPM). ESI International recently released an article on their Top 10 Project Management Trends for 2014, and they predict PPM will take center stage due to the new Project Management Institute’s (PMI)® new Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)SM credential.

In addition to the importance of the new credential, they believe PPM will be increasingly significant because many organizations are still tight on spending despite large cash reserves and that there are far more projects than people to work on them. Portfolio management will play an increasingly important role in helping to select the most strategic projects with the highest return on investment (ROI). This is a key shift in recent years as more enterprises grow beyond simple project management tools, spreadsheets and home-grown systems to top-down systems that enable executives in IT, New Product Development, Process Excellence, and PMOs (project management offices) to improve portfolio-level visibility and insight. The end result is improved business decision making and agility that includes a holistic approach to cost optimization across the entire organization.

Other notable trends included the expansion of Agile methodology and shifts in education and leadership for Project Managers.

EPM Live provides many project portfolio management features that allow organizations to find the right balance of “keep the lights on” activities and strategic opportunities to bring the most value to your organization. EPM Live also offers cutting-edge features like Social Project Management and Collaboration as well as a complete App Marketplace. Learn more about EPM Live and how we can help revolutionize your business.

EPM Live Recognized in Top 5 Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Apps by GetApp.com

Selecting the right project and work management tool is critical to on-going success of an organization. Spreadsheets and homegrown systems lack the framework, tools and reporting capabilities project software systems provide. This is why many organizations are looking to leverage a project and work management system today.

EPM Live is the leading project, portfolio and work management platform that revolutionizes the way organizations manage projects and work. EPM Live was recently chosen by GetApp.com as one of their Top 5 Project Portfolio Management (PPM)systems in the cloud.

According to GetApp.com, “Top project portfolio management systems combine tools for social collaboration and project management, making it possible for teams to align and function as cohesive units. By analyzing projects individually using customizable algorithms, these cloud-based platforms have become especially useful for organizations that deal with financial management, risk management, resource management, and any other group that deals with overarching project goals and milestones on a regular basis.”

The EPM Live platform provides both strong project management capabilities combined with social collaboration tools allowing users to better collaborate and work more productively on assigned projects and work. EPM Live was the first to introduce a build-to-order platform in the PPM market; which has allowed organizations to easily extend PPM and social collaboration to all areas of the business regardless of work focus. With EPM Live, small to large organizations can apply cost saving disciplines such as delivering projects successfully, optimizing resource utilization, and selecting the right work to all business teams including new product development, IT, services, operations, sales and project management. 

Learn more about EPM Live today or click here to get started with a free trial

Employees Pick: Favorite EPM Live Project and Work Management Features and Apps

To kick off the New Year, I wanted to share some of our favorite features and apps from the EPM Live Project and Work Management platform.  If you’re not using them, you are missing out!

1. Fool proof, easy to use Designer Forms! These custom forms allows users to easily define tabs, required fields, rules, and custom HTML and/or JavaScript for simple form creation allowing users the flexibility and customization that is often restricted with out of box forms.  This form is as easy as dragging and dropping. Easily customize and define the information that matters to you with EPM Live Designer Forms. Click here to learn more

2. Easily Create Reports and Dashboards – It’s your information, do what you want with it! This advancement in business intelligence allows user to easily create or modify reports and dashboards on the fly making data accessible to the users when they need it.  Users can easily create reports that are critical to their business without the need for development, giving users data at their fingertips for better decision making and decreased time to action. 

3. Resource Analyzer Features – The Resource Analyzer upper grid can now be turned into a full HTML chart that shows resource capacity vs. the total work selected.  In addition, a new “show details” button allows users to drill into resource heat map rows to see which projects or portfolio items are causing resourcing issues. The feature streamlines resource capacity information for better resource assigning.

4. Salesforce App – EPM Live’s Salesforce App allows executive and sales personnel to view all of their critical information from within Salesforce.com.  It provides sales teams the ability to communicate with project teams via the cloud to bring global portfolio and project visibility, work management, and issue management to fruition.  Project teams will be able to provide sales, marketing, customer success and executives with the information they need to close new business, increase customer satisfaction and fuel expansion within their pipeline.  In this process, all users will remain in their system of preference, working the way that makes them the most productive. With critical project data shared between the software systems, organizations can remove the gap often found between sales and service delivery organizations, and more systematically assure customer success. Click here to learn more.

5. Outlook Publisher App – Easily manage your EPM Live “To Do” list by publishing your My Work items in Outlook. The Outlook Publisher for Microsoft Outlook allows you to collaborate with your teams by linking Microsoft Outlook to any Microsoft SharePoint workspace. Quickly convert emails into service requests, backlogs, project issues, risks, changes or even project requests. Using Outlook Publisher is fast and simple! Manually create items from within your Outlook toolbar, or have them automatically generated from all emails in a defined folder. Click here to learn more.

These features are just five of a much larger pool of applications and work management features provided by the EPM Live platform. Learn more about EPM Live and get started with a free trial today!

Waterfall plus Agile Application – Predictive & Adaptive Planning for the Best of Both Worlds!

I recently read a great blog post that I could strongly relate to.  In his blog post “Predictive AND Adaptive Planning”, Chris describes the benefits of approaching project management in a hybrid approach.  Projects are almost never completely waterfall (predictive), or completely agile (waterfall) and can succeed and benefit from both.  Chris references the success of projects such as the Lewis and Clark expedition referenced as a “startup”, Apollo missions to the moon, and simply building a table in your garage to help visualize the adaptive and predictive elements within each “project”.  In each case, the project is successfully completed and delivered using a range of approaches and/or methodologies.

At EPM Live we cater to all users, all work and all processes.  We don’t believe there is a one size fits all approach to managing projects and work effectively.   Some EPM and PPM tools are rigid and require organizations to adjust their processes to align with the tool.  Because our background includes over ten years of consulting with organizations to successfully deploy Enterprise Project and Portfolio Management solutions, our product has been built to easily adapt to the way you work.

For example, when you create a project workspace, you have the option to select from a variety of pre-built Project Management templates accessed from our App Marketplace.  Our Apps are built with leading industry and business best practices embedded in the configuration to enable rapid adoption and standardization of all types of work.  As we gain insight from our service team, partners and customers, we continually enhance and build new templates for our customers to benefit from.

Some of our most recent additions include our new PM plus Agile Select template.  Essentially, this template is our “hybrid” approach to support using waterfall (predictive) and agile (adaptive) methodologies within one template.

  • Collaborate with team members with requests, team discussions issues and risks.
  • Manage schedules with our online planner, or Microsoft Project along for your predictive needs
  •         
  • Plan iterations and manage your backlog using our Agile Planner for more adaptive and iterative planning.

It is the best of both worlds!  Reality is it doesn’t have to be agile vs. waterfall.   It’s about managing and delivering successful projects in the most effective, efficient method that works for you!

If you’d like to read Chris’s full article:  http://anagilestory.com/2011/11/17/predictive-and-adaptive-planning-2/

Other Related Links

Blog – 5 Benefits of Agile

Blog – How Waterfall and Agile Work Together at EPM Live

Blog – Burn Down Charts – Not Just for Software Development Anymore….

Blog – WorkEngine #Agile Management – Expanding Iterative Planning Outside of Software Development

Ignite Revenue Growth by Combining CRM and Project Management Tools

In today’s social era customers have more choices than ever of products and software solutions to do business with. Leveraging the right tools to create a competitive edge is essential for continued success. By combining robust project management tools with powerful CRM capabilities, organizations are able to manage business initiatives while nurturing customer relationships.

EPM Live’s Salesforce App provides a powerful link between project data and customer information. Bringing all data into one centralized view, executives and sales personnel are now able to see all of their critical information from within Salesforce.com.  It provides sales teams the ability to communicate with project teams via the cloud to bring global portfolio and project visibility, work management, and issue management to fruition.  Project teams will be able to provide sales, marketing, customer success and executives with the information they need to close new business, increase customer satisfaction and fuel expansion within their pipeline.  In this process, all users will remain in their system of preference, working the way that makes them the most productive. With critical project data shared between the software systems, organizations can remove the gap often found between sales and service delivery organizations, and more systematically assure customer success.

Learn more about EPM Live’s Salesforce App in this short video.

EPM Live‘s Salesforce App Highlights: 

• Project and Portfolio Management:  Increase communication and productivity by bringing critical project data directly into Salesforce. This allows users to see exactly what’s being worked on, with immediate insight into progress or potential issues.

• User Defined Workflows:  Easily configure workflows to convert won opportunities from Salesforce into active Projects in EPM Live. 

• Global Visibility: Your sales team gets access to real-time information on customer projects, including key milestones achieved, project cost, billing and status information directly in Salesforce.

Get It Now!

Download Button

 

EPM Live Wins TopTenREVIEWS Award for Scheduling Software

In the life cycle of a project, the schedule is one of the most critical components. Project Managers have needs to manage schedules with different levels of rigor and complexity. Many project software offerings on the market today limit Project Managers to one scheduling tool and method. With EPM Live’s WorkEngine App offers a variety of scheduling methods and tools to meet the needs of every Project Manager. The WorkEngine App has always been known for its flexible scheduling tools that allow users to build schedules and tasks using a variety of methods including simple task lists, the online planner, the agile online planner, or Microsoft Project.  Regardless of user maturity or preferred methodology, EPM Live’s WorkEngine App has the right tool for every user.  We are thrilled to announce that it is finally official, EPM Live has been named as one of the top scheduling software tools for 2013 by TopTenREVIEWS.

EPM Live’s WorkEngine scheduling application was chosen for the TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award because of how effectively it streamlines communication and keeps projects on schedule and under budget.  TopTenREVIEWS evaluates products from multiple platforms providing customers the information they need to make smart purchasing decisions. TopTenREVIEWS only make recommendations for the best product in each category.  “With WorkEngine you can keep track of everyone on your team, their tasks, the budget and the schedule all in one program,” noted TopTenREVIEWS, “with a myriad of support options available from EPM Live, now you can focus on the project and not worry about the details falling through the cracks.”

Read the full review here.

Extend Office 365 with the Powerful Capabilities of SharePoint Project Management

EPM Live is excited to announce our new integration with Office 365. Now users can combine EPM Live’s powerful online SharePoint Project and Work Management software with the Microsoft office tools they love.  

EPM Live’s Office 365 app allows users to easily extend the power of Office 365 with EPM Live’s robust online project management software. Leverage your favorite Microsoft office applications and take them to the next level by integrating project and work management capabilities. Increase user satisfaction and productivity by allowing resources to collaborate on projects and work from their system of choice. Since EPM Live offers SharePoint-based project and work management applications, integrating with Office 365 is a no-brainer. Leverage EPM Live to extend your Office 365 SharePoint sites via the cloud, to bring global portfolio and project visibility, work management, and issue management to completion.

EPM Live‘s Office 365 App Highlights:

  • Microsoft Office 365: Easily integrate any EPM Live app with an Office 365 SharePoint List 
  • Project and Portfolio Management: Increase communication and productivity by bringing critical project data directly into Office 365. This allows users to see exactly what’s being worked on, with immediate insight into progress or potential issues. 
  • User Defined Workflows: Easily configure workflows to systematically move critical project items from Office 365 into active Projects within EPM Live. 
  • Global Visibility: Users get access to real-time information on projects, including key milestones achieved, project cost, billing and status information directly in Office 365.

 

Check it out in our App Store!

button-learnmore

 

 

Easily Support your PPM Methodology of Choice with Flexible Project Software

Selecting the Right PPM Management Approach 

EPM Live project software makes selecting a work management approach easy. A key distinction between Agile and the more traditional waterfall approach to project management is all about flexibility. So which is better – the Agile or Waterfall methodologies?  Both are very different approaches used to achieve a product in the end. Really understanding how your organization and management team functions is the key to implementing project and work methodologies within the business. Whether you are using the traditional waterfall method of project management or the agile method, EPM Live makes using one method or a combination of project management methods possible. If your organization is using or considering using Agile, EPM Live project software offers a simple yet powerful solution.

What is the waterfall method? The traditional way to build software is a life cycle commonly known as “the waterfall.” It typically begins with a detailed planning phase, where the end product is thought through, designed, and documented in detail. Once stakeholders approve the plan, the team starts to work. Once the work is completed, testing is done, modifications are made, and then the customer gets the end result. Throughout the change-resistant process, deviations from the original plan are not easily allowed.

Conversely, Agile is a philosophy which emphasizes building software that people can get their hands on quickly. Agile describes a set of principles for building software through iterative development. The Agile development method is an approach that considers learning, improving, and changing during the process of the product development. Agile development focuses on rapid iteration, with continuous customer input along the way. The most popular agile method is Scrum.  Scrum structures development in cycles of work called Iterations and Sprints. These iterations take place one after the other without pause. The Sprints end on a specific date and are never extended. The team commits to complete the items by the end of the Sprint. Every day the team gathers briefly to inspect its progress, and adjust the next steps needed to complete the work remaining. At the end of the Sprint, the team reviews the Sprint with stakeholders, and demonstrates what has been built – a finished product – meaning the software code is integrated, has been tested, and is ready to ship.

Integration of portfolio management, project management, and Agile management is possible in EPM Live. EPM Live project software offers single and bundled apps to facilitate project portfolio management, work management, and Agile management. By integrating EPM Live’s Project Portfolio Management App with the EPM Live Software Development App you can easily manage your software development projects using the waterfall approach to project management and/or the Agile iterative planning method to effectively keep track of all your projects, tasks, issues, backlog tasks, user stories, bugs, etc. You can build your own projects using the EPM Live Project Planner, Agile Planner, or Microsoft Project.  The included apps can be utilized to help monitor your software projects at a more granular level. Valuable reporting information can also be analyzed, and these reports can be used to quickly see where the money is being spent, and which features have the greatest number of issues. The included test case app within the Software Dev app allows for organized storage of all test cases in a central location for quick reference when testing and allows you to manage software development projects within the same system that is used to manage other projects.

With EPM Live by Upland, you can do the right work and do the work right with whichever project management method is best for your organization.

How do I begin? EPM Lives’ Software Development App makes using the Agile approach to software project management simple yet powerful.  Join us Tuesday, August 13th for our Tech Tuesday presentation and demonstration on how we use the Software Development (Agile) App available in EPM Live.

Tech Tuesday Webinar – Using the Software Development App (Agile) in EPM Live!

Tuesday, August 13th 
9:30am - 10:30am 

Register Now Button

SharePoint-based Project and Work Management – Intuitive, Efficient, Empowering

Choosing a Project Management Information System (PMIS) is an important step to efficiently manage project information, no matter how big or small the project. Defined by the Project Management Institute, a PMIS is a standard set of automated project management tools available within an organization and integrated into a system. Although there are many PMIS solutions on the market today, many PMIS solutions stop at project management.  in order to manage projects effectively, the project management discipline has evolved to include work management as well.  What is work management?  Work management allows you to manage your work more effectively while considering all constraints involved such as time, resources and money.  Similar to project management, work management broadens the scope to not only include projects but all other work that may affect an organization’s bottom line.  SharePoint is an example of a tool that is often used for work management and is also the world’s leading collaborative system of choice.  SharePoint can easily be extended to support projects, work and collaboration making it the perfect PMIS solution.  Before we get into the benefits of SharePoint project management, let’s take a look at the reasons you may need a PMIS solution. 

Identifying the need for a PMIS:

  • No standardized system in place for setting and tracking project goals. For example, project data tracked using excel sheets is time consuming and out dated. Excel does not automatically recalculate project information when it’s adjusted; nor does it inform project team members of any updates or changes.
  • No centralized location for tracking and collaborating on project items. Managing critical project information in disparate systems puts a road block on productivity and cuts off visibility for stakeholders. This also makes reporting challenging, timely and potentially inaccurate.
  • No Social Collaboration tools. These days, many project team members don’t reside under one roof but they still need to collaborate effectively. By solely relying on email for communication can greatly slow down the collaboration process. Today’s organization requires real-time communication tools.
  • Lacking real time reporting and accurate status updates. In most cases, using disparate systems only allows the project manager to pull data and create reports. This system is unrealistic for today’s organization. It’s time consuming, lacks real-time updates, and puts you at risk to share inaccurate information.
  • Missing the mark on strategic goals and projects. Without a standardized toolset for weighing proposed projects or tracking real-time updates and status reports, many times strategic goals and opportunities are missed.

 

If you can identify with any of the pain points listed above, this validates your need to invest in a PMIS. There are many PMIS solutions on the market today, but traditionally they are costly and can require specialized skills for implementation, configuration and maintaining the system. Also, if the system is overbearing, user adoption will be an ongoing battle. This is why smart project managers turn to SharePoint.

 

SharePoint as an “All Work” solution:

SharePoint has evolved from a simple web-based site management tool to an empowering collaboration and work management solution. SharePoint is not a single product or technology; rather it’s a collaborative solution containing several Microsoft technology components. Key components include Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS).

It was common in the early adoption years to see SharePoint implementations that were intended for content management purposes only.  Now, IT organizations are thinking outside the box.  If you must do more with less, what better way to protect your current investment and minimize costs then to leverage the same platform to bring Project Management, Product Development, Work Management and Service Management to your IT organization?

Download this free white paper to learn more about SharePoint as a Business Application

Download White Paper button

EPM Live is focused on deriving value from your SharePoint implementation by increasing revenue, reducing costs or better yet, a hybrid of both. EPM Live SharePoint-based enterprise work management solution offers the following benefits to clients.

1. All Work, One Platform

In Gartner’s latest research for the PPM (Project Portfolio Management) Magic Quadrant, Gartner mentioned that today’s PPM platforms must accommodate integrations with other platforms such as NPD (New Product Development), Service Management and ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) in order to have a competitive advantage. EPM Live is the only SharePoint-based PPM platform that not only integrates with these systems but offers all these solutions in one offering. 

EPM Live is designed to manage all work in the truest sense. Organizations can now manage their projects, their products and their services as well as all other work in one platform without the need for integration. Because all of this work is managed differently, EPM Live has SharePoint solution apps that allow each department/team the right tools they need to manage any type of work.

2. Pre-built Apps

EPM Live is the only PPM application that offers its own app store concept within the solution to ensure the users always have what they need to scale their SharePoint environment. Our free apps range from full solutions (NPD, AEC, IT Planning and Control) to process definitions (PMBOK, Agile, Prince2), to 3rd party partner apps (Nintex, Yammer, HelpDesk OSP) all the way to individual work plug-ins such as expense reports, invoices, help desk tickets, etc.

An iPhone is a powerful device; however, it is much more powerful due to the endless apps that extend its base functionality. The same goes for EPM Live, the features we offer for SharePoint are award winning and rank among the best with our competition, but our apps in addition to our base is one of our biggest differentiators.

3. Support Offerings

PPM systems are typically not simple and many times resistance follows due to forced processes, change and fear of the unfamiliar. Same goes for SharePoint.  EPM Live’s SharePoint base already contributes to less resistance and faster user adoption; however, we offer users many support formats to ensure users have what they need to continue to increase productivity with EPM Live.

EPM Live has the following support tools offered to every user:

  • Live chat
  • User forums
  • Access to knowledge base (KB)
  • Online training
  • EPM Live University
  • How to videos
  • FAQs
  • Technical blogs
  • Phone support
  • Email support

Providing your users with the tools they need to be successful is absolutely critical. 

4. The Power to Choose

Many PPM systems specialize in either online or on-premise solutions. EPM Live offers all deployment methods to support the SharePoint and PPM requirements of all of our customers. EPM Live offers online, hosted and on-premise options as well as a dedicated environment offering.

Large enterprise accounts will often run their POC online to get up and running fast and prove value quickly and then move it in-house later. Deployment options will never be a limitation.

5. All Users, All Maturities

EPM Live specializes in allowing only the functionality required to meet each user’s needs and maturity level. Marketing can leverage the simple task tools to run marketing campaigns while product teams may use more mature agile tools to plan their iterations and releases and IT PMOs can leverage full blown scheduling engines to build out their plans. Regardless of the maturity, the tools are offered in EPM Live. In addition, some teams may simply assign tasks to resources while other teams may need to forecast the resources, match skillsets, perform resource modeling scenarios and then assign a resource that meets the requirements. Each EPM Live capability has various usage scenarios to ensure every user is only using the functionality needed to match their maturity/skillset.

 

EPM Live Project Backlog App!

The EPM Live App Store provides endless value to EPM Live’s Enterprise Project and Work Management Software.

If you haven’t checked out the EPM Live Apps Marketplace you’re missing out! The store is packed with pre-built native and 3rd-party applications allowing you to easily grow your sites to manage any type of work in the enterprise.

Today we’re highlighting one of the most popular EPM Live apps, Project Backlog. The Project Backlog App allows for tracking of backlog tasks, user stories, bugs, etc. This app is incredibly helpful for those organizations who manage projects using Agile methodology, iterative planning.  The project backlog app helps you to better build project iterations, or sprints.  Easily assess which backlog items are ready for planning, then, use the EPM Live Agile Planner to assign your team members to backlog tasks, user stories, and bugs, defects, etc.  The Backlog reports show Backlog items at the various stages of planning, and completeness.

Get it now!

Project Backlog App Icon

App Features:

  • Backlog- Maintain a backlog list to effectively smooth out the product development process.
  • Excel Burn-down/up Reports- Track how much work remains in the backlog and predict when your team will achieve the goals of the sprint.
  • Backlog Planner- Manage completion of backlog items using schedule and resource allocations in the new Project Agile Planner.

projectbacklog1_grande

 

BacklogPlanner_grande

 

projectbacklog2_grande