PIH Health Implements EPM Live as their SharePoint PPM Tool

EPM Live recently sat down with Phil Fuchs, Administrative PMO Director at PIH Health to discuss the great value and impact that the EPM Live Project, Portfolio and Work Management solution provided their organization.

Watch the video below to see how PIH improved Portfolio Visibility, Team Collaboration and Resource Management with the EPM Live Platform ultimately enabling them to run 10% more projects a year!

Click here to read PIH’s solution highlight!

Overcoming Enterprise PPM Deployment Challenges

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the key element to give your business a competitive edge in today’s market. PPM allows business executives to streamline, manage and govern critical business initiatives. Project and portfolio management software has evolved now offering greater functionality and enhanced capabilities, enticing many organizations to re-evaluate their business processes and look for one centralized solution to connect all the disparate silos within the organization.

There are many factors to consider when assessing your PPM needs across your organization.  It occurs more often than not that financial constraints or time to market requirements outweigh the critical need in the project and portfolio management software selection process.   Once a system is approved, don’t get bogged down with the “we need it now mentality” and rush the process.  Avoid losing sight of the reason why a tool was needed in the first place. 

Last week we gave a webinar presentation on overcoming PPM deployment challenges. To view this on-demand webinar video click the icon below.

EPM Live has been involved in hundreds of PPM deployments over the years and we definitely see a trend in the types of challenges organizations are faced with.  Here are the top three common challenges we see organizations face when implementing a PPM tool:

#1 – One Size Does Not Fit All

One solution rarely fits the needs of all users, yet, 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.  Usability equals success in an enterprise system; the data outputs are only as good as the information going into the tool. 

# 2 – Work is Everywhere

A PPM system rarely accommodates all other work that affects 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.  Your PPM system must have the ability to manage and capture all work associated with all resources so that you can properly manage your organization’s most valuable assets… your resources. 

#3 – Incomplete Data, No Visibility

PPM systems seldom represent a complete picture, making visibility into all investments almost impossible. 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.  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 so anyone at any maturity level could create the project schedule.  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.  

To learn more about the PPM Maturity Model in this blog post, “Implementing Enterprise PPM for a Multi-maturity organization.” See how Jack in the Box was able to improve PPM maturity leveraging EPM Live in this video testimonial.

The Answers Are Now at Your Fingertips with EPM Live’s Walk Me Integration

One of my favorite new features in the EPM Live 4.3.3 release is the Walk Me integration. Walk Me is an application that allows for interactive on-screen tutorials. This helps users to quickly and easily complete even the most complex tasks.  

EPM Live has taken the Walk Me tool and customized it with our own set of walk throughs that cover basic tasks in the EPM Live application. This assists users in getting to know EPM Live. We’ve even taken it a step further and integrated Walk Me with our support desk and support community!   Now you can easily search for help in both systems without having to leave the EPM Live tool.

With a simple configuration to your EPM Live site, the Walk Me icon will show up on the bottom of the screen. Click on the search box and choose from the list of Walk Me’s that are setup to help you navigate that specific page. Click on your desired topic to launch it and follow the steps.

You may also search for items within our support community by simply typing in a search term. You’ll not only see the walk throughs that match your search criteria, but you’ll also see results from our support community.

Watch the video below for a quick demo of the integration!


EPM Live Boot Camp: Creating PPM Masterminds!

They came, they worked (hard), and they conquered. Yes our boot campers are on their way home with toned skills and smiles ready to impress colleagues with their enhanced expertise in EPM Live project management software.

We had the great pleasure of hosting our latest boot camp at our new headquarters in San Diego, California. Customers from all over the US joined us for four days of deep dive learning into the EPM Live knowledge-base. The EPM Live Site Collection Administrator (SCA) boot camp consists of hands-on workshops, product feature demonstrations, customer success stories, daily practice labs, and Q&A sessions. Our boot camps are extremely successful creating many EPM Live fans and advocates throughout organizations. Learn more about upcoming boot camps here!

This was our first time hosting the boot camp at the new EPM Live office and it was such a wonderful experience to mingle with customers during breaks and the welcome happy hour! Every Friday at EPM Live we all gather for what we call lunch and learn. We enjoy a special lunch and learn about new product releases, company announcements etc. This lunch and learn the boot campers joined us and one customer gave an outstanding presentation on how their organization is using the EPM Live platform, how it has helped them overcome pain points and their future plans about growing their solution with future releases. Her excitement about EPM Live was contagious throughout the room setting a great tone for the remainder of the boot camp.

As their time with us winded down the feedback came rolling in, here is what our customers had to say about their experience at the boot camp:

    • “Networking with colleagues about different use cases for the product sparked new ideas of how to use the tool or expand it in new ways.” 
    • “I liked, and appreciated, that our trainer was very knowledgeable about the product. Some people usually train themselves just enough to pass on the basics to the client. With EPM Live this was not the case, our instructor was very detailed oriented and took time to assist anyone who was not able to keep up with her pace during the lessons. As well as keep our attention and make learning the product fun.”
    • “The structure of the boot camp is awesome and very conducive to learning – a little instruction, a lot of hands-on, and a lab to reiterate what was learned.”
    • “Learning the system in general. I found much of the information very valuable and needed. The hands on demonstrations where the class followed along with the instructor was probably the most useful part of the week.”
    • “I liked that the size of the class. It created a more close-knit group and one that was comfortable asking questions without slowing down the process. Also the EPM Live employees welcomed us into their office and were very open and friendly. We were given lots of opportunities to interact with other members of the company, not just those specifically involved with the Boot Camp.”


Check out all the fun in this boot camp photo album! 



Interested in joining us for at an upcoming boot camp? Check out our events page to find a date and location that will work for you!


EPM Live Project Collaboration Tools for Increased Productivity

Team collaboration is important for a project’s success. It’s nearly impossible to meet project objectives without everyone’s participation. For this reason more and more project managers are looking for tools that promote team collaboration within the project software tool. EPM Live offers many collaboration tools for project teams to leverage.

Flexibility to Customize workspaces: Allow team members to personalize their sites by uploading a picture and customize their workspaces. Users are able to configure their homepages allowing them quick access to assigned work, comment streams and quick links.

Comment Streams: Support collaboration amongst colleagues by allowing them to quickly ask questions and get answers using the Activity Stream Web Part. The Comment Stream enables users to collaborate, ask questions and give answers quickly with other team members.

Ideation AppCapture ideas and turn them into real business value. Give employees the opportunity to submit ideas such as improvement to internal processes, new projects or products etc. Once an idea is submitted, every user is able to cast a vote for their favorite new idea. This allows employees to contribute to the organization in a new way and it allows management to receive ideas that may never have been presented. The Ideation app allows employees to funnel ideas through a workflow from idea to conception to project, program or product. 

Shout Outs: Praise and promote excellence within the organization. Download the Shout Outs app from the EPM Live Apps Marketplace and allow users to send each other shout outs for their hard work and achievements. Employees appreciate being recognized for their efforts and ultimately work harder to earn company wide recognition. When a shout out is created it’s announced to the entire company via email and shows up on the employee and their managers homepage.

Check out this video to learn more about EPM Live’s collaboration tools to increase user productivity!

Effective Project Software Capabilities for Maximum Resource Utilization

Successful projects involve many variables but I would argue that resources are the most important. Resources are an organizations most valuable asset and usually the largest expense. The ability to effectively plan and allocate limited resources against your entire project and work demands requires project software that provides insight and capabilities for the entire resource management life cycle. Organizations should look for project management tools that provide visibility, analysis and execution capabilities.

Resource Management capabilities to look for in project software:

Resource Capacity Planning – The process of determining the amount of resources available for projects with in the portfolio. Use tools to estimate role-based resource hours to ensure the resource plan can be fulfilled given current resource workload and availability.

Resource AllocationThe process of scheduling resources to projects based on their availability and project time.  Look for tools that help you easily assign resources to any work item and that allow resources to easily provide status updates from one centralized system.

Resource Work Management Work management is a new standard in the project management discipline. The ability to manage project tasks alone is no longer enough. In order to get a true picture of project performance, all work that affects a project portfolio must be considered. The need to maintain disparate systems to manage various types of work such as applications, products, projects and services, is no longer required. Work management brings all projects and all work together for true reporting and maximum efficiency.

Resource Collaboration – The world is going social and businesses are following suit.  Water cooler conversations are obsolete these days because social information is readily available and easily shared with a quick click of the mouse. Social Project Management is a new discipline emerging amongst organizations; it’s a non-traditional way of organizing and executing projects leveraging social networking techniques to quickly move information to distributed or virtual teams. Look for tools that encourage communication through comment streams or use project wikis and discussion boards.

Learn more about Social Project Management in this blog article or on-demand webinar.

Resource Task Management – It sounds simple but many times task data is stored in disparate systems not providing a true scope of the resources project work. Make sure your tool centralizes this data and allows for simple list creation so resources can easily share and collaborate on them.

Learn more about the Resource Management Life Cycle in this free webinar, “The Resource Management Life Cycle – Effective Planning for Maximum Utilization.”

EPM Live Platform Supports an Effective PMO

The Hackett Group released a study in early November 2012 on the failure of Project Management Offices (PMOs) as an IT strategy, read the report here.  The result of the study, which is based on benchmarks at more than 200 companies over two years, contradicts the belief that PMOs reduce IT cost.  In some cases, PMO utilization can increase cost and does not necessarily lead to drive better business outcomes.  Nevertheless, the study did show that a world-class IT organization that achieves meaningful cost savings over the long run does rely in a PMO for application development and infrastructure projects.

Most telling from the study are four key practices that were evidenced by effective PMOs in IT Organizations, namely:

“i) centralized IT demand management; ii) accountability for business benefits; iii) standardization of processes and architecture; and iv) program and project reviews”

The practices were believed to be enablers of a world-class IT organization to effectively utilize PMOs to lower the complexity in IT, increase ROI, and focus on the delivery of projects on time and on budget. While the results are not news to most executives, they do point to the need to focus on outcomes from a PMO. In order to drive outcomes, the PMO structure and tools need to be as simple as uncomplicated as possible. For the past 5 years, the emphasis of EPM Live has been to achieve simplicity and drive value for PMOs from the use of its Portfolio and Project Management (PPM) platform. Without understating the need for sound fundamental processes, the capabilities of the EPM Live PPM platform allows an organization to focus on the four key practices shown by the Hackett Group IT PMO study.

Centralized IT Demand Management

Work is generated from multiple sources in the organization.  Project, service, and support work have to be taken into account when considering resource allocation and investment decisions.  EPM Live can centralize demand from multiple sources in the organization and allow for the analysis for selecting and assigning all different types of work.  Here, the value is not only from the selection of projects on their merit, but also on the capacity of the organization to execute the work based on resource availability.

 Accountability for Business Benefits

This is perhaps the most ignored area of portfolio and project management in organizations.  Business cases often detail the benefits to be obtained from the project in terms of financial and non-financial benefits.  The main issue is post-project delivery benefit attainment tracking.  Simply put, did the project deliver its intended benefits? The PMO can support this by tracking post-delivery benefits and engaging the end customer, in most cases the business, in benefit attainment.  EPM Live provides the capability of tracking post-delivery project success.  Its cost and benefit tracking capabilities, as well as its strong collaborative features, can follow project benefits post closure.


Standardization of Process and Architecture

In most PMOs, standardization of process and architecture is common. The problem arises when process and architecture are the primary mandate for the PMO.  What can be observed from successful PMO implementations is that process and architecture need to be commensurate with the readiness of the organization for Project Management Process.  In addition, the process and methodologies must be flexible while maintaining a common foundation. Finally, the process must be supported and integrated by a PPM tool.  In this regard, the EPM Live platform supports the basic requirements.  EPM Live is flexible enough to accommodate simple and sophisticated project management processes that can evolve with an organization.  Also, the platform can easily integrate one or multiple project management /delivery methodologies, such as waterfall or agile, all under one platform.

Program and Project Reviews

The review of project performance is also a standard PMO practice; however, reporting for reporting’s sake does not provide value.  Successful program and project reviews focus on strategies to make project delivery successful.  The emphasis is on supporting rather than monitoring. Even for projects doing well, the dialogue is on anticipating future issues and overall risk mitigation.  EPM Live provides the ability for the Project Manager and execution team to collaborate and surface existing and potential project issues.  At the same time, the standard project status reporting capability allows for communication with the PMO and other stakeholders to promote effective program and project reviews from multiple perspectives.

Despite evidence of IT PMOs that struggle, IT can derive value from PMO as a strategy. IT Leadership has to focus on the right approach for the implementation of an IT PMO in the organization in order to drive the desired outcomes of less cost, reduction of complexity, and better project performance.   With EPM Live as a PPM platform, the four key practices of i) centralized IT demand management; ii) accountability for business benefits; iii) standardization of processes and architecture; and iv) program and project reviews can be achieved in order to make an IT PMO an effective strategy.

PMI-San Diego Chooses EPM Live Work Management Platform

PMI-San Diego is one of the largest local chapters of the PMI association. Founded in 1987, PMI-San Diego now has over 1,500 members and 1,000-plus credential holders. PMI-San Diego is widely known for their annual conference gathering industry leaders and professionals who want to gain knowledge, practical ideas and share techniques. PMI-San Diego’s annual Project Management conference attracts hundreds of industry professionals. This is the largest event PMI-San Diego plans and executes.

As their annual event continued to grow, PMI-San Diego identified a need for project software to better track historical data and centralizes all important details.  The conference committee is primarily made up of volunteers and in order to keep them engaged and actively participating, all the project and contact information needed to be easily accessible in one centralized platform.

Before leveraging EPM Live project software, PMI-San Diego event data was being stored in disparate work management tools such as Google Docs and Excel spreadsheets. Event contact records for volunteers, speakers and vendors were often inaccurate due to the data neither being centralized nor easily accessible. A lack of documented historical data and lessons learned resulted in time consuming rework, PMI-SD had no repeatable processes and the absence of a contingency plan. Collaboration and knowledge sharing was not efficient because documentation was neither centralized nor version controlled.

PMI-San Diego chose a QuickStart deployment putting them on an accelerated path to project management improvements. PMI-SD greatly benefitted from consolidating various systems to solely use the EPM Live project software. Able to leverage more comprehensive capabilities PMI-San Diego created global visibility for all conference committee members. Pertinent conference information is now posted to the sites homepage, also allowing users to create alerts to easily be notified of any changes. All volunteer contact information was centralized allowing the committee to always access accurate information. Workspaces were created to track and organize registration details, potential risks, tutorials, print media, marketing and other important event information. A critical part of PMI-San Diego’s system was to store detailed historical conference data. This allowed them to track, review and leverage different data to sustain the success of the annual PMI-San Diego Conference.

Read the entire PMI-San Diego case study

Social Project Management – What is it and how do you adapt?

The world is going social and businesses are following suit.  Water cooler conversations are obsolete these days because social information is readily available and easily shared with a quick click of the mouse. Social Project Management is a new discipline emerging amongst organizations; it’s a non-traditional way of organizing and executing projects leveraging social networking techniques to quickly move information to distributed or virtual teams.

In today’s project management, it is nearly impossible to meet objectives, milestones, etc. without everyone’s participation.  The bottom line is that distributed teams lose significant communication value when they are not given the appropriate tools to collaborate.  It is also a new way of thinking that empowers team accountability vs. the ownership residing on the PM alone.  It also exposes expertise within your organization.  In addition, it is traditional now, to not only have internal teams collaborate but also external teams such as customers and vendors. Social Project Management is most often enabled by the use of Collaborative software and many times that software has been inspired in part through the new social media world we live in today. It is not managing projects using social media tools.  This is a common misconception.  It is a new approach to managing projects.  

What is Social Project software for?

Social Project Management is leveraged for improved communication within one system so teams don’t have to jump around to various tools actually getting more work done. Some businesses might be afraid to use a social approach to project management because they think of Facebook and other social networking tools on the market today that allow users to discuss freely what’s going on in their life at any given time.  The reality is that knowing information about others builds trust and relationships.  Social Project Management is not managing projects with Facebook and its purpose is not to share every detail about our everyday lives; however, it is about empowering users, generating status, establishing experts and allowing others to learn. Relationship transparency can create a very positive working environment.

Overcoming Adoption Challenges:

Like any new approach or tool there are hurdles that must be overcome in order to show the value of Social Project Management. One solution rarely fits the needs of all users, but with social project management it’s about empowering teams and allowing individuals the flexibility to customize the tool(s) to work the way they work while keeping company enterprise standards. Remind stakeholders that usability equal’s success in an enterprise system; the data outputs are only as good as the information going into the tool.

EPM Live offers many online project management tools to support Social Project Management such as comment streams and user customizable dashboards. Create your own Communities with specific homepage content and customized navigation. Communities can be used for departments or groups within your organization to show relevant information. Leverage EPM Live’s ideation or shout out apps to promote communication amongst team members.

To learn more about Social Project Management watch this on-demand webinar recording on Social Project Management – Adapting to the Change.

EPM Live Launches Partner Certification Program!

I am pleased to announce that the EPM Live Partner Certification Program and Certification Exam is now available on the EPM Live University. This is a huge milestone for EPM Live, our Partners and EPM Live customers that rely on local experts to deploy EPM Live.

The cloud-based segment of PPM is forecasted to grow at a 40% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the next five years and EPM Live is ready and excited to help more organizations adopt this discipline worldwide.

There are 3 levels of Certification that our Partners can achieve. The first level is “Certified”, the second is “Silver”, and the highest level of Certification is “Gold”. Each level of certification is designed to help EPM Live Customers find qualified partners to help them succeed with the EPM Live initiatives and the higher the certification the more experience they have in deploying EPM Live technology.



If you are interested in becoming a Certified EPM Live Partner please contact Matt Wilson at mwilson@epmlive.com