Implementing a Project Management and Social Collaboration Management System- Considerations and Benefits

Most organizations today looking to implement a Project Management and Social Collaboration Management System have identified numerous business specific challenges that need resolution.  Can a Project and Work Management solution address business challenges out-of-the box?  Absolutely; however, relying on a system to do all the work will only lead to tool resistance and frustration.  You must first understand the following:

  1. What are your biggest challenges/pain points you are looking to resolve with a Project and Work Management Solution?
  2. What are the strengths of the current Project and Work Management process and/or toolset?
  3. What are the weaknesses of the current Project and Work Management process and/or toolset?

With today’s technology it IS possible to implement a system with less effort and fewer costs than ever before, but the ability to do it successfully without the proper planning is highly unlikely.  As we have shown before in previous PM maturity discussions, in order to make the technology successful you must have a balanced combination of people, processes and technology in order to improve the business.

A successful Project and Work Management solution implementation begins with identifying and understanding clearly defined goals, carefully planning the strategy to obtain those goals, and a vision to complete the goals through controlled execution.  Most organizations are already performing a tactical run the business activities when a Project and Work Management system is introduced.  By introducing strategic planning into the mix you can expect to move into a new dimension of growth and profitability for an overall competitive advantage.

What benefits can you expect to see with a Project and Work Management Solution/System?
  • Better decision making capabilities- With proper visibility into your investments along with powerful PPM analytics tools such as portfolio modeling (what-if analysis) and capacity planning, managers will have the information they need to make more informed decisions.  Through execution, as changes are introduced to your environment, real-time impacts can be analyzed and addressed.
  • Process improvements- Functionality such as stage gating, portfolio optimization and resource negotiations will help improve internal processes by backing process with technology.  Methodologies and standards can be introduced as projects are selected enforcing best practice alignment.
  • Better business results- Planning your costs and resources up front will have a big impact on execution.  Forecasting your resources based on roles, skills and availability will help ensure you have the right resources on the right tasks at the right time.  Understanding the costs anticipated with all work prior to execution will help you identify potential budget risks now and adjust spend where needed.

To realize the benefits above and to get the most out of your Project and Work Management implementation, the following considerations should be reviewed:

  1. Alignment with defined objectives and goals
  2. Deployment complexity
  3. Cost- infrastructure, deployment and training
  4. Ease of use
  5. Scalability
  6. Time to market

Take a look at what EPM Live Project and Work Management solutions can do for your organization.  EPM Live has end-to-end PPM capabilities that will take you from strategic planning to tactical execution.  EPM Live is built on the SharePoint platform so it increases ROI for a tool that you most likely already own, protecting your investment and extending the platform from a simple content management system to a full project and work management platform.  SharePoint is intuitive and easy to use; those familiar with SharePoint will leverage the same technology to manage the EPM Live application, no new investment in expertise required.  Not only can EPM Live be used for Project and Work Management, but can also be expanded to product development teams (Agile) and IT service teams, making it the most flexible Project and Work Management system on the market.  EPM Live products can be consumed online or on premise.

2014 Planning: Do The Right Work, Do The Work Right! – Free Project and Portfolio Planning White Paper

At EPM Live, we understand that the start of a New Year may bring new challenges for business leaders. Organizations continue to ask management to do more with less, all while improving portfolio sequencing and planning, reducing costs and maximizing resources. For stakeholders, realizing the critical importance of Project and Portfolio Management discipline and leveraging the right tools will give those organizations a competitive advantage in today’s market.

Project Portfolio Management is a critical discipline needed to empower executives to make critical business decisions with confidence. Achieving competitive advantage means choosing the right projects to drive the business toward its strategic objectives. You must understand which projects deliver the highest ROI while maximizing your company’s resources.  Gathering the right information for your portfolio can take the complexity out of large decisions. A profitable portfolio leads to a profitable company.

For the average business, Portfolio Planning may be a process well beyond their organizational maturity; however, it is a major component that should not be overlooked in order to increase the probability of reaching 2014 objectives.  The structure in which you execute this discipline may indeed vary depending on maturity, but the basic steps can be followed regardless of the complexity of the processes behind them.

Before we dive into the key steps to portfolio planning, there are several essentials that need to be addressed.  First of all, why define a portfolio?  Organizations will always have projects, they will always have limited resources and they will always need to meet business objectives in order to remain a successful business.  If you are not implementing the RIGHT projects and work to meet strategic objectives, the value you are bringing to the business may be much smaller than its potential.  In today’s marketplace, businesses must bring maximum value to survive.  To read more, please download the attached white paper. 

Download Your Free Portfolio Planning White Paper!

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

Project Portfolio Management: Metrics to Consider for Continued PPM Success

Correctly managing project and work within the enterprise is a difficult task for any organization. Strategically planning for continued success in a recovering market is also difficult but critical. By leveraging project portfolio management tools, organizations are better able to ensure the right investments are being made.

Every day EPM Live works with customers to ensure these decisions are as simple as possible.  Here are a few metrics to consider when determining which projects and work bring the most value to your business:

  • Will the project/work bring additional revenue to the business?
  • Will the project/work bring quality improvement to the business?
  • Will the project/work help the business expand into new markets?
  • Will the project/work generate cost reductions?
  • Will the project/work expand current customer base?
  • Will the project/work reduce risks to the business?
  • Will the project/work reduce time to market or cycle times?
  • Are resources with the right skillset available to implement the project/work?
  • Will the project/work increase customer satisfaction?
  • Will the project/work increase employee satisfaction?
  • Will the project/work increase ROI (return on investment)?
  • Will the project/work represent a change in NPV (net present value)?
  • Will the project/work increase IRR (internal rate of return)?

There are no right or wrong metrics in determining which projects and work bring the most value to your organization but there is no reason to reinvent the wheel completely.  Leverage best practices and internal governance already in place to make this complex task more feasible.  Leverage a Portfolio Management/Decision Tool (such as EPM Live project software) that supports your current processes and that is flexible enough to customize to fit your needs!

 

Portfolio Management Made Easy for Smart IT Investments

Project portfolio management (PPM) is an important driving success factor for any company juggling multiple projects. Leveraging the right project software supports PPM by providing the framework and best practice tools needed to manage competing projects. PPM also provides executives with a global view of the portfolio allowing them to make informed strategic decisions.

Portfolio management is an ideal best practice that all organizations should leverage. Although at first this discipline can seem complicated and cumbersome, by leveraging the right project management tools it can be made easy.

Before we dive into the essential steps of Portfolio Management, there is one question that must be understood; why define a portfolio? Organizations will always have projects, they will always have limited resources and they will always need to meet business objectives in order to remain a successful Enterprise. If you are not implementing the RIGHT projects and work to meet strategic objectives, the value you are bringing to the business may be much smaller than its potential. In today’s competitive marketplace, businesses must bring maximum value to survive.

Here are 10 critical steps for portfolio management success:

Step 1: Identify Portfolio Items

Determine what project/work you would like to implement. This is not an individual effortwork and projects will most likely be identified by many in the organization.

Step 2: Define Portfolio Items

For this pre-selection round you will need to define enough information to establish value of the given initiative. Description/business case, benefits, strategic alignment, and risk tolerance are all factors to be considered for this step. Keep in mind some of the key evaluation metrics that we discussed above.

Step 3: Evaluate Portfolio Items

Once all of your items are entered into the Portfolio, it is time to evaluate them. This can be done through a variety of methods. For example, you may leverage a formula for rating your items against each other to determine which item will bring the most value, the least amount of risk, align best with your resources and provide the best alignment with your organization’s strategic objectives. Rating and scoring is a common Portfolio Management practice for portfolio selection. You may also introduce What-if Modeling to view various models and conditions should you approve a given portfolio.

Step 4: Select your Portfolio

Based on the evaluation step you will determine which items bring the most value to your organization. Once your key portfolio items have been selected, you will be entering one last evaluation stage prior to approving your portfolio.

Step 5: Reassess Portfolio

In this stage it is common for more detailed information to be added to the portfolio/work items. This stage allows the portfolio team to re-evaluate the items based on additional information such as a high level cost plan and/or resource plan.

Step 6: Approve Portfolio

Once the portfolio selection team has had time to reassess the portfolio based on further portfolio information, the approval process can begin. The approved items then go into an execution stage and is handed off to the project team for execution.

Step 7: Portfolio Item Transition to Projects or Work Initiatives

The approved portfolio items are then promoted to projects or work initiatives and are moved to the execution phase. At this point a Project Manager will be assigned if one has not been assigned already.

Step 8: Portfolio Communication, Performance Tracking and Reporting

Portfolio Management does not end with portfolio selection and approval. It is now time to track the performance of your portfolio. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be used to visualize status and track progress. For examples of useful Portfolio Management reports click here.

Step 9: Portfolio Change Management

At any point in the Portfolio Management life cycle, new project requests/portfolio items can be introduced. In addition to new requests, current approved items in execution can be affected by unexpected risks or unforeseen environmental factors leading to project cancellation. The change management step will be ongoing throughout the life cycle of your portfolio and is critical to its overall success.

Step 10: Begin at Step 1

As new portfolio items are introduced, start over at step 1.

 

Critical Success Factors to keep in mind:

  1. Keep it simple – keep processes uncomplicated
  2. Define simple initial analytics for tracking
  3. Keep focus on users
  4. Do not run before you can walk, too much tooling to quickly can result negatively
  5. Don’t over-optimize the portfolio – just because you try to squeeze a pot of gold out of a rainbow doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Make smart, strategic decisions.

Extend Microsoft Project into a Complete SharePoint Project and Work Management Application

Microsoft Project is a powerful application that many organizations have adopted and deployed to centralize and manage their project schedules. It has a robust back-end that allows the storing of enterprise resources, field attributes, field calculations, and more. Although Microsoft Project is a powerful solution, most organizations find that where there are projects, there is also other work that affects the same resources.  So how do Project users extend their project platform to include all other work that needs to be managed within the organization while also expanding the use to a broader audience allowing them to maximize their return on investment?  Leverage what you already own (SharePoint and Microsoft Project) and integrate with EPM Live’s project software for complete SharePoint project and work management. This integration allows organizations to take advantage of all the features Microsoft Project has to offer for schedule management, and tie it together nicely with a flexible SharePoint Project Management solution that enables them to manage not only their entire project lifecycle but all of their other work as well.  EPM Live combined with Microsoft Project’s technology caters to all users, all work and all processes making any Project deployment the most flexible and robust system available today.  In addition to task management for all work, you can also leverage many other project disciplines such as time management (timesheets), resource management, cost management, collaboration and business intelligence and expand those disciplines to all other areas of the business as well.  After all, the value of project management has been proven, why not extend that value to all work within your organization for maximized efficiency and productivity.  

See how easy it is to combine EPM Live and Microsoft Project in this on-demand Tech Tuesday webinar.

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EPM Live was designed to leverage the powerful capabilities of Microsoft Project such as schedule management and extend the same value-driven concepts to all areas of the business whether it’s traditional projects or the other work that surrounds them, all within one centralized platform.  Microsoft Project users can maximize their return on investment and reduce cost and risk with minimal disruption to their existing processes by leveraging pre-configured SharePoint project management templates that best suit any project and work management need.  Project Managers continue to use Microsoft Project without any new training or change to their process. Directly accessible from EPM Live, teams can share all work assignments, priorities, and critical dates with an effective and easy to use collaboration tool, to increase communication and productivity across their projects. EPM Live’s project software enables organizations to work better together and allows Microsoft Project to reach a broader audience and meet the needs of the entire project team.    

In addition, different types of departments may manage their projects with varying methodologies using EPM Live’s pre-built applications.  Organizations accelerate their Microsoft Project deployments and augment Project’s enterprise project types, allowing them to scale to enterprise wide deployments. For example, Software Development Department may use SCRUM methodology whereas the Program Office Department may opt for PMBOK.

EPM Live allows teams to truly understand and manage all the work around a project. By connecting Project with EPM Live, organizations have the ability to manage the entire lifecycle of the project in one centralized location. Each EPM Live deployment comes complete with pre-built applications and a rich set of features and capabilities to help teams effectively monitor, manage, control and execute on all critical business items such as projects, issues, changes, and everyday work actions that impact their projects bottom line. Team members can easily view and update all their activities across projects within one view. Functional managers finally have the visibility to what their resources are working on including all activities, not just the assignments within the Microsoft Project schedule.   Teams can simply work better together with Microsoft Project and EPM Live.

For more information on EPM Live’s features, please click here.  

The Importance of Understanding User Maturity When Implementing New Project Software

When analyzing the decision to implement a new project software to improve enterprise PPM (Project and Portfolio Management) system, user maturity levels should be a serious consideration of the new project software.

In order to make a deployment successful you must know and understand your audience:

- Who will be using the project software?

- What challenges are the users facing with their current processes and toolsets?

- What benefits are expected out of the project software for each of the user roles?

- What capabilities are needed to ensure this application will meet the user’s needs?

- Where does each user fall in organizational project management maturity?

Organizational readiness is a critical factor in implementing a new project software system and will essentially make or break your deployment success. Let’s take a look at all the areas where maturity can be measured.

For more information, download this Free white paper

 Project, Portfolio Management (PPM) for the Enterprise – Whose System is it Anyway?

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Users

There is more to project software design then just defining the various roles in your organization. You must also understand the functions that each role plays in the business as well as what tools and processes are being leveraged to execute them. There are many maturity models available to help you determine where your organization and users reside in project management maturity. I tend to prefer the maturity model published by Gartner for PPM Maturity.

Maturity can be measured by the tools and processes currently in place as well as the disciplines supported by them. Again, the faster you move up in maturity, the more risks you will introduce. When implementing a new project software system it is always a good idea to start with a transfer of the current processes. For example, if a user is managing their resources through a list of projects found in an excel worksheet; transfer that same process into the new toolset. If the user expresses that the same process is also one of their core challenges, make adjustments to that process where needed but start at the same level of process maturity within the PPM application. As users become familiar with the toolset, it will be appropriate to mature their processes as well as adopt new functionality within the project software system. User readiness is crucial. Forcing your users to utilize a tool that leverages unfamiliar disciplines and processes will only result in user frustration, low user adaption and overall rejection of a critical investment. Don’t expect to implement a project software system that will leverage the same functionality for every user; instead, implement a flexible and scalable system that will accommodate all users and allow them to improve their productivity through gradual maturity progression.

It is wise to not only determine current organizational readiness and maturity but also define a roadmap to ensure your organization has a plan for improving overall maturity to gain better control and management of all project and operational investments.

 

Capabilities

Similar to users, there are multiple levels of maturity found in system capabilities. As you define the processes that are currently in place for your users, the capability maturity will also be revealed. Let’s take a look at some of the common PPM capabilities that will be defined in your project software system.

 

Portfolio Management

Portfolio management includes both the discipline of identifying and selecting the RIGHT projects for your portfolio as well as the ability to effectively manage your portfolio of projects once they have entered the execution phase. Although portfolio selection is critical, many organizations begin with project execution or the managing of project schedules long before they consider the benefits of portfolio selection. Identifying the right projects for your business may include processes such as determining business objective alignment, identifying risk probability, resource and cost planning, and project portfolio scenario modeling. For the execution level user, portfolio management may simply be portfolio visibility across all projects and work. Visibility into project status, resources and costs generates awareness and will help prevent unforeseen risk to maintain a healthy portfolio. Questions that will help determine portfolio management maturity may include:

- Will this project software help you manage potential projects?

- What kind of information is required to accept or approve a project?

- What is the process for moving projects from proposal to execution?

- What project and work data must be seen across your portfolio to ensure a healthy portfolio?

 

Project Management

Projects and work will be the core of your project software system. Project management maturity is a critical factor in determining what tools should be implemented and to what level of functionality. Don’t be surprised if you end up spending the bulk of your design session answering the following question: How do you define a project? Most organizations function at a low maturity level. Maturity can be measured by the processes already in place within your PMO or across your projects. For example, are processes clearly defined or are they ad hoc? Do users use the same tool consistently or is everyone on their own when determining what tool works best for them? It is important here to understand what type of projects and work will be handled in the PPM system and how that work will be defined. Will you manage that work at the task level, the milestone level, or will projects be entered and tracked at the project level? Imagine filling out a document or project charter regarding your upcoming work. What questions need to be answered and what data needs to be defined? Once you have clearly identified the information that must be captured for all your projects, define what processes will take place to execute on them. How will you manage changes, issues and risks? The level of project detail and the depth of your processes will help determine maturity and corresponding functionality that should be introduced to the business within the project software platform.

 

Schedule Management

In the last discipline area of project management you determined whether or not your projects will be detailed to the task level or will be managed at the project level only. If you determined that they will be managed at the task level, schedule management is the next necessary topic for design. This area is critical because we all work differently. Many PPM tools give you one scheduling option. This could be a point of failure for many organizations. Which user maturity level will the scheduling tool accommodate? For those that fall above or below that particular maturity level, what tool will they use? User adoption is the only answer for a successful PPM system. Every user must have the tools necessary to manage their work at their level of comfort. If I’m a Marketing Director who needs to maintain a simple list of campaigns, there is no question that I will need a different scheduling tool than a Construction Manager who needs to manage the build of a new hospital to code.

 

Resource Management

Resource management can mean many things. Let’s take a look at the various ways resource management can be applied to your project software tool. There is much more to this discipline than simply assigning work to a resource. We’ll take it from the bottom up. A task or work is put into the system and a resource is assigned. The resource goes into the system, views his/her work, executes on the work and marks it as 100% complete. Some organizations stop here in the practice of resource management, but there are many more levels to reveal. How do you know which resource is available to work on the task? How do you know if they have the right skill set? Let’s now work from the top town. A project has been defined and you need to build a resource plan against it. You don’t know who is available or who has the proper expertise but you do know what role you need. You schedule 5 developers over the next 3 months to work on this project. Now you want to see which developers meet the requirements of your project. The PPM tool must be able to accommodate your method of resource management, whether the bottom up or top down approach, or both.

 

Cost Management

Let’s move on to cost management. The following questions should be considered when determining cost management needs for your project software system. At what level do you plan your project budget: project or task? This again will help you determine where the budget data will be entered into the tool. What types of costs must be tracked? For example, do you only want to track the costs associated with resources, or also other project costs such as purchases, expenses, materials, subcontractors, overhead, etc.? If the answer to this question is expenses, you may want to design an expense form used to track expenses and apply against your project’s financials. If your organization isn’t prepared to exercise cost management at the task or work level, don’t. Start where you are now and then mature your processes as you adapt to the tool. A system that houses partial data can lead to poor decision making. How will you know what decisions are necessary when you don’t have the visibility to see where you currently are with your costs?

 

Tracking and Controlling

Tracking and controlling is important because it not only defines the data to be tracked but the process for how it will be tracked within the system. For example, do you want team members to supply detailed progress information about their assignments? If so, you may want to allow team members the ability to go into their tasks and enter percent complete. Then, the updates can automate back into your schedule to save time and improve efficiency.

Are you looking to include timesheets in your project software system or are you looking to integrate your current timesheet system? If you do want to include timesheets in the system you will want to make sure that it has been configured to include the proper categories needed to reflect your business needs. If you were reporting actual hours worked on a weekly basis against projects, would you complete your time entry daily or do it at the end of the week? This response is also needed to help define your timesheet configuration.

What work do you want to track? Is there a requirement to identify and track changes in scope or other issues when project status changes? If the answer is yes, you may want to define attributes needed for a change request list/log so project owners can easily adapt to those changes and adjust their costs, schedules and resources accordingly. Do you have a requirement to track project issues and risks? Is there a requirement to track other work items that need to be considered when managing your projects and resources such as service requests, action items, etc.? Again, data capture must take place for ALL work that affects your costs, resources and/or schedule.

 

Reporting and Business Intelligence

Now that we have addressed the main content needed for project and work definition and management, let’s take a look at some of the outputs that may be considered in your project software system design. Some questions to consider are:

- Do you have reports that you use today that are used for analysis or decision making?

- Do you currently have a requirement to generate a weekly/monthly status report?

- Do you have any standard reports required for your projects?

- What type of information would be useful when viewing project status?

The answers to these questions will help you determine what reports and dashboards are necessary to ensure you are getting the outputs required to maximize ROI and optimize value of your PPM and work management system.

As you can imagine, there are many more questions that can be asked to help you define a detailed business-specific design that is right for your organization. Other areas that must be considered in design include integration, demand management, workflow and governance and general collaboration needs. As questions are answered and more questions are generated, make sure you are considering every user and every maturity level. The level in which you capture data can vary, but ensuring that the system is built to make it easy to capture data COMPLETELY, across all projects and work, is critical for visibility and accuracy.

The Essential Steps to SharePoint Project Portfolio Management

SharePoint is undoubtedly the most popular collaboration platform on the market. Many organizations are thinking outside the box and extending its capabilities into a complete SharePoint project management tool. By extending SharePoint with project software like EPM Live, you are empowering the organization to create a complete end-to-end project portfolio and work management solution. This allows for better business decision making by analyzing demand against capacity, identifying optimal sequencing and ensuring all business investment objectives are being met for the most profitable portfolio. 

Many organizations are realizing the importance of a critical step in the Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) discipline – Portfolio Planning. For the average business, Portfolio Planning may be a process well beyond their organizational maturity; however, it is a major component that should not be overlooked in order to increase the probability of reaching 2013 objectives. The structure in which you execute this discipline may indeed vary depending on maturity, but the basic steps can be followed regardless of the complexity of the processes behind them.

Before we dive into the essential steps to Portfolio Management, there is one question that must be understood; why define a portfolio? Organizations will always have projects, they will always have limited resources and they will always need to meet business objectives in order to remain a successful business. If you are not implementing the RIGHT projects and work to meet strategic objectives, the value you are bringing to the business may be much smaller than its potential. In today’s competitive marketplace, businesses must bring maximum value to survive.

 

10 Essential Steps to Portfolio Management

Once you have a process down for defining, selecting and executing your portfolio, you are ready for the essential steps to Portfolio Management. Before we get into the actual steps, we need to make sure that the following assumptions are true:

1. The organization’s Executive Management is onboard with the Portfolio Management Plan

2. All proposed projects and work efforts will be evaluated for inclusion into the Portfolio

3. The appropriate skilled staff is available to manage the Portfolio

4. All Portfolio Management processes have been defined

5. A standard tool (across the organization) is being used for Portfolio Management Planning

 

There are many published standards and white papers for achieving portfolio management within your organization. For the purposes of this blog, we will be defining the 10 most essential steps based on our implementation experience over the last 12 years. More mature organizations will introduce additional steps into the process. Let’s get started:

Step 1: Identify Portfolio Items

Determine what project/work you would like to implement. This is not an individual effort; work and projects will most likely be identified by many in the organization.

Step 2: Define Portfolio Items

For this pre-selection round you will need to define enough information to establish value of the given initiative. Description/business case, benefits, strategic alignment, and risk tolerance are all factors to be considered for this step. Keep in mind some of the key evaluation metrics that we discussed above.

Step 3: Evaluate Portfolio Items

Once all of your items are entered into the Portfolio, it is time to evaluate them. This can be done through a variety of methods. For example, you may leverage a formula for rating your items against each other to determine which item will bring the most value, the least amount of risk, align best with your resources and provide the best alignment with your organization’s strategic objectives. Rating and scoring is a common Portfolio Management practice for portfolio selection. You may also introduce What-if Modeling to view various models and conditions should you approve a given portfolio.

Step 4: Select your Portfolio

Based on the evaluation step you will determine which items bring the most value to your organization. Once your key portfolio items have been selected, you will be entering one last evaluation stage prior to approving your portfolio.

Step 5: Reassess Portfolio

In this stage it is common for more detailed information to be added to the portfolio/work items. This stage allows the portfolio team to re-evaluate the items based on additional information such as a high level cost plan and/or resource plan.

Step 6: Approve Portfolio

Once the portfolio selection team has had time to reassess the portfolio based on further portfolio information, the approval process can begin. The approved items then go into an execution stage and is handed off to the project team for execution.

Step 7: Portfolio Item Transition to Projects or Work InitiativesThe approved portfolio items are then promoted to projects or work initiatives and are moved to the execution phase. At this point a Project Manager will be assigned if one has not been assigned already.

Step 8: Portfolio Communication, Performance Tracking and Reporting

Portfolio Management does not end with portfolio selection and approval. It is now time to track the performance of your portfolio. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be used to visualize status and track progress. For examples of useful Portfolio Management reports click here.

Step 9: Portfolio Change Management

At any point in the Portfolio Management life cycle, new project requests/portfolio items can be introduced. In addition to new requests, current approved items in execution can be affected by unexpected risks or unforeseen environmental factors leading to project cancellation. The change management step will be ongoing throughout the life cycle of your portfolio and is critical to its overall success.

Step 10: Begin at Step 1

As new portfolio items are introduced, start over at step 1.

Learn more about defining, selecting and executing your portfolio in this Free White Paper

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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

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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.