The Resource Management Life Cycle- Effective Planning for Maximum Utilization

Employees are the most valuable asset and the biggest expense for most organizations. Any organization that fails to manage their resources to ensure that sufficient capacity is available, and that they are being assigned and managed efficiently, risks losing control of its project and work costs and having its business activities seriously constrained. The ability to deploy employees effectively against often conflicting projects and other work priorities enables organizations to optimize their return on human resource investments. In order to maximize both task throughput and company morale, resource and project managers need an efficient system to place the appropriate staff on the right teams at the right time.

Before we get into all the various levels of resource management, let’s touch on the basics.  What is resource management?  Wikipedia defines resource management as “the efficient and effective deployment of an organization’s resources when they are needed.”

The term “resources” does not always refer to human resources, but all resources that need to be considered when scheduling a project activity.  For the purpose of this blog I’m going to be referring to the management process for human resources and the five levels within it. 

Unlike some project management processes, in order to complete the resource management life cycle, all resources must play a role. Each part of the life cycle could be owned by a different stakeholder and will vary from organization to organization. 

  • Executive Management will play a key role in identifying and selecting the RIGHT work and projects for the organization to execute. In many cases, Executive Management will only be involved in resource management from a reporting and analytics standpoint. For example, which projects and work to include in the business portfolio based on resource management metrics and data?

  • The PMO will be in charge of inputting resource data into the resource management tool. The PMO will play a key role in the first two steps in the resource management life cycle including planning resource roles and identifying which resources will fill them. 

  • The Project Manager will be involved primarily with execution rather than the planning stage of resource management. Once the resources are assigned, the project manager will be accountable for resource performance.

  • The Project Team’s role is to collaborate with each other to foster a positive team environment. Shared knowledge and expertise will be a critical factor in delivering work successfully.

  • The team member’s main role will be to get the work done!

 

Let’s take a look at the full resource management life cycle. As you can see in the graphic, this is a top down approach to managing your resources. To truly accomplish full resource management within your organization, all areas must be considered and accommodated. That being said, it is always wise to consider organizational maturity as it relates to resource management to ensure you are adopting the right amount of discipline and functionality at the right pace to ensure you are not introducing unnecessary risks.

By the way, it is very common for users within your organization to be at different levels of maturity. One of the most important aspects of implementing and executing a new tool or discipline is that you understand your audience and their needs as well as their current processes in place to ensure that new technologies introduced will be easily adapted.

Resource Capacity Planning

 

Capacity planning helps to ensure that resource capacity meets current and future business requirements in a cost-effective manner. In the Capacity planning stage you will need to identify all the roles needed for the given project or work effort at hand. For example, which organizations or departments will be involved in your project? This will help you establish the structure for your project, potentially establish how your tasks will be organized, and even identify security constraints. 

What disciplines and skill sets are required to complete your project? Without the proper skill sets and expertise particular tasks may require more training, longer term times, possibly even result in rework. Effective resource management relies on the fact that these factors have all been considered prior to selecting your resources. Once you have determined your generic roles, you will need to determine the quantity of each role needed as well as the timeframe. 

As this information is obtained, you will then be ready to analyze your plan, make adjustments and prepare for actual named assignments.

 

Resource Allocation

Now it’s time to assign your team. Before we do, we must look at all the factors involved in this process. Who is available and when? What competencies or expertise do the resources possess? Have they worked on a similar project in the past and if so how well did they perform? Are they interested in working on the defined project and finally how much will it cost to obtain the resources for the project? 

In addition to the environmental factors, a roles and responsibilities document should be completed prior to assigning resources. An organization chart will also aid in this process when determining the resource assignments and when viewing the preliminary project schedule to see when each resource is needed and for how long. In many cases, the project team members are known in advance. In other instances, you may need to be prepared to enter a negotiation process with functional managers or maybe even other project managers, should the resource be currently working on other projects. In this case, project priorities and benefits may be weighed to determine which project has the greater need for the requested resource. 

In many cases, if project teams are already over allocated, there may be a need to consider acquiring resources from a 3rd party vendor or consulting firm. You may also consider whether or not having a virtual team will be adequate for your resource management needs. After resources are assigned and confirmed, you will need to be prepared to manage all future changes that could potentially come into play to ensure your plan is flexible and scalable to handle unexpected shifts in resource demand and allocation.

Resource Work Management

 

Resource Work Management is an ongoing process in the resource management life cycle that begins with allocation and ends at the completion of the final project or work deliverable. This stage in the life cycle is typically managed by the project manager. This process includes managing all assignments, tracking team member performance, providing project feedback and status, resolving issues and risks, and coordinating changes to enhance project performance. 

All of these tools necessary for project execution and management are also essential to your resources. As with any work or project deliverable, time, resources and costs must all be considered together in order to effectively and successfully deliver a project.

Resource Collaboration

 

Resource collaboration is a key practice in the way we work today.  Working together on work deliverables allows us to streamline our work, deliver services, and increase overall productivity across the organization. It’s simple math really, more experienced resources working together equals less time. Resource collaboration is a critical stage in resource management.

If your resources aren’t communicating and they aren’t working towards a shared understanding of goals, carefully putting together a resource plan pre-execution will be less productive. Resources must communicate in order to keep projects and work on track. When defining the tools to implement for resource management, ease of use and flexibility are essential to ensure high user adaption and effective collaboration.

 

Resource Task Management

  

The last level of the resource management life cycle focuses on those accountable for individual work items. We all have project work or various work items that we must complete and most likely that work is combined with our own personal to do list as well. In order to be the most productive, resources need a tool that will handle all of their work tasks and any personal tasks they may have in one location. Resources must be able to gather their work, update their work, and monitor all related work and dependencies in one system.

 

 

Project Management Tools- 5 Steps to Resource Management

Implementing project management tools in a resource constrained environment is essential for PPM success.  So how do you ensure successful resource management within your SharePoint project management environment?  Simple, have a plan, and leverage best practices.  Following the resource management life cycle below will give you the head start you need to gain control over your resources!

Employees are the most valuable asset and the biggest expense for most organizations. Any organization that fails to manage their resources to ensure that sufficient capacity is available, and that they are being assigned and managed efficiently, risks losing control of its project and work costs and having its business activities seriously constrained. The ability to deploy employees effectively against often conflicting projects and other work priorities enables organizations to optimize their return on human resource investments. In order to maximize both task throughput and company morale, resource and project managers need an efficient system to place the appropriate staff on the right teams at the right time.

Let’s take a look at the full resource management life cycle. As you can see in the graphic below, this is a top down approach to managing your resources. To truly accomplish full resource management within your organization, all areas must be considered and accommodated. That being said, it is always wise to consider organizational maturity as it relates to resource management. This ensures you are adopting the right amount of discipline and functionality at the right pace to ensure you are not introducing unnecessary risks.

It is very common for users within your organization to be at different levels of maturity. One of the most important aspects of implementing and executing a new tool or discipline is that you understand your audience, their needs and their current processes in place today, to ensure that new technologies introduced will be easily adapted.

Resource Management Life Cycle

 

Step 1 – Resource Capacity Planning

Capacity planning helps to ensure that resource capacity meets current and future business requirements in a cost-effective manner. In the Capacity planning stage you will need to identify all the roles needed for the given project or work effort at hand. For example, which organizations or departments will be involved in your project? This will help you establish the structure for your project, potentially establish how your tasks will be organized, and even identify security constraints. What disciplines and skill sets are required to complete your project? Without the proper skill sets and expertise particular tasks may require more training, longer term times, possibly even result in rework. Effective resource management relies on the fact that these factors have all been considered prior to selecting your resources. Once you have determined your generic roles, you will need to determine the quantity of each role needed as well as the timeframe. As this information is obtained, you will then be ready to analyze your plan, make adjustments and prepare for actual named assignments. 

Resource Capacity Planning

Step 2 – Resource Allocation

Now it’s time to assign your project team. Before we do, we must look at all the factors involved in this process. Who is available and when are they available? What competencies or expertise do the resources possess? Have they worked on a similar project in the past and if so how well did they perform? Are they interested in working on the defined project and finally how much will it cost to obtain the resources for the project? In addition to the environmental factors a roles and responsibilities document should be completed prior to assigning resources. An organization chart will also aid in this process when determining the resource assignments and when viewing the preliminary project schedule to see when each resource is needed and for how long. In many cases, the project team members are known in advance. In other instances, you may need to be prepared to enter a negotiation process with functional managers or maybe even other project managers, should the resource be currently working on other projects. In this case, project priorities and benefits may be weighed to determine which project has the greater need for the requested resource. In many cases, if project teams are already over allocated, there may be a need to consider acquiring resources from a 3rd party vendor or consulting firm. You may also consider whether or not having a virtual team will be adequate for your resource management needs. After resources are assigned and confirmed, you will need to be prepared to manage all future changes that could potentially come into play to ensure your plan is flexible and scalable to handle unexpected shifts in resource demand and allocation.

Resource Allocation

 Step 3 – Resource Work Management

Resource Work Management is an ongoing process in the resource management life cycle that begins with allocation and ends at the completion of the final project or work deliverable. This stage in the life cycle is typically managed by the project manager. This process includes managing all assignments, tracking team member performance, providing project feedback and status, resolving issues and risks, and coordinating changes to enhance project performance. All of these tools necessary for project execution and management are also essential to your resources. As with any work or project deliverable, time, resources and costs must all be considered together in order to effectively and successfully deliver a project.

 Resource Work Management

Step 4 – Resource Collaboration

Resource collaboration is a key practice in the way organizations work today. Working together to deliver project and work deliverables that otherwise may not be reached by working alone, allows organizations to streamline work, deliver services and increase overall productivity across the organization. Resource collaboration is a critical stage in resource management. If your resources aren’t communicating and they aren’t working towards a shared understanding of goals, carefully putting together a resource plan pre-execution will be less productive. Resources must communicate in order to keep projects and work on track. When defining the tools to implement for resource management, ease of use and flexibility are essential to ensure high user adaption and effective collaboration.

 Resource Collaboration

Step 5 – Resource Task Management

The last level of the resource management life cycle focuses on those accountable for individual work items. We all have project work or various work items that we must complete and most likely that work is combined with our own personal to do list as well. In order to be the most productive, resources need a tool that will handle all of their work tasks and any personal tasks they may have in one location. In EPM Live you can do just that. Gather your work, update your work and monitor all related work and dependencies in one system.

Resource Task Management

 

Free white paper: The Resource Management Life Cycle

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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!

Resource Management Using SharePoint Project Management

Leveraging the right project management tools is imperative to successfully completing projects. One of the most difficult segments of a project is managing resources. Employees are the most valuable asset and the biggest expense for most organizations. The ability to deploy employees effectively against conflicting projects and other work priorities enables organizations to maximize their return on resource investments. Understand which projects and types of work are consuming your most valuable resources and effectively realign your staffing plan based on changing priorities and budgets.

EPM Live SharePoint project management offers the following capabilities to successfully manage resources.

Assign Resources to Any Project or Work Item: Assign resources to all work and send automated notifications to alert resources of their assignments. Resources can status their work items from one location for increased productivity and enhanced usability.

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

Flexible Resource Management Tools: Leverage Microsoft Project or WorkEngine’s online project planner to easily populate resource plans. Leverage built-in resource management tools to view current workload prior to making resource decisions on new assignments.

Resource Capacity Planning: Create resource capacity plans to get a true picture of resource demand across all work. Estimate role-based resource hours to ensure the resource plan can be fulfilled given current resource workload and availability.

Resource Requirements and Matching: Create resource requirements and compare resource availability to identify resource shortages and surpluses. Easily match available resources to resource requirements to ensure the right resources are assigned to the right work at the right time.

What-if Resource Modeling: Define resource plans for proposed projects and work and analyze the plans against current resource capacity. Leverage intuitive color-coded heat maps to view over allocations and modify dates and sequencing to define the most optimal portfolio.

Resource Analyzer: Leverage PortfolioEngine’s resource analyzer to view resource workload across all work, view resource availability by time-phase, perform what-if analysis on resource workload and availability, and group resources by attributes such as department, skill and role.

Resource Reporting and Dashboards: Gain valuable insight into resource assignments by accessing PortfolioEngine’s out-of-box resource reports. Leverage workload and availability reports to analyze resource data and performance. Create customized views and dashboards for business-specific resource reporting needs.

Resource Negotiations: The EPM Live Resource Negotiations feature brings sophisticated insight to any business by allowing project managers and resource (department) managers to collaboratively manage resource assignments via a data-driven negotiation process. 

Learn more about resource management using SharePoint project management in this on-demand webinar. 

Effective Resource Management using SharePoint

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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.

EPM Live SharePoint-based PPM and Enterprise Work Management Just Got Better!

As a forward thinking company, EPM Live continues to enhance our SharePoint-based PPM and Enterprise Work Management solutions with cutting-edge features.

If you’re not familiar with EPM Live, take the time to get acquainted with us, we’ve been waiting for you! You’ll find we’re the yin to your yang, we put the pep in your step, and we take employees and make them project management superstars in their workplace.

EPM Live is the leading enterprise work management and PPM platform based on Microsoft™ SharePoint. It extends cost-saving disciplines such as delivering products successfully, optimizing resource utilization, and selecting the right work to all areas of the business.

With a little hard work and dedication to creating the best tool on the market, we’re excited to share this updated solution overview and demo video. Learn about our exciting company changes and take a tour of our hottest new features!

 

2013 has been an exciting year so far, I can’t wait to share more updates from future releases! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for all our latest company updates.

Try a free trial today!

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Morehouse School of Medicine Improves Project Efficiency with EPM Live PPM Solution

A PPM implementation can be a daunting task but with the right solution and consultants your process should be streamlined to success.

EPM Live valued Partner and widely respected project and portfolio implementation consultancy firm, Cobblestone Consulting, successfully completed an implementation of the EPM Live PPM and Work Management solution with Morehouse School of Medicine. With their new PPM system, Morehouse School of Medicine was able to improve project efficiency by creating better visibility into strategic initiatives and resource management.

Taking into consideration Morehouse School of Medicine’s PMO requirements for collaboration, Cobblestone Consulting implemented a two-phased solution:  1) Framework which allows their leadership to optimize their portfolio against financial, strategic and risk evaluation criteria 2) Deployment of a higher education project portfolio management solution that will:

  • Align planning strategy
  • Sort and prioritize human and capital resources
  • Manage projects that deliver VALUE
  • PMO Design and Development
  • IT Governance Model and Training
  • Training & Workshops

“The goal was to achieve business value with their initial SharePoint investment and methodical strategic planning to minimize risk and maximize potential benefits,” said Laurie Bacopoulos, Cobblestone Founder and CEO.  

The Morehouse School of Medicine, Information Technology division knew they needed to deploy a Project Portfolio Management System (PPM) to address their business challenges but were concerned with introducing too much complexity for their personnel.  The organization entrusted Cobblestone Consulting Inc. as their strategic advisor, to select the ‘right-fit’ PPM solution for their organization.  PPM tool selection was a critical step to ensure system acceptance and data integrity.   EPM Live’s PPM tool has the right mix of functionality and ease-of use for the organization.  

With the EPM Live PPM solution, the Information Technology organization was able to rapidly develop business-centric dashboard views of their project portfolio with dynamic, real-time reporting, including resource utilization and capacity analytics.  In addition, PPM’s user-friendly timesheets and timesheet compliance reports will allow them to quickly evaluate resource efforts across business units and projects and adjust allocations to meet shifting priorities.   Ultimately, MSM will be able to effectively monitor and control project resources and direct key staff efforts to strategic roadmap projects without compromising existing customer project support.

Read the full case study here!

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.

Why Implement SharePoint Project Management in a Tough Economy?

Now is not the time to cut investments in your organization’s project management tools.  In fact, quite the contrary.  How can you get more work done on a limited budget while maximizing resource utilization and mastering quality deliverables?  The answer is simple, invest in Project Management tools that will help you manage work more effectively.  Making the decision to invest is only the first step, ensuring that it’s the right tool for your organization is equally as important. 

Introducing a project management toolset that stops at PPM will limit your savings and your success.  It has been proven that work is everywhere, not just within your projects.  Incorporating work management (all work, not just project work) into your organization’s every day routine will help your resources see the whole picture of what needs to be done and not just on the project tasks at hand.  In addition, giving them a collaborative platform in which to manage their work allows them to build relationships, encourage team work and share knowledge.  It’s a collaborative world and people want to share their lives with others.  So how do you combine PPM with work management with overall collaboration?  SharePoint Project Management!

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits SharePoint Project Management has to offer:

SAVE MONEY!

    • Empower employees by giving them a self-service collaboration tool that they can leverage to manage all of their work.

    • Stop paying for costly disconnected business applications and consolidate to a business productivity collaboration platform that provides a lower cost of ownership and allows you to manage all work in one system.

    • Adopt to a simple PPM and work management technology with a familiar and intuitive interface that will save training and adoption costs.

    • Leverage your current SharePoint investment and extend the platform you already own to bring other work management functionality to your organization including project management, new product development, service management, application management and more.

    • Reduce risks, lengthy deployments and upfront costs by leveraging online SharePoint project management tools so you can get up and running today and begin managing work tomorrow.

 

Nurture Innovation

    • Inspire new ideas by seamlessly connecting resources and encouraging collaboration.
    • Introduce Social Project Management. This new discipline encourages communication and collaboration amongst team members by providing them with social tools such as comment streams or collaborative project communities. Connect to Microsoft Outlook or other productivity applications to streamline conversations with remote employees driving efficiencies.
    • Improve communication through social collaboration tools. Centralize all project work by introducing collaborative communities. Allow resources to easily share project information and important documents or create wikis and RSS feeds to stay up to date with project statuses.
    • Invigorate innovation by allowing resources to work the way they work. Flexible project management tools, such as SharePoint project management, should encourage user adoption and foster team collaboration.

 

Leverage the Cloud

    • Cloud PPM allows for faster and less-expensive implementations, it has lower risk, requires reduced operational management and increases user adoption due to anytime access since only a web browser is required.
    • SaaS project management is the right choice for organizations with cost constraints and limited IT resources. With the cloud, organizations are able to instantly access the same PPM tools put forth in any other project management deployment but without the lengthy implementation process.  
    • Online project management allows resources to access on-demand, real-time project updates and communicate more efficiently with remote employees.
    • Delivery via the provider’s infrastructure reduces the need to invest in and maintain databases, application servers and hardware.

 

Accelerating Value

    • Work management is the foundation of great PPM. Define, plan, organize and track all work across the organization from one centralized location increasing communication and productivity.
    • A rich feature set provides organizations with pre-built applications to better manage work throughout the enterprise making resources more efficient.
    • Create project communities to centralize all project details for team members to access on-demand and collaborate in real-time.
    • Increase efficiencies by integrating current business applications with your centralized SharePoint platform.