Improve Project Success with Better Scope Management

More often than not, organizations lack standardized forms or templates for scope management. Scope management is critical in avoiding project risks and failure. More and more project leaders are turning to project management software and better work management practices to help them better manage scope through all phases of the project.

Project Scope Management describes the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully.  Per the PMBOK Guide, scope management includes the following elements: scope planning, scope definition, WBS creation, scope verification, and scope change control.  How many times have you worked on a project and the end result is aligned exactly to the original requirements?  My guess would be, not that many.  Giving your customers what they ask for is essential… no more, no less.  That being said, scope creep happens, so know how to manage it!

What does good scope management consist of? 

  • Global Visibility of Work Performance:
    • Keep an eye on all work that affects your project’s bottom line
    • Keep all stakeholders up to date with current project and task status
    • Ensure all stakeholders can access their work in one location
  • Implement Change Control:
    • Set up a change control process to ensure all changes go through the proper governance for approval or dismissal
    • Set up workflow where needed to streamline these changes for faster turn times and process automation
    • Leverage a scenario modeling tool to easily visualize how the proposed scope change affects your current workload and resources
  • Make Sure All Changes Align to the Project Objectives:
    • Ask yourself…Does the requested change align with the project objectives?  Is the new change required to meet the needs of the customer and ensure project success? 
    • Control the project; prevent unneccessary work and don’t add work simply because someone came up with a cool idea
  • Establish a Communication Plan
    • Set up a portal for team collaboration and communication
    • Allow team members the ability to work the way that works best for them; don’t enforce how the work gets done, just ensure that it does
    • Encourage team knowledge share.  This will foster a positive team work environment and will empower productivity.  You never know when experts will appear from no where.  Give people the grounds to communicate

For detailed scope management, follow best practices and align with the steps below:

1. Scope Planning:

  • How will I manage scope of this project?
  • What tools should I use to ensure the requirements of the project are met?
  • How will I measure performance of this project?
  • What factors must I consider regarding internal process and governance?

2. Scope Definition:

  • What is and is not included in this project?
  • What are the needs or requirements of the stakeholders?
  • What pain points are being resolved with the product? 
  • What are the tangible deliverables that will address the pain points?
  • What constraints must be considered in the project?
  • What are the project assumptions?

3. Create Work Breakdown Structure (WBS):

  • What deliverables are needed for this project?
  • How can I break those deliverables down into manageable peices of work?
  • What tool can I use to define my WBS?
  • Ensure all work items can be interpreted clearly by your resources, don’t allow for misinterpretation
  • Who will do the work?
  • Have all requirements been accommodated in my WBS?

4. Scope Verification:

  • Run project reports to measure completed project work against project plans and scope
  • Communicate with project stakeholders about project status
  • Ensure all work delivered and plan aligns with the original scope definition plus all changes that have been approved through the change management process
  • Ensure all work delivered meets quality standards

5. Scope Control:

  • Prevent scope creep by implementing change control processes
  • Evaluate potential impact of all requested scope changes to make the proper decisions
  • Be proactive

Effective Project Software Capabilities for Maximum Resource Utilization

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

Resource Management capabilities to look for in project software:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overview of Resource Negotiations within EPM Live

Answering the question ‘Who is working on what, and when?’ with confidence can be a challenge for many organizations. 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.

Although EPM Live offers resource management solutions that fit all maturity levels, the data-driven negotiation process is a highly desired toolset for any size organization in which the Project Manager and Resource Manager roles are distinct people. Rather than guessing at whether your department or team can take on the CIO’s next pet project, you can reply with certainty of the ability and impact when agreeing to deliver additional work.

A few assumptions for a data-driven negotiation process to be successful include the following:

  • Estimated project work is accurately recorded in the system
  • Each resource has a department and manager
  • Project managers are forecasting resource requirements against roles (not named resources) using Resource Plans
  • Resource/Department managers are managing in-progress work so that it completes on time (allowing new work to start on time, as agreed)

If you don’t have the above assumptions met, you may have some variation of a data-driven negotiation process in place. Within EPM Live Resource Negotiations, a resource commitment is not complete until both the project manager and department (resource) manager accept the named resource that has been assigned.

Here’s a look at the indicators available during resource negotiations:

Resource Negotiation Icons

Resource Negotiation Icons

 

Let’s take a high level look at the two key participants’ interaction during resource negotiations.

 

Project Manager creates a Resource Plan using generic roles

The Project Manager builds his Project’s Resource Plan. As soon as the Project Manager enters a row, it is private by default. Some rows may stay private while others are public. No negotiations will take place on private rows.

When the Project Manager saves the project’s resource plan, he will be prompted to make the private rows public, and if he elects to do so, then all currently private rows become public. Negotiations will be initiated for all public rows.

An email notification goes to each resource manager for the proposed resources:

Notification email to Resource Manager

Notification email to Resource Manager when Resource Plan is saved with rows made public

 

At this point of the process, the project manager will wait for the resource/department manager to review the proposed resources and take action.

 

Resource/Department Manager reviews resource plan and assigns named resources

The Resource Manager clicks the dynamic link to launch the Resource Planner. The Resource Planner will show those resources from her department who have been proposed. Alternately, the Resource Manager may manually launch the Resource Planner for her resources. During this part of the process, the Resource Manager needs to analyze the availability of her resources and make a decision on whether the proposal can be accepted, needs to be changed, or must be rejected.

Resource Managers can do the following:

  1. Make changes to a row: change the resource assigned or the allocation value. The row status stays as Negotiate. The RM column changes to accepted and the PM column goes Blank.
  2. Reject a row:  the row status stays as Negotiate: the RM column changes to Rejected and the PM column stays as Accepted.
  3. Accept a row:  the row status changes to Commitment and both the PM and RM columns display the Accepted icon.
Resource Manager actions with resulting status in the Resource Plan

Resource Manager actions with resulting status in the Resource Plan

 

When the Resource Manager saves the resource plan, a notification email goes to the project manager for any proposals modified by the Resource Manager.

Negotiations (or re-negotiations) will continue until a commitment is reached on each row. A history of the negotiation process is stored for each row, so the managers can review what previously happened during the negotiation process.

Note: See the process flow diagram at the end of this blog post for a detailed look at how resource negotiations work based on the actions either manager makes during the process.

At the end of the day, executives can understand over allocation or under-utilization across their entire organization based on actually committed resources. Using the Resource Analyzer, department leads or executives will be able to compare a resource capacity scenario against the committed work, which ultimately allows them to accurately answer to the organizational ability to complete planned work.

To learn more about how implementing Resource Negotiations can have a positive return for your team, contact info@epmlive.com or your designated Account Manager.

 

Additional information for existing EPM Live customers

Already up and running with an EPM Live site app? Turn on Resource Negotiations by following the steps in the 4.3 Admin Guide Resource Management chapter. Select “Resource Management – Resource Planner Administration” for detailed instructions.

Once Resource Negotiations are enabled, have users visit the 4.3 User Guide Using Resource Negotiations chapter for help.

 

Resource Negotiations – Detailed Process Flow Diagram

Resource Negotiations Process Flow

Detailed Resource Negotiations Process Flow

 

Improve Resource Management Maturity in 2013 – An EPM Live Analysis

When it comes to resource management, many organizations struggle to understand their resource planning maturity level and try to run before they learn to walk. EPM Live’s flexible resource management capabilities can lead you down the path to success, but like most processes, resource management requires a series of stepping stones; it’s a learning curve. Typically organizations’ resource management skills fall into one of three stages. The beginner stage is the basics, defining high level project roles and staffing them. The intermediate stage consists of assigning the right resources to projects based on capacity and skill set. Lastly, in the advanced level of resource management, organizations are able to move focus from individuals to teams, aiming to improve project velocity and project quality.

According to Gartner Inc. 54% of all organizations still need to learn the basics of resource management. To most organizations resource management is an emerging discipline; they have some defined project-oriented roles and processes, but need to work towards an overall strategic plan. Once the organization is successfully staffing resources to prioritized projects, resource managers can begin to evaluate taking the next steps to further their resource planning skills.

With some foundational steps defined, resource managers are ready to move up to the next level. The intermediate stage of resource management consists of matching the right resources with the right projects. This approach pays greater attention to the individual resources, their capabilities, skills and domain expertise — with the goal of proactively managing balance between the demand and supply.

Taking Resource Management to the Next Level

Here are a few key processes for improving resource management:

  • Analyze your successful experience with basic resource capacity planning. Create a compelling value proposition justifying the move to a more disciplined level of resource management.
  • Know your resources’ capacity and skill sets. Resource capacity planning should move from projects vs. resources to focusing on matching projects with individual skill level.
  • Standardize project management for a clear understanding of demand for project resources. Proactively understand resource supply and demand. Use a forward thinking mentality and know that project plans change often pulling resources to unplanned tasks and work, throwing-off future planning.
  • Leverage a PPM tool for better planning of resource workload to ensure proper placement, expertise and efficiency.
  • Create a meaningful implementation game plan. Most initiatives involving IT neglect to address human concern. For most employees the move to strategic resource management is a major change. Create meaningful documentation about the new resource plan and its benefits.

Take Resource Management from Good to Great with the EPM Live Platform

EPM Live’s PPM and Work Management Platform provides organizations all the tools they need to successfully manage and allocate resources. Leverage resource capacity planning tools to help you estimate role-based resource hours to ensure the resource plan can be fulfilled. Create resource requirements and compare resource availability to identify both resource shortages and surplus. 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. Easily modify dates and sequencing to define the most optimal portfolio. Use EPM Live’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 by leveraging drag and drop functionality, and group resources by attributes such as department, skill and role.

Check out this free webinar recording to learn more about EPM Live’s resource management capabilities, “Lower Costs and Increase ROI with Strategic Resource Planning.”

Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan Chooses EPM Live PPM Work Management Platform

Thank you for choosing EPM Live for your PPM solution!

Boston Medical Center (BMC) HealthNet Plan is a not-for-profit managed care organization serving more than 230,000 members across Massachusetts. The health plan serves members across three product lines: MassHealth, CommonwealthCare, and commercial (Employer Choice/Commonwealth Choice).

BMC HealthNet Plan is committed to quality and has achieved Excellent Accreditation status four times in a row from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). BMCHP is one of America’s top five Medicaid health plans, according to NCQA’s Medicaid Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2011-2012.

Through its community outreachteam, the Plan partners with its healthcare providers and local organizations to educate Massachusetts residents about health and wellness topics, as well as their health insurance coverage options. To serve its MassHealth and Commonwealth Care members, BMC HealthNet Plan contracts with nearly 60 hospitals, 15,000 health care providers, and 1,000 pharmacies across the state (except for Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket). For its Commonwealth Choice/Employer Choice plans, BMC HealthNet Plan currently offers a network of selected healthcare providers in eastern Massachusetts.

Learn More about Boston Medical Center (BMC) HealthNet Plan.

EPM Live Resource Management in SharePoint

Proper Resource Management is vital to the success of any project. 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.

 

Microsoft SharePoint is a widely used collaborative platform that is commonly deployed for content management and general collaboration. EPM Live’s adds additional value to your existing investment in SharePoint by providing enterprise resource management tools and capabilities right in a SharePoint environment.

EPM Live can help organizations accomplish every stage in the resource management life cycle so that maximum allocation can be reached without introducing risks. The five stages of the resource management life cycle are:

• Resource Capacity
• Resource Allocation
• Resource Work Management
• Resource Collaboration and
• Resource Task Management

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 and potentially 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.  Let’s take a look at how you can accomplish Resource capacity in SharePoint.

1)  Build a resource plan directly in EPM Live:

 

 

 

 

 

 

2)  Use a resource modeler to perform what-if analysis, finalize portfolio selection and apply the right sequencing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Leverage resource capacity reports built to analyze your current resource needs and all potential risks associated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see how you can leverage EPM Live to manage the remaining four stages of resource management, download our “Resource Management in SharePoint” on-demand webinar by clicking on the link below.

View Resource Management in SharePoint- On-Demand Webinar