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.

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

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.  

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.

 

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!

Time Tracking Made Easy Using Work Management Tools

Time management, it sounds so simple, yet it can be extremely cumbersome for an organization. Time tracking and reporting is often underestimated in its complexity causing organizations to throw away money and underutilize resources. For many organizations, time reporting and attendance is still a manual process resulting in payroll errors and less than desirable business results.

Capturing accurate time spent on project and work items is critical for making informed business decisions. It provides answers for important questions such as:

  • What are we actually working on?
  • How much should we bill our customer?
  • How much are we investing in a project?
  • Which of our current projects are losers that we should stop working on?
  • Which of our current projects are winners that we should invest in?
  • How much have we had to invest in similar projects in the past?
  • What was the development effort value that we need to start depreciating?
  • What resources will I need to complete a project like this?
  • How long does it really take for us to complete a project like this?
  • Which of our projects are profitable?
  • Which of our customers are profitable?
  • Where are the bottlenecks in our operations?
  • How far off are our work estimates?
  • How much should we pay each employee?

 

Implementing a single, intuitive time management tool that captures time and progress on any work item, including non-project or operational work, is essential for more accurate business results. Work Management tools, like EPM Live, provide time management capabilities helping users’ better track time against work. Specifically with EPM Live, these tools include:

 

  • Capturing time on any project or work item

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Enter Work Status (% Complete) and Time in a Single View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Capture time for multiple time categories

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Timesheet workflows for submissions and approvals

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Time reports, views and dashboards

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Work log to accurately track time on any work item

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn more about EPM Live’s Time Management capabilities by watching these short videos.

EPM Live 4.4: Innovative PPM and Work Management Software for Everyone!

We’ve been busy and are very happy to announce the release of EPM Live 4.4. EPM Live 4.4 allows users to expand enterprise project and work management through new integration paths and enhanced cutting-edge features.

EPM Live 4.4 unveils the innovative Quick Connect, a platform built for cloud integrations. Quick Connect dramatically reduces the efforts required to integrate with either on-premise applications or third-party solutions as well as external cloud services. The Quick Connect platform also offers users the ability to easily integrate business systems with EPM Live. Leverage the out-of-box integration with any system that uses SQL server as its database engine.

In this release, EPM Live introduces the ability to combine EPM Live’s powerful online Enterprise Project and Work Management software with the world class CRM capabilities of Salesforce.com. EPM Live’s Salesforce App allows sales personnel to view all of their critical information from within Salesforce.com.  It provides sales teams the ability to communicate with service teams via the cloud to bring global portfolio and project visibility, task management, and issue management to fruition.  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.

Key EPM Live 4.4 features include:

  • Ideation App – capture ideas and turn them into real business value. The Ideation app allows employees to funnel ideas through a workflow from idea to conception to project, program or product. 
  • Optimizer – a new tool that allows you to objectively select any work items based on budget, resource load and constraints. Also leverage the force in/out feature to ensure execution on the right projects for the highest ROI.
  • Project Drill-down Dashboard Reports – easily drill down to detailed project status reports to streamline reporting for real-time insight. View project charts and graphs for visual presentation of project performance.
  • New Chart controls – Leverage the new dynamic html charting controls for better visibility and insight. 
  • Timesheets 2.0 – provides improved interface, custom views, the ability to make comments on Timesheet items, a stopwatch feature and the ability to enter multiple Timesheet lines against a work item.

Read the full release notes here!

Gartner's 2013 PPM Predictions – View Report Here

2013 is well under way but organizations are still struggling with their Project Portfolio and Work Management processes.  The business world is forever changing and for organizations to thrive they must be able to adopt or even better, be an early adopter of the noted trends and predictions. Gartner Inc. predicts in 2013 that PPM leaders must embrace constant innovation and change.   We believe our PPM solutions align with Gartner’s predictions through online project management software that is flexible for the entire organization and robust enough for the most experienced user.

 

Download Gartner’s full 2013 PPM Predicts Report here

 

Here are Gartner’s top 2013 predictions for the Project Portfolio Management industry:

1. Through 2016, the accepted norm will be 20% project failure as organizations are forced to take on increased risk to achieve desired returns.

We find that successful program and project reviews focus on strategies to make project delivery successful.  Even for projects doing well, forecasting future issues is critical and overall risk mitigation must be an ongoing practice.  Leverage the right tools to track all issues and risks and introduce portfolio what-if modeling to determine the result of ongoing project changes.

2. By 2015, 60% of the Fortune 1000 will establish an EPMO to improve the value created by investments in projects and programs.

Enterprise processes and standards are critical in enabling repeatable successes.  Best practice implementation will mitigate common challenges and in return prevent rework.  We provide tools that align with your current processes and helps you build a roadmap to adopt more functionality and discipline at the right pace to ensure user adoption and prevents the introduction of additional risks.  To learn more about process adoption and common EPM deployment challenges, join us for our upcoming webinar PPM for the Enterprise – Overcoming Deployment Challenges

3.  By 2015, 40% of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations.  

The project management industry has changed significantly over the last few years. We are seeing that Project Management tools are aligning more to the users, giving them tools that adapt to their working styles.  Social project management (click here to view a presentation on social project management) has come into play to help users become more productive by giving them the flexibility to get the work done in their own way. This approach fosters relationships, builds knowledge share, and identifies team experts in various areas that may not have been discovered before.   It’s an innovative world and we must modify our technology as our culture changes to appeal to our stakeholders.  Work CAN be fun. 

Learn more about EPM Live and why over 5,000 customers trust us with their PPM Work Management Needs. Try a free trial today!