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:


    • 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.

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