Jack in the Box Implements EPM Live to Reduce Cost and Improve PPM Maturity

EPM Live recently sat down with Kourtney Kennedy, PMP, Manager of Jack in the Box IT Portal Development.  Jack in the Box is one of the nation’s largest hamburger chains with more than 2,200 restaurants in 19 states.  Most people don’t know they were even responsible for developing the first major hamburger chain drive-thru.

Now that you know who they are, let’s touch on EPM Live’s relationship with Jack.  Jack in the Box had a common pain point with many IT organizations today; they had a multi-maturity organization that required a Project, Portfolio Management (PPM) solution that would meet the needs of each individual, each team and every department.  EPM Live has completed hundreds of large EPM implementations since its conception in 1999.  It is refreshing to see that many of the common challenges that were faced 5 years ago have been addressed with easy to use, yet comprehensive technology.  It is no longer impossible for organizations to have a one-size-fits-all solution that will indeed meet the needs of every stakeholder.  Jack in the Box is the perfect case study to reflect this evolution.  The system was designed to give executives visibility into all project and work initiatives within the organization, while at the same time, meeting the needs of each individual team.  They type of work didn’t matter, EPM Live could handle iterative planning for the product teams, complex project planning for IT and lightweight planning or simple to do lists for all other functional teams.  Take a look at some of the highlights below; to download the full case study or view the case study video, please click here.

Challenge:

  • Jack in the Box was using multiple segregated systems to run their projects
  • There were multiple project management maturity levels within the organization.  Jack in the Box could only accommodate those who were mature enough to use a complex toolset.   Adoption was low and there was resistance to use the current system in place
  • Project schedules were scattered and were not available for global visibility
  • Project communication was not structured nor centralized
  • Project requests were copied and pasted into toolset and received through multiple methods
  • IT contracts and requests were difficult to submit, making IT services hard to obtain

Solution:

  • Support 687 users and over 600 projects
  • Leverage system already in place (SharePoint) to protect current IT investments
  • Remove disparate and segregated legacy systems and accommodate all users, all work and all processes
  • Map to current processes already in place
  • Meet requirements for multiple teams, users and roles
  • Aid in the portfolio management selection process by scoring project requests via defined KPIs

Results:

  • Global visibility into work and projects across the entire organization for more informed decision making and control
  • Reduction of dollars spent on redundant systems and duplicated effort
  • Organized method of managing work to reduce resource effort and increase productivity
  • Standardized tools and processes to implement best practices and repeatable processes
  • Eliminated the risks and costs associated with implementing the wrong projects or those that would provide minimal value to the organization
  • Roadmap and plan to gradually increase PPM maturity across the organization
  • One tool to support all users and processes
  • Increased value of IT by automating processes and making it easy for business owners to make requests

If you would like more information on how EPM Live can help your multi-maturity organization, please feel free to contact us or join one of our recent webinars, “Implementing Enterprise Project Portfolio Management for a Multi-maturity Organization“.  To sign up for a free trial, please click here.

PPM for Government – How Government Agencies Can Leverage EPM Live to Reduce IT Spending

Last week, Federal Chief Information Officer, Steven VanRoekel released the following statement in his blog, “This week, we released the details of the FY 2013 IT Budget request totaling $78.8 billion. This is a 0.75 percent decrease from the FY 2012 enacted level of  $79.4 billion – and is noteworthy given the historical growth of Government IT spending. In fact, from FY 2001 through FY 2009, IT spending nearly doubled, growing at an annual rate of 7 percent.”  He then went on to say, “We are seizing on the power of 21st century technology to consolidate data centers; move to lightweight, shareable technologies, such as cloud computing, while also directing agencies to consolidate commodity IT services; and shift to shared services. For example, the Department of Defense (DOD) is saving up to $300 million in FY 2013 from the closure of 100 data centers and the President’s Budget proposes close to a $1 billion decrease in their IT budget.”

As with many organizations, the administration is looking to IT to help reduce costs and maximize efficiencies. By consolidating systems, leveraging cloud computing and bettering Project and Portfolio Management processes, government agencies can make these goals a reality.

Achieving operational efficiency while running large-scale programs effectively are mission critical disciplines that many organizations must conquer to receive the true benefits of IT. EPM Live has had the opportunity to work with many government organizations in the last 10 years.  During the current recession many government leaders have been instructed to cut IT budgets. That being said, they are also looking to IT to reduce costs as a result of IT initiatives. So how can government leaders do more with less?  EPM Live’s strategies that have been implemented via government contracts  including Federal civilian, department of defense as well as state and local governments include:

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  • Eliminating Redundant Systems and Segregated Silos of Information – Government agencies have a tendency to build custom solutions that are disconnected from other IT platforms.  The escalating trend and popularity of SaaS (software-as-a-service) and cloud services can help these government organizations bring systems to market quickly, less costly and without the overhead and infrastructure typically required to implement new systems, not to mention the maintenance that follows. Because EPM Live is an “all work” platform, eliminating unnecessary legacy systems is a reality.  Managing all work within an organization including projects, operational work, products, etc. on one system is now possible. Just like any other business in the world today, these government agencies must not lose site of innovation, new technology and new ways of managing work in order to keep a competitive edge. Data center growth can now take a back seat and data consolidation can bring to light the significance of having more resources available to work on the initiatives that will bring more value to the organization.
  • Implementing Project Portfolio Management (PPM) – Resulting in Better Decision Making and Positive Project Outcomes– Over the years many government projects have been evaluated and processes have been modified as a result. Over the years, the budget plans have reflected the need to cancel and cut projects that are severely over budget and behind schedule. They also require detailed business cases for initiatives that will likely bring more value and attract new funding. To support these efforts, PPM technology is essential. EPM Live has helped government organizations evaluate their projects and programs by allowing business case creation, scoring criteria, ROI analysis and what-if modeling. These organizations can ensure the right projects are being implemented. It has been stated that many government projects weren’t realizing value for years. By that time, the fast-paced world we live in today has changed dramatically, the original benefits of the project were no longer valuable and the needs have changed based on technology drivers, environmental factors, or economic conditions. Implementing PPM technology that will show ROI, timeframe, cost estimates and resource plans along with the business drivers is essential to ensure this type of planning doesn’t consume investments. Choosing the right projects and ensuring a short term value realization can help government leaders make the right strategic decisions to align with objectives, and just as importantly, reduce the risk of potential failure.
  • Improving Organizational Maturity– As mentioned above, one of the best ways to cut costs is to improve Project and Portfolio Management processes. EPM Live helps government organizations align their current processes to a toolset which in turn brings a familiarity to the system creating fast adoption rates and usability. Once the current processes are mapped and usage of the system is high, maturity growth is natural and the risks of overcoming change is minimal. Because we design our products to accommodate all users at all maturity levels, there is a sense of accountability that comes with individual ownership of a tool that can only be present if the users feel as if the system was built with their processes in mind. EPM Live provides many tools for collaboration that help users share best practices, create repeatable processes and work towards maturity improvement goals. As processes improve and maturity levels increase, productivity increases and overall efficiencies begin to unfold.  To join a webinar on “Implementing PPM for a Multi-Maturity Organization” register here.
  • Increasing Project Transparency and Awareness – It is becoming more and more evident that providing constituents with data insight into government project spending and status is critical to running projects effectively. The degree in which the government serves its customers is crucial to its success just as it is to all consumer focused businesses operating today. The government has taken many steps to improving project transparency over the years. In 2009, an IT dashboard was launched to give the American people insight into how government funding was being spent and how those initiatives were performing. Later, the government launched a program in which they would conduct program reviews and would allow for termination of programs that were not producing dividends for the American people. EPM Live has implemented these dashboards
    within many government agencies to increase transparency, generate awareness, bring to light potential risks before they become major issues and to create timely solutions to the visible problems that persist. Awareness simply gives businesses the ability to react quickly and respond to the issues that often manifest within projects due to delayed resolution.

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There are many steps that government agencies can take to realize full benefit of IT.  To learn more about EPM Live and its Government solutions, please contact us for more information.

 

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Uses EPM Live to Improve Visibility and Reduce Costs

As a center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is responsible for space missions exploring Earth, the solar system and the universe beyond. The laboratory employs approximately 5,000 people and is running a large number of projects at any given time.

The organization was using Microsoft Project Professional within the laboratory to give project management teams access to project schedules. However to share the schedules, JPL’s Project Schedule Analysts (PSAs) needed to create portable document files (PDFs) and then place them in a file share directory for access by project team members.  This meant that the schedules viewed by team members were a static image of project status at any given point in time, and did not provide any ability to drill down into items or make changes. When engineers needed to make a change they had to coordinate with the PSAs, creating additional work for both roles.

JPL decided to deploy WorkEngine from EPM Live, an Enterprise Project Portfolio and Work Management solution that integrates Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Project Server to achieve improved schedule visibility, greater collaboration, and reduce costs.

Various projects are being migrated to the WorkEngine solution, including plans and schedules for major upcoming flight projects. With EPM Live’s WorkEngine solution, project schedule visibility has been transformed from a static view of the project at any given time into real-time access for all project teams to review and status.

By deploying a project management solution that is integrated with SharePoint Server, JPL is able to create project workspaces where teams can access schedules and other key project information in a single location. This has improved collaboration within the teams, as employees can work together on documents, calendars, tasks and other items, removing version control issues. Project teams have real-time access to data, which boosts productivity among employees.

As well as benefiting from improved collaboration and visibility, JPL anticipates significant cost reductions from moving to an enterprise project management solution. A PSA can create approximately 30 PDFs of schedules during an update cycle, including the top level schedule and a version for each Cost Account Manager. Using the web view will save PSAs up to half a day’s work each week. JPL will also create cost efficiencies through improved collaboration by integrating its projects.

To learn more about how we work with other government agencies, contact us.

Project Manager Today Shares EPM Live Product Review

Steve Cotterell of Project Manager today takes a look at EPM Live, “A SharePoint add-on that turns it into a full-blown portfolio, project and work management tool.”

“Microsoft’s SharePoint is a major player on the corporate collaboration scene. It therefore makes perfect sense that any project oriented organisation that’s invested SharePoint technology would want to take advantage of that investment when considering what project management software they should use. Enter EPM Live, an American company with offices in London and Australia and partners in thirty-five other countries. There are currently three Engines in EPM Live’s portfolio:   Project, Portfolio and Work Engines.”

Project Manager Today provides an unrivalled means of addressing the project & programme management communities in the UK and overseas.   To read the full review click here.

EPM Live "PM Lite" Template for Simple Online Project Management

An enterprise project management system typically isn’t tailored to meet the needs of ALL users.  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, they have different areas of focus, and most of all, they are at different maturity levels within the PM maturity.  In fact, most likely you have non-PMs running projects somewhere across your organization.  A PPM system must allow you to define your enterprise needs and then customize the tool to meet the needs of individual teams, project managers, or departments.  If each user understands that the tool will meet their needs and resolve their pain points, everyone wins.  Executives get to see what they need across the enterprise and individual teams can work the way they work to make the tool effective.  Usability equals success in an enterprise system, and the data outputs are only as good as the information going into the tool.

With this in mind EPM Live offers our “PM Lite” PM Lite Project Workspace template suits those project managers looking for a simple project management tool with easy collaboration and scheduling tools.

Project teams improve collaboration and keep projects on track with the power to choose to use either the EPM Live Online Planner or Microsoft Project to manage your schedule.  Your team can log issues as they arise, chat in team discussions, and share documents.   Built-in reports let you see relevant project dashboards and artifacts.  EPM Live is always striving to meet the needs of ALL users and ALL process across ALL work!

Watch a few videos to learn more about how to use our Online Project Planner:

Project Planner Overview

Project Planner Deep Dive

PM Lite” Highlights:

  • Project scheduling using the EPM Live Online Planner or Microsoft Project.

  • Issues & Document Management

  •  Visual Reports & Dashboards

  • Notifications & Alerts to improve collaboration for your team

 

 

How EPM Live Aligns With the Top 10 Project Management Trends of 2012

I recently stumbled upon an interesting article on PM Hut that identifies and describes the top 10 project management trends of 2012, as determined by ESI International senior executives and subject matter experts.  At EPM Live, we strive to keep our products and services ahead of the curve, and in alignment with industry best practices and standards.  It was with great delight, though without surprise, to see that EPM Live’s products are right in tune with many of the top 10 trends for this year.

As said by ESI International, “custom-made project approaches, innovative project tools and smarter resource management will be essential for driving the greatest business impact.”  Yes, we agree!

1.  Program management will gain momentum, but resources remain in short supply

With EPM Live tools, you can effectively plan resources from initial high-level role based planning down to detailed work item assignments, and ensure that the right resources are appointed.  When resource scarcity is an issue, plan and assign resources accurately to maximize their availability without over-allocating them to too much work.  Maximize resource allocation by ensuring the right resources are assigned to the right work at the right time.  Some of these tools include our Resource Planner and Analyzer, Resource availability reports, what-if-modeling for resource assignments, and more!  Click here to read more about resource management available with EPM Live.  To view PortfolioEngine Resource Management capabilities click here.

2.  Collaboration software solutions will become an essential business tool for project teams

“Collaboration is central to project management and having a site which allows project artifacts to be created, shared, and distributed within a repository that provides Web-based access and critical functions such as automatic distribution and notification, version control, and user authentication, greatly enhances productivity.”

EPM Live offers many ways for project teams to easily collaborate with one another and communicate efficiently.  The EPM Live solutions are built on SharePoint, so we’re able to start with all the well-known collaboration capabilities, and then add EPM Live’s collaborative tools.  Share knowledge and better collaborate with your work teams to increase productivity and efficiency through various modes of communication.  Some of these examples include comments threads on work items, workspaces for teams to focus on project-specific collaboration, easy statusing of work items, flexible alerts and notifications, and much more!  Click here to see many of the collaboration tools available from EPM Live.

3.  Learning transfer will become the new mantra, but with little structured application

4.  Agile blends with waterfall for a new “hybrid” approach

EPM Live offers pre-built templates that allow teams to manage projects using a variety of methodologies.  This includes Agile & Waterfall joined as a hybrid approach, as well as the same solutions independently.

We have a related blog on this topic.  Click here to read more about Waterfall plus Agile as hybrid planning with EPM Live.  To see some of the work template offered with EPM Live’s WorkEngine, click here.

5.  Smarter project investments will require a stronger marriage between project management and business process management (BPM)

“The more impact the project has on reducing internal costs, the higher it will be ranked. The “smart” money will be spent on driving costs out of the business.”

With EPM Live, organizations gain visibility across the portfolio, and can utilize tools to ensure the right projects are selected and managed, in accordance with important business-wide drivers and priority scoring.  Capture and determine the right mix and sequencing of proposed projects and ideas to best achieve the organization’s overall goals. View various reports to evaluate which projects bring the most value to the business.  Click here to read an EPM Live white paper about successful portfolio planning.

6.  Internal certifications in corporations and federal agencies will eclipse the PMP®

7.  More PMO heads will measure effectiveness on business results

“To judge business effectiveness, PMO heads need to determine if their work has had a positive, quantifiable effect on the business in terms of troubled project reduction, lower project manager attrition, and faster time to market. In 2012 the practice of measuring the outputs, not the inputs, of project management will gain traction.”

Reporting is essential to see not only how the business is doing with regards to their active portfolio of projects and work, but also to see how successfully they closed out completed projects, for metrics & future improvement.  EPM Live has many out of box reports available, and the capabilities to modify existing and build new custom reports.  Click here for more info about reporting & business intelligence from EPM Live.

8.  Good project managers will buck unemployment trends

9.  Client-centric project management will outpace the “triple constraint”

“The new definition of project success is that a project can exceed its time and cost estimates so long as the client determines that it is successful by whatever criteria they use. In today’s environment, project value is determined by the “recipient”—or client—not the “provider.””

EPM Live offers flexible & configurable project success criteria and business drivers.  This allows your organization to determine how you will grade your projects and requests, objectively scoring them in accordance with those business drivers.  This can also be done in terms of determining the final success of an active or closed project.  Take those same capabilities of the project selection scoring, and incorporate them as objectively scoring the success of the projects.   Click here for more about the portfolio management capabilities available from EPM Live.

10.  HR professionals will seek assessments to identify high-potential project managers

 

Note: All quotes are from the PM Hut article.  To view the full article posted by ESI International on the PM Hut site, click here.

 

EPM Live, Agile and Team Foundation Server

Many organizations are looking for a way to bridge the gap between Agile project & work management needs and application lifecycle development using Team Foundation Server 2010 (TFS).  Team Foundation Server 2010 automates the software delivery process providing powerful tools to deliver quality software while building and sharing institutional knowledge.   An organization that is looking to have portfolio visibility across all types of projects, manage ALL work, and utilize a more robust agile/iterative planning tool then Excel, can leverage the power of EPM Live with TFS integration.

EPM Live’s partner OAG International, a Gold Certified Microsoft partner, has built an out of the box integration with Team Foundation Server to strengthen your application lifecycle management solution by bridging the gap between Agile project management using EPM Live’s SharePoint based project and work management, and application development using TFS 2010. . We’ve brought together the best of both worlds to create a win-win situation that enables project management/Scrum master and development teams to collaborate and communicate a project timeline and progress using familiar tools such as Visual Studio and EPM Live WorkEngine, or PortfolioEngine on Microsoft SharePoint 2010.  Key highlights include:

  • Robust Agile Planning:  Tightly integrate TFS tasks, resources and activities with EPM Live to get the right information to the stakeholders for planning and collaboration.  Synchronize backlog items with TFS, and use the Agile Planner to iteratively plan and track tasks, defects, etc.
  • Jump-start Adoption:  Your development and project management teams can stay in their comfort zones and easily collaborate and communicate a project timeline and progress using familiar tools.
  • Focus on Productivity: Your employees can utilize the “My Work” module of EPM Live to view all the tasks assigned to them. They can also use the Timesheet module to report time against all their assigned tasks. Managers can perform what-if analysis and optimize resource utilizations.
  • Faster Agility: Utilizing the project roll-up and dashboard functions in PortfolioEngine your agile team will gain faster insight and gain greater control over projects resulting in improved project performance.

How does it work?  Simple….  Each project, or release, is associated to a TFS Project for synchronization.

Then, from EPM Live, Project Managers or Scrum Masters, can easily synchronize the backlog list to Team Foundation Server.  Project Managers, or Scrum Masters, can leverage our pre-built templates such as the Software Development – Agile EPM Live template.  Your team can log defects, features, user stories, and task as they arise, chat in team discussions, and share documents.   Built-in reports let you see relevant project dashboards and artifacts such as Burn Down reports. This template leverages the EPM Live Agile Planner which provides drag-and-drop capabilities for moving backlog items into specific iterations, moving items between iterations, and for decomposing user stories and defects into tasks and subtasks. The EPM Live Agile Planner provides dynamic rollups of Story Points and Work Estimates compared to Point and Work Capacity Values, so that over-allocations can be viewed and addressed.  Immediately capture team status, time and new requests from a simple SharePoint user experience.   View resource workload assignments across all types of work, including backlog items.  You could also leverage the PM plus Agile select template which is our “hybrid” approach to support using waterfall (predictive) and agile (adaptive) methodologies within one template.

 

On synch, all work items are given a unique ID to be used for mapping purposes, and you can navigate to the work items within TFS:

Now, with all project data in one system, executives have visibility to the complete portfolio of all projects and all work with over 60 pre-built reports!

For more information on our TFS Integration, VIEW VIDEO.

 

EPM Live Welcomes Abbott B.V.

Thank you for selecting EPM Live’s WorkEngine solution!

Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to discovering new medicines, new technologies and new ways to manage health.  Abbott’s products span the continuum of care, from nutritional products and laboratory diagnostics through medical devices and pharmaceutical therapies.  Abbott’s comprehenisve line of products encircles life itself – addressing important health needs from infancy to the golden years.

 

EPM Live Wins TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award for Scheduling Software

The schedule is one of the most critical components used for delivering a project. Project Managers have needs to manage schedules with different levels of rigor and complexity. Other project plan software limit Project Managers to one scheduling tool and method. WorkEngine offers a variety of scheduling methods and tools to meet the needs of every Project Manager.  EPM Live’s WorkEngine has always been known for its flexible scheduling tools that allow users to build schedules and tasks using a variety of methods including simple task lists, the online planner, the agile online planner, or Microsoft Project.  Regardless of user maturity or preferred methodology, EPM Live’s WorkEngine has the right tool for every user.  We are thrilled to announce that it is finally official, EPM Live has been named as one of the top scheduling software tools for 2012 by TopTenREVIEWS.

EPM Live’s WorkEngine’s scheduling application was chosen for the TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award because of how effectively it streamlines communication and keeps projects on schedule and under budget.  TopTenREVIEWS evaluates products from multiple platforms providing customers the information they need to make smart purchasing decisions. TopTenREVIEWS only make recommendations for the best product in each category.  “With WorkEngine you can keep track of everyone on your team, their tasks, the budget and the schedule all in one program,” noted TopTenREVIEWS, “with a myriad of support options available from EPM Live, now you can focus on the project and not worry about the details falling through the cracks.”

To read the full review or check out the review video, click here.

Verizon Business (VA) chooses WorkEngine and Infostrata Solutions

Verizon Business Solutions (VA) chooses WorkEngine and EPM Live Partner Infostrata (UK) to address key Project and Portfolio Management requirements.

About Verizon Business

Verizon Business (VA) is a leading provider of advanced communications solutions to large government agencies, major corporations, local municipalities and educational institutions.  Verizon is one of the state’s largest employers.

About Infostrata

InfoStrata Solutions is an EPM Live partner that specializes in business solutions based on Microsoft’s SharePoint™ technology. They offer a strategic mix of development experience, consulting track-record and best-of-breed enhancement technologies to deliver the safest and most cost-effective route for your line-of-business requirements.