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Sync Outlook and SharePoint With EPM Live for Effortless Project and Work Collaboration

SharePoint is the largest collaboration platform on the market today. With over 36 million users world wide, it no wonder most organizations choose SharePoint as their business application of choice. Savvy business leaders are leveraging project and work management companies such as EPM Live to help them extend the capabilities of SharePoint in to a complete end-to-end business intelligence and project management tool. And even taking their deployments one step further into social project management. 

Collaboration is a key practice in the way organizations work today.  Working together to deliver project and work deliverables that otherwise may not be reached by working alone, allow organizations to streamline work, deliver services and increase overall productivity across the organization. Collaborative environments provide resources the ability to combine effort and expertise to produce greater business results allowing them to work better, faster and smarter.

Two of the most effective, widely adopted, easy-to-use collaboration tools on the market today include Outlook and SharePoint.  EPM Live combines these two powerful products Outlook Publisher, an Outlook add-in that allows seamless synchronization with Outlook and SharePoint.  EPM Live customers can leverage Outlook to extend the collaboration tools available to maximize productivity.  Teams can convert Outlook emails into work items directly in SharePoint .  Outlook Publisher enables teams to reduce effort and improve communication.  Outlook Publisher includes the following functionality:

  • Full integration with Outlook ribbon controls – Outlook Publisher allows you to create list items directly in Outlook.  As a new item is created from the Outlook ribbon controls, a new item in SharePoint is created
  • Email threading and monitoring – Tracking information such as ID, date and time are automatically produced for item identification as items are created in Outlook.  All updates to the defined list item are appended and tracked to account for all collaboration and communication throughout the work item’s life cycle
  • Flexible configuration tools- Outlook Publisher comes with easy to use configuration tools to allow for flexible field configuration and list mapping

Outlook Publisher can be used for any work item in SharePoint including but not limited to help desk tickets, work requests, task lists, action items, risks, issues, IT requests, maintenance requests, bug lists, etc.  EPM Live will continue to drive innovation by finding new and better ways for teams to work better together.

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.

Waterfall plus Agile Application – Predictive & Adaptive Planning for the Best of Both Worlds!

I recently read a great blog post that I could strongly relate to.  In his blog post “Predictive AND Adaptive Planning”, Chris describes the benefits of approaching project management in a hybrid approach.  Projects are almost never completely waterfall (predictive), or completely agile (waterfall) and can succeed and benefit from both.  Chris references the success of projects such as the Lewis and Clark expedition referenced as a “startup”, Apollo missions to the moon, and simply building a table in your garage to help visualize the adaptive and predictive elements within each “project”.  In each case, the project is successfully completed and delivered using a range of approaches and/or methodologies.

At EPM Live we cater to all users, all work and all processes.  We don’t believe there is a one size fits all approach to managing projects and work effectively.   Some EPM and PPM tools are rigid and require organizations to adjust their processes to align with the tool.  Because our background includes over ten years of consulting with organizations to successfully deploy Enterprise Project and Portfolio Management solutions, our product has been built to easily adapt to the way you work.

For example, when you create a project workspace, you have the option to select from a variety of pre-built Project Management templates accessed from our App Marketplace.  Our Apps are built with leading industry and business best practices embedded in the configuration to enable rapid adoption and standardization of all types of work.  As we gain insight from our service team, partners and customers, we continually enhance and build new templates for our customers to benefit from.

Some of our most recent additions include our new PM plus Agile Select template.  Essentially, this template is our “hybrid” approach to support using waterfall (predictive) and agile (adaptive) methodologies within one template.

  • Collaborate with team members with requests, team discussions issues and risks.
  • Manage schedules with our online planner, or Microsoft Project along for your predictive needs
  •         
  • Plan iterations and manage your backlog using our Agile Planner for more adaptive and iterative planning.

It is the best of both worlds!  Reality is it doesn’t have to be agile vs. waterfall.   It’s about managing and delivering successful projects in the most effective, efficient method that works for you!

If you’d like to read Chris’s full article:  http://anagilestory.com/2011/11/17/predictive-and-adaptive-planning-2/

Other Related Links

Blog – 5 Benefits of Agile

Blog – How Waterfall and Agile Work Together at EPM Live

Blog – Burn Down Charts – Not Just for Software Development Anymore….

Blog – WorkEngine #Agile Management – Expanding Iterative Planning Outside of Software Development

EPM Live Ensures PMs Never Lose to Scope Creep Again

Scope creep is the dreadful culprit of lost profits, disheartened resources, missed deadlines, and frustrated clients and stakeholders. When clients ask for one more tiny feature, and then another slight change, and then an extra hour here and there, as every experienced PM knows, it all adds up. The onset of little changes and delays sneakily drains resources, hours, and costs and before you know it, your project is in sad shape.  Poor scope management is the downfall of many project managers and can result in the loss of their credibility and even their job.  

However, this problem is completely preventable with the right tools and methods of communication. Never let scope creep ruin your project ever again! Here are a few ways to avoid the problem once and forever.

1-      Have a scope management plan from the beginning. Show your client or project owner what a change order form is, when and why you would use it, and what it looks like so they know what to expect if you need one.

  • Post the change order form in your documents library on WorkEngine or leverage WorkEngine’s out-of-box change request module to track your changes.  The fields can be customized to map to your current form if applicable. 

2-      Explain to the client or project owner that change control is the best way to make THEM successful. Having a paper trail of changes, reasoning, and resulting impacts provides the detailed information they need to explain any delays or changes to their management and external audiences. It also makes sure that everyone is on the same page as far as what is in scope or out of scope so there are no resulting misunderstandings.

3-      Talk to your project team about the importance of providing updates and alerting you if there is a problem or if a task is taking longer than expected.

  • Team members can update tasks in their view on WorkEngine and write a note to the PM about issues, concerns, time, risk, or scope. The PM will then be alerted of the change and can make decisions about next steps.

4-      Get in the habit of submitting a change order form for every request that results in a modification of scope, budget, resources, risk, or time. The form is not just for changes to costs or time. It’s all part of good PM documentation and clear communication.

5-      Submit a change order form and discuss any scope modification BEFORE you actually perform that change.

6-      Meet with your client or project owner on a weekly or more frequent basis. In this meeting, go over change orders in person and make sure to get an actual signature or written agreement before proceeding with additional work.

  • Again, keep track of change orders in the documents library in WorkEngine or use the out-of-box change request module.

7-      Update the project plan with each change and add a notes column to record details about why it was needed, the overall impact, and when it was approved. Create baselines and each scope change that affects the schedule should result with a new baseline to track the overall impact.

  1. Using EPM Live’s Project Publisher, changes made on the WorkEngine project site, can be easily merged back into the Microsoft Project file.

Using these steps will ensure that scope is well-managed and never creeps up on you again. To learn more about the ability to manage tasks, changes, alerts, and integration with Microsoft Project, review the information on EPM Live about WorkEngine, and Project Publisher

Get the SharePoint Advantage by Operating EPM Live Solutions

Running an enterprise successfully requires establishing a fixed set of processes and methods within your organization. In order to manage, supervise and examine varied projects, both internally and externally, many organizations are expanding upon their current SharePoint deployment.  SharePoint is no longer strictly an IT tool, more and more organizations are expanding the capabilities of their SharePoint solution into a fully functioning Project Portfolio Management solution. Leveraging EPM Live’s SharePoint-based Enterprise Project Portfolio and Work Management Software not only helps protect current investments already in place but it gives businesses unprecedented boost in productivity, resource allocation, cost management and overall project portfolio visibility. EPM Live project software is already helping over 5,000 companies simplify and become more effective at delivering projects successfully while selecting the right work for the most profitable portfolio. 

Smart Project Management is the key function towards successfully meeting project deadlines and within budget. EPM Live gives every organization the tools they need from simple online project management to strategic, top-down portfolio planning.  Because EPM Live project software is flexible and intuitive, PPM maturity is no longer an issue with user adoption.

Many organizations today face a variety of work including application creation and maintenance, new product development, project deadlines and service requests.  EPM Live’s WorkEngine solution helps organizations create increased productivity by improving resource visibility, execution and collaboration across all work-types. WorkEngine helps in organizing all types of work and managing schedules, resources, costs, time and other functions which are critical for the business. WorkEngine demonstrates key value additions to an enterprise and provides tools and processes to maximize the resource utilization. Leverage EPM Live WorkEngine’s app marketplace for powerful, easy-to-use, predefined templates that are built with leading industry and business best practices to enable rapid adoption and standardization of all types of work.  

EPM Live’s PortfolioEngine solution provides you with an outstanding tool to simplify project portfolio planning and make informed critical business decisions to choose the right projects to drive the business toward its strategic objectives. PortfolioEngine allows you to manage resource capacity planning, portfolio sequencing and financial target modeling to know which projects will deliver the highest ROI. Intuitive end user interface and pre-built reports and dashboards provide increased visibility into project status for all team members and stakeholders.

EPM Live PPM solutions are all Microsoft SharePoint-based and seamlessly integrate with other business productivity tools such as Microsoft Project, Outlook and Excel. A perfect balance of scheduling options, project and portfolio management best practices, collaboration tools and out-of-box reporting and dashboards provides a simple, yet powerful tool.

EPM Live software is flexible and relevant to meet the needs of every business. Free trials are available for each of EPM Live project solution edition. EPM Live believes in the right to choose the best deployment option to fit your organization, on-premise, hosted or SaaS. Watch an on-demand demo and overview of EPM Live or flip through a slide deck for more information on how EPM Live can change the way you work. If you have to work, work smart!

Emergency Physicians Medical Group Selects EPM Live

Emergency Physicians Medical Group (EPMG) is a physician-owned, hospital-based, emergency medicine practice that creates highly-effective emergency departments in order to ensure every patient receives the most compassionate care and experiences the best possible outcome. A collaborative and patient-focused approach to building a strong emergency department is driven by their culture of care. EPMG’s goal is to create an environment that supports everyone in providing the finest care for the best patient outcome.

EPMG was formed in 1976 with the establishment of its emergency medicine program at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Over the years, EPMG has expanded into a complete system of healthcare services developed specifically to respond to patient and community needs. EPMG provides comprehensive administrative and management services to several healthcare organizations.

EPMG works with the best doctors to implement systems, fill positions, and create emergency departments that are highly capable, compassionate, and efficient. EPMG does this by working to fill temporary needs, improve quality controls, and build long-term partnerships with hospitals. Their mission is to improve emergency services though cutting-edge procedures, information, training, and best practices. The result is higher patient satisfaction and emergency departments that are better equipped to provide the best care possible.

Learn more about the Emergency Physicians Medical Group

 

 

Welcome GAVI Alliance to EPM Live's Valued Customer Portfolio

GAVI Alliance saves lives by providing children in developing countries with vaccinations they need to help prevent disease so they can grow up to lead productive lives.

Every child, no matter where he or she is born, has the right to the opportunity of a healthy life and vaccines are one of the best ways to assure it. Yet each year 1.7 million children die from a vaccine-preventable disease. The overwhelming majority of these deaths occur in developing countries. That’s one life every 20 seconds.

In January 2000, with global immunisation rates stagnating, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) was launched to fund vaccines for children in the world’s 70 poorest countries. Its mission: to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in the world’s poorest countries.

By pulling the specialist skills of all the main players in immunization –  WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, donor governments, developing countries, international development and finance organisations and the pharmaceutical industry – into one, decision-making body, GAVI has brought a single-minded focus to the urgent task of closing three critical gaps in the provision of vaccines.

Click here to learn more about GAVI Alliance.

EPM Live Welcomes IonPhasE Oy to Our Valued List of Customers!

Solving Static Electricity Challenges in Plastics

IonPhasE is an innovative solution provider of static dissipative polymers, that helps you to manage ESD and static electricity related issues in plastics materials. Based in Tampere, Finland, IonPhasE® IPE® technology is made with patented polymer structure designed for specific applications in the Electronic and Chemical industry packaging.

Their products have applications in the electronics industry, chemical industry, food packaging industry, automotive industry and many others.

IonPhasE offers a wide range of static dissipative masterbatches that fit to your process and products.

Click here to learn more about IonPhasE 

 

 

 

 

 

Terex Environmental Group Chooses EPM Live's WorkEngine Solution

Terex Environmental Group is an environmental consulting firm based in Calgary, Alberta providing environmental project management services to the energy sector. 

Terex specializes in providing clients with effective solutions to assess and manage environmental liabilities. The core services provided include environmental site characterization, environmental liability assessment, soil and groundwater remediation, and regulatory liaison.

Click here to learn more about Terex Environmental Group

Meet the Increasing Demand Placed on Your Service Teams – Service Management for SharePoint

Organizations often overcomplicate their initiatives by introducing tools that offer more capabilities and command more change than what organizations today are prepared to support.  The EPM Live’s “Service Management App” is a lightweight flexible template complete with pre-built lists to help your service organization effectively monitor, manage, control and execute on service requests.  Our mission is to help organizations at any level meet the increasing demand placed on service teams.

The EPM Live Service Management App will support your service team’s capability to ensure maximum employee productivity and achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction.  This template includes capabilities to help your service organization effectively monitor, manage, control and execute on all service requests.

By managing your Service Requests with your EPM Live solution, you can incorporate the platform’s features including process management, time management, resource management and cost management.  Easily convert Service Requests to Projects for those items that evolve into a larger project.  Help your teams to work effectively and efficiently to provide all technology delivery services.

 

 

Service Management App” Highlights

  • Incident Management

 

  • Work Log – Quickly log time within a simple status interface

  • Collaborate on Service Requests using EPM Live Comments Feature

EPM Live has many templates to choose from to meet every work management need!  To learn more contact us!