If you are, have been, or even just work with a project manager you have probably heard of Microsoft Project. Many have even heard of or used Project Server or Project Online. However, few have mastered the art of enabling all parts of the Microsoft Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) system to generate a step-function improvement.
Enabling features within the Microsoft PPM toolset can generate efficiency, improve quality, lower risk, increase visibility, and eliminate non-value added work. These gains are not only directly realized by the Project Management Office (PMO) or project managers, but also indirectly flow downstream to the business unit in which the projects are performed.
Modular Areas and Step-Function Gains of Microsoft PPM
Microsoft PPM is centered around the flagship enterprise solution, Project Online. We call it a modular system because Microsoft PPM is not a one size fits all solution. Lets walk through the some of the pieces step by step, keeping in mind, you can use or not use any part of the system depending on what fits your business.
Getting Started; Project Management in Project Online (Only PMs have Access)
The first step most organizations take is getting all their projects into Project Online. Many organizations even stop at this step, which is unfortunate as this step has a lot of the sunk investment for later steps, but doesn’t provide as much value as adding other modules. Once an organization is in Out of the Box Project Online, they will realize many benefits, better visibility, better quality and configuration control over Project Schedules, improved PMO collaboration.
Configure Project Online for Team Member Access
A short leap from our previous state is to enable some team member collaboration. All that is required of this step is resource loaded schedules, which many organizations already have. With Project Online, your team members can provide status updates to the project manager through the tasks feature and/or enter their entire timesheet tied to the projects they are working on using timesheets.
They also have automated access to the Project SharePoint site where they can collaborate on documents with other team members. With your project data tied directly to team member inputs or even timesheets, your project data is now objective. No longer will you need to worry about guessing effort required to complete tasks, or budget spent, because your metrics are now accurate. This can be quite a culture shock, but once implemented the improvements in quality, risk management, issue resolution, and resource utilization are invaluable.
Take it up a level, Portfolio Management with Portfolio Analyzer
Add Some Smarts; Business Intelligence
In our last phase we talked about a lot of benefits the PMO, business areas, or the company as a whole can realize by enabling those features, although not always required, we can compound the gains by using Power BI to create dashboards, reporting, and even predictive analytics. All that sounds very scary, but part of the Microsoft PPM solution includes the Project Online Content Pack for Power BI, which will give you a huge leg up in this area, and takes just seconds to add to your environment.
Microsoft PPM allows businesses of all sizes and maturities to gain efficiency, quality, risk mitigation, and visibility into the portfolio performance. Immature organizations can start small and bolt on additional tools and features as they grow and their culture adjusts. This allows for a company to start at zero, and step by step, get to their maximum potential.
Great project frameworks also allow for flexibility to meet the uniqueness of each requirement, and they save the enterprise valuable resources by using what works, virtually eliminating redundancy of efforts. The same is true for standards applied to other areas of the organization, outside the PMO, such as customer service, information technology, documentation, and finance, to name a few, and all have cold, hard, cash tied directly to their standardizations.
Align Processes with Strategic Goals
To use Microsoft Project Server to its maximum benefit, companies must input strategic goals so that Project Server analytical tools can determine which new opportunities align with those goals, among other capabilities. This forces an organization to pin down and formalize project team and departmental strategic goals aligning with the overall strategic goals of the company at a higher level.
Foster Data-Driven Quantitative Analysis
Data-driven quantitative analysis has been shown to produce better results than qualitative analyses in proposal effectiveness, marketing, and in any other areas that can be analyzed and evaluated through the use of data. In keeping with the latest expert opinions on the matter, Microsoft Project Server allows for thorough and in-depth quantitative analysis to solve enterprise-wide problems, with its cloud capabilities and use of both Office and online database capabilities.
Microsoft Project Server Training & Support
Microsoft Project Server is more than just an easy-to-use project management add-on to SharePoint. MS Project Server is a complete tool to assist organizations with process improvement, standardization, alignment of goals, and research and analysis that will add significantly to a business’ bottom line.
If you need help navigating Project Server, call Advisicon today. We are ready to help grow your business in the most effective and efficient ways possible.