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Increasing Visibility into Project Performance With Project Online

By Baz Khinda

Following on from the introductory article last month The Future PMO Tool is not Excel, let’s continue to understand how you could continue to work smarter to increase visibility into Project Performance using Microsoft Project Online.

To illustrate this, let’s consider a current and real-world programme that many organisations are currently undertaking to deliver General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance.

GDPR was approved by the EU Parliament on 14 April 2016, with an enforcement date of 25 May 2018, a date that is fast approaching as we hurtle towards the end of 2017!

Any organisations guilty of “non-compliance will face heavy fines” so it’s quite vital that you ensure your organisations ‘GDPR Compliance Programme’ is on track and that you have real-time visibility of all the workstreams so that you can identify any bottlenecks before they become a significant issue.

So, do you have clear visibility on all the portfolios, programmes and projects taking place within your department or across the organisation? To answer that question, let’s perform a quick litmus test! Would you be able to answer any of the following questions, based on real-time information:

  1. The number of active projects?
  2. The RAG statuses of those projects ?
  3. The milestones at risk of being missed?
  4. The baseline vs actuals?

If you can, then I’m assuming that one of the following applied to you:

  • You have access to an enterprise wide Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) solution, OR
  • You’re using an Excel based solution

Most organisations from experience are managing large scale transformation programmes such as GDPR compliance using Excel to varying extents, with some organisations being fully reliant upon a complex set of worksheets.

This is not the best approach and I think Master Yoda said it best when he stated, “If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will”; and this applies to Excel, too.

Thanks to its accessibility and the versatility it offers, it’s quickly adopted and moulded in to a makeshift PPM solution. However, before you know it you (and a team) are spending a significant amount of time keeping the data ‘up to date’ and creating a multitude of PivotTables to provide ‘joined up views’.

Don’t end up in that situation! There is a better way in which you can manage your programmes, projects and even BAU activities through Microsoft Project Online which you can access via Office 365.

If you’d like to hear more about the pains associated with an Excel based ‘PPM solution’ then watch our recent webinar which features BOC UK & Ireland who are in the process of transitioning to Project Online.

Microsoft PPM

With Microsoft PPM (Project Online or Project Server) all of your PPM data is centralised, therefore increasing visibility through areas such as the ‘Project Centre’ where you can configure a wide range of versatile, real-time views such as the GDPR Dashboard:

GDPR Dashboard - Microsoft Project Online

The views such as the one above automatically display published information from a range of sources including the schedule and provide you with the ability to drill down and see the detail:

GDPR Schedule - Project Online

Each initiative within Microsoft PPM can also have a dedicated Programme or Project Site (SharePoint Site) linked to it, which provides with a centralised repository for all of your documentation and RAID logs:

GDPR Programme Setup and Control

Power BI

Aside from viewing the data within Microsoft Project Online, you can also leverage Power BI and the standard Project Content Pack to view an array of interactive dashboards:

Power BI Delivery Overview

Delivery Timelines

Delivery Timelines - Power BI

Project Financials

Project Financials - Power BI

Key Delivery Milestones

Key Delivery Milestones - Power BI

Next Steps
If you would like to see how Microsoft Project Online can help increase visibility then please view the recent webinar we delivered on this topic below.

Of if you’d like to discuss how Wellingtone can support you to implement Microsoft PPM to increase visibility and more then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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