#AmazingPM, PPM, project management

Checklist: How to Determine When to Hire a Vendor

Build-a-PC-checklist-featured-imageAre you thinking of putting in a piece of technology to support your business?  Does the technology look easy enough to install without professional help, with only you and your internal team to get it done?  Answer these two questions then when choosing whether to hire a vendor or not:

  1. Do you have time?
  2. Which choice is cheaper?

“Do you have time?” literally asks if you can wait for the results you want from the new technology.  There is a learning curve with new technology.  Not everything goes perfectly.  Ask yourself honestly not if you have the skills to implement the new tech but rather if you have the time to figure something out when you get stuck and if you can indulge in the luxury of time spent waiting to benefit from using the new technology while figuring out the install.

“Do you have time?” also wonders if you (or your team) literally have nothing else to do, if you have plenty of “spare” time.  Avoid asking people to multi-task, especially if one of the tasks is important (e.g. implementing new technology).  If you ask busy people to put in new tech as a new chore for their day job, they will likely take shortcuts while missing small details with big impact during the long term.

By the way, “Do you have time?” can also reference the full duration of the implementation.  What happens if your business-mission workloads increase and your previously idle people are now needed to get “real” work done?  Does the new technology implementation get shelved?

Assuming your answer to “Do you have time?” is yes, next ask, “Which choice (DIY or hire a vendor) is cheaper?” by looking at costs comprehensively.  As long as your internal salaries are lower than vendor services rates, if your only variable for cost is NPV cash flow dollars, the answer will always be Do It Yourself unless you are truly honest with the magnitude of the learning curve your team faces.  Remember – vendors have already faced the learning curve.

Looking at current out-of-pocket dollars usually ignores both tangible and intangible future out-of-pocket costs (cash flow dollars) as well as opportunity costs (benefits lost by investing on DIY efforts instead).  Here is a brief listing of some costs and benefits you may want to consider for DIY:

  • Direct labor + benefits of implementation team
  • Allowance for break/fix mistakes from learning (risk budget)
  • Emotions of workforce with new technology implementation (some people will love doing this work beyond their job description, others may be stressed and hate the whole thing)
  • Benefits gained from increased internal expertise with the new technology
  • Risks from staff turnover using new skills
  • Benefits foregone from resource cost investment (what good things did you give up or not get because you asked people to do this instead of other things?)
  • The value of having someone external to the team accountable for the new technology performance
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#AmazingPM, PPM, project management, Reports

Recipe for creating an effective report

report1Why do you use reports?

Most people use reports in business to learn something about something in the business. Project management reports, if designed properly, inform the reader well enough to decide if action need be taken regarding the report subject. Reports are communication devices cum learning aids meant for wide audiences in the control process. Anything associated with learning can benefit from instructional design techniques, so use instructional design approaches to building reports and see report quality improve.

Three instructional design tools are particularly useful for designing reports: Bloom’s taxonomy, learning outcomes, and the ADDIE model.

Start with Bloom’s taxonomy when designing new reports because the information hierarchy it calls out informs the report writer on the type of data and detail required to accomplish the appropriate level of cognition. A status report that supports a reader’s ability to recall, understand, or apply the data holds fewer cognitive demands and can be supported by a smaller data set than a forecast that asks people to analyze, evaluate, or create thinking. Bloom’s taxonomy provides a mechanism where the verbs associated with the desired level of cognition can be incorporated into the learning outcomes.

“Validate the level of performance of UAT results by listing test scripts attempted, test scripts passed, reason for failure and frequency count of reasons.”

This is an example of a learning outcome with the highest order of Bloom’s taxonomy (validating something requires an evaluative level of cognition). Learning outcomes define the knowledge, skills, or abilities a learner is meant to achieve from a given lesson or instructional material. Learning outcomes are typically comprised of objectives. Drafters of objectives are typically advised to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Use the verbs from Bloom’s taxonomy to guide the wording of the specificity of the learning outcomes.

Next, use the ADDIE model to accomplish the learning outcomes with the reports. Analyze the data needed for the audience looking to act on the report. Design not only the data outlay but also source collection methods. Develop and implement the report by publishing to the intended audience. Evaluate the report through routine feedback on its usefulness to complete the full ADDIE cycle and make changes as they make sense.

In other words, when looking to create a new report, follow this recipe:

  1. List your report-reader’s cognitive-level learning outcome(s) for the report (e.g. “Be able to speculate on the root cause of product bugs”) based upon using Bloom’s taxonomy to be specific.
  2. Follow ADDIE to discover then leverage the data needed to achieve the intended report outcomes.
  3. Get feedback on what works. Fix what needs fixing. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

#AmazingPM, Events, PPM

Know Before You Go – Gartner PPM Summit Preparation

The Gartner PPM Summit is coming up next week, and anyone attending will want to prepare in advance to take full advantage of the show.

trade-showMost people attending Gartner are investing resources researching which Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solution and/or vendors they want to work with for their enterprise project management. Vendors have paid handsomely for the right to present their wares just as Conference attendees have also paid well for the right to go shopping. All attendees make these investments with no apologies that everyone attending is looking to do some business. Make the most of your investment as an attendee by taking advantage of the following methods to prepare for the conference.

  1. Know what you don’t know and want to learn – there are four tracks at the Gartner show (a. Pioneer, b. Partner, c. Build, & d. Transform) that will focus on a. “New” (methods, PPM approaches, metrics), b. culture/change management, c. optimization and alignment, and d. governance and tools. Understand which of these tracks you don’t understand and write down what questions you have on them before attending any sessions.
  2. Understand which primary technology stack(s) you want to consider – there are seventeen product manufacturers (congratulations to Planview for top marks two years in a row!) and you will not be able to take them all in during the show. Prioritize your time to get to the booths of the vendors who support the technology you might buy so you can meet them in person. (Remember, Innovative-e supports Microsoft primarily, we integrate with other technologies, and we will be in booth 213!)
  3. Prepare advance questions to assess vendor ability to understand the PPM vision for your business – ask your prospective vendors how they approach understanding the value of your system to you.
  4. Prepare advance questions to assess vendor ability to execute the PPM vision for your business – ask your prospective vendors how they approach delivery and quality. (Remember, delivery is all about meeting constraints and quality is all about consistency!)
  5. Prepare advance questions to assess vendor integrity and reliability such as asking them to describe a time when a project failed, and customers didn’t get what they wanted. How did it happen? What did the vendor do to remedy the situation?
  6. Have a tool and an approach to evaluate vendors – use a consistent rating tool by all the members of the evaluating team. Explore different scores with qualitative discussions. Use standardized scoring and a weighting system to evaluate across multiple factors. Innovative-e has an example weighted scoring matrix in an excel file, send a request to eoin.callan@innovative-e.com for a copy if you would like to see how it works.

Innovative-e is incredibly excited and eager for the Gartner PPM Summit and to meet with everyone! We welcome your questions of us and look forward to the chance to help you achieve your goals using #AmazingPM.

See you next week in Booth 213!

 

#AmazingPM, OutageHawk, PPM, solutions

Equipping Yourself with the Right Project Management Tools in Heavy Manufacturing

Do you manage projects in the manufacturing industry? Innovative-e offers an array of #AmazingPM tools to deliver winning projects, realize better ROI on PM portfolio investments, and empower your teams with decisive insight and control over your projects.  Ranging from mass-produced, OOTB Microsoft products to standardized, yet tailored, Innovative-e services and products, our tools answersthe question, “What should you have in YOUR toolbox?”Tools.jpg

Tools in Innovative-e’s Toolbox for the Manufacturing PM

Microsoft PPM

Microsoft PPM provides, on its own, robust project management capabilities to maximize business value. Increase PM performance and project throughput, optimize productivity by increasing resource utilization, and improve enterprise resource management with Microsoft Project with cost-effective features such as:

  • Easy time and task management
  • Robust issue and risk mitigation
  • Intuitive collaboration
  • Wide-spread access from virtually anywhere

Check out our fact sheet about the business value of Microsoft PPM here.

OutageHawk™

Built to leverage the power of Microsoft PPM, OutageHawk™ is an outage planning and performance management tool created especially for PMs in heavy industry. OutageHawk™ enables project managers in pulp and paper manufacturing plants, chemical manufacturers, energy companies and other heavy manufacturing industries to manage non-routine, planned maintenance outages, plant upgrades, and critical repair outages smarter and more efficiently to come in on-schedule and under budget safely, sometimes by millions of dollars.

Manufacturing PMs who use OutageHawk™ will be able to:

  • Make better informed decisions where to apply resources on critical tasks
  • Gain improved visibility on schedule drivers and the lock-out/tag-out status of jobs
  • ​Maximize collaboration by adopting a tool designed to work with teams

Want to know more? Download our two-page brochure about OutageHawk™ here or watch our short video about how to use #AmazingPM on your next outage.

Edison365 Projects

Edison365 Projects (previously known as PS+) is an award-winning add-on for Microsoft Project to empower you and your team with even greater insight and control than comes with standard OOTB PPM. Improve collaboration and manage your entire project from start to finish with an intuitive add-on that extends Microsoft Project’s capabilities to give you:

  • Easy-to-use OOTB apps and aids to increase system adoption and productivity immediately
  • Visibility into portfolio project management performance
  • Management reporting
  • Finance management

With Edison365, you’ll gain insights into your portfolio project management performance, take control of resources and expenditures, make more informed decisions, have critical near-real-time information at your fingertips, maximize your resources, and enable more productive collaboration. All of this in an easy-to-use, intuitive interface!

Read this comparison to see how Edison365 Projects deepens and enhances Microsoft PPM, or watch our recorded webinar, “Accelerate Your PM with Edison365 Projects.”

Customer Success Management Services (CSMS) Subscription

With these PPM tools at your disposal, you want to protect your investment and make the very most of it. Innovative-e’s Customer Success Management Services (CSMS) subscription and Application Management and Ongoing Adoption (AMOA) service product give a solid foundation for your user community and your PPM toolset. We will train you to effectively use, manage, and maintain these tools to achieve your business goals at your desired level of self-sufficiency.

Innovative-e uses our years of expertise and stable of PPM subject matter experts to address your PM pain points and attain your organization’s project management goals using the people, processes, and technology you already have in place.

csm

Use some or all of these tools to maximize productivity, gain better visibility into your portfolio project management, and access up-to-date project performance information to enable informed business decisions. These tools lead to better control over resource management, project scheduling, and portfolio reporting so projects stay on time, on- or under-budget. Each of these tools is designed to help project managers across a number of industries do what they aim to do with their project portfolios and they are especially helpful for PMs on projects in the manufacturing industry.

If you want better ROI and decisive insight from your manufacturing industry project management tools, drop us a line at info@innovative-e.com today!

#AmazingPM, Events, PPM, project management

Innovative-e at Microsoft PPM Summit in Atlanta

Microsoft and select partners, including Innovative-e, held a free one-day summit in Atlanta on May 11. This summit was a chance for executives, project managers, and project team members to learn about the power of Microsoft Project across different workloads and industries.

Microsoft’s PPM Summit was an opportunity for attendees to gain critical PM insights, discover new solutions, and network with their fellows.

Innovative-e’s Mike Taylor (President) and Eoin Callan (Managing Partner) were among EC at ATL PPM Summit May 2017the presenters at the summit.

Innovative-e’s presentation, “Transparency & Adoption: 3 Steps to Creating an Amazing PM Solution,” showed attendees a simple and straightforward approach to solving complex project, process, and change management challenges when implementing large scale Integrated Master Scheudle (IMS) PPM systems.

Mike and Eoin discussed how Innovative-e provides its customers with continuously amazing PM experiences.

MT at ATL PPM Summit May 2017

  1. Start quickly
  2. Achieve Winnable Wins
  3. Sustain Adoption

Innovative-e’s approach to creating and implementing an amazing solution for its customers is transparent, iterative, and disciplined and follows this equation:

Value = Transparency x Adoption.

 

  • First, we always seek to leverage OOTB (out-of-the-box) Microsoft PPM platform feature functionalities.
  • Then, if necessary, we implement Best-in-Class third-party add-ons to fill any gaps for productivity, process automation, and reporting.
  • We focus configuration of solutions around role-based specific business process needs to optimize value and adoption.
  • Finally, as a last resort if necessary, we develop code to meet specific business requirements, always leveraging Microsoft-compatible APIs using disciplined development methodologies.

How can our approach enable you to transform your PPM solution? Drop us a line at info@innovative-e.com and let us know your pain points. The first three respondents will receive a free consultation (worth $500!).

 

#AmazingPM, Microsoft news, News, PPM, project management, Project Online

30K Projects!

Innovative-e, a Microsoft partner with a Gold PPM competency, is always on the lookout for ways to make #AmazingPM even more amazing for our customers. Microsoft is continually improving, too. Recently, Microsoft announced some exciting improvements to Project Online.

30K projects Proj Online

  • Project Online was previously limited to 5,000 projects – that max has now been raised 6x to 30,000 projects!
  • Additionally, project sites were previously capped at 2,000. That limit has also been bumped to 30,000, and will scale on a 1:1 basis with the number of projects in the PWA.
  • More fine-tuned control over where project sites can be provisioned is now available. For example, different site collections can be specified for different EPTs so that project sites can be logically segregated.
  • Some OData performance enhancements have been made, which should improve SSIS pulls.

Learn more about these enhancements to Project Online at the Project Online blog, here.

#AmazingPM, PPM, project management, PS+, solutions

Time to Take a New Look at Today’s PPM Solutions – Extending Microsoft Project Online, Part 2

In our last blog post, about using market-leading Microsoft-aligned products to enhance the OOTB functionality of Project Online, we talked about the benefits of using these products, and spotlighted a few of such products that your organization might be able touse, or might already be using.

We wanted to mention at greater length another solution that can vastly improve your OOTB Project Online experience to give you #AmazingPM: PS+.5580_CPS_PS-US-Web-Banners-x-2_262x450

PS+ is a pre-configured, best-practice solution to enhance Project Online by improving visibility and transparency into projects and portfolios for decisionmakers, and improving ease-of-use for users. The folks who made PS+ won the 2016 Microsoft Partner of the Year award for this solution, which seamlessly integrates with Project Online to bring better navigation, clearer data for better reporting and analysis, preconfigured templates, and other productivity-boosting features.

Innovative-e is the premier US partner for PS+, which you can test drive for free and with no risk or obligation (drop us an email if you want to know more!).

When examining the PPM solution you have in place, consider PS+ to augment Microsoft Project Online to accelerate your PM, make it easier for stakeholders to look at the big picture, and make it easier for users to use.

Watch the 3-minute video about for a quick overview of what’s now possible with PPM solutions.