Read Mini Case Studies
Johnson County, the most populous county in the state of Kansas which includes the city of Overland Park—a major suburb of Kansas City—manages an enormous amount of technology for its internal government clients. Charged with this responsibility, the Department of Technology and Innovation (DTI) provides information management and technology services, maintains technological infrastructures, identifies deficiencies, and analyzes requirements while supervising e-government initiatives and programs. As part of its Vision Statement, the department seeks to “revolutionize the way public service is provided in Johnson County.”
Achieve better visibility of projects by revolutionizing technology
Consistent with its vision to revolutionize, DTI determined that its portfolios of projects which were currently being managed in separate silos throughout the department needed to be consolidated. The consolidation into one repository would enable staff to have an immediate and transparent glimpse inside every initiative the department was handling. It would also provide centralized visibility into the specific resource requirements for each of these projects.
Overall, DTI wanted to get a better understanding of how its internal resources and contractors were being utilized across the entire enterprise of technology projects and programs. Currently, it was very difficult to gauge whether a particular resource was overallocated or underutilized based on estimated capacities. By revolutionizing its project portfolio management capabilities, DTI believed it could deliver a better, more efficient, and cost-effective service to its core constituents.
Fast-track the deployment of Microsoft PPM by cutting delivery time by 50%
Johnson County determined a Microsoft cloud-based solution, Project Online, would provide the greatest bang for the buck in its effort to wrangle all its currently dispersed technology projects and resources into a centralized enterprise. Working on a tight budget and timeline, the County turned to EPM Solutions which provides an innovative approach to PPM implementation called FasTrack™.
FasTrack™ allows an organization, like Johnson County, to deploy Microsoft-based PPM technology with a prescriptive approach. It is more turnkey than a full-blown customization and can be implemented economically with a best practices design built directly into its core. The County opted for this approach and was able to create a centralized repository of project and resource data in less than half the time it would normally take using a more traditional approach.
With a centralized repository established, the County was now able to add automated reporting using Microsoft Power BI as its primary delivery system. For the very first time, Johnson County could view all its portfolios of technology projects in one place and provide on-demand business intelligence to its stakeholders with dazzling data visualizations. Using the FasTrack™ approach, this was all accomplished with curated features, modules, and best practice configurations to make it easier to get started. For Johnson County, this resulted in a much more economical deployment that ultimately cut the cycle time for delivery by 50%.
Tarrant County, Texas—encompasses the city of Fort Worth, the 16th largest city in the United States—provides top-tier service to about 60 customers dispersed across the county including high-profile customers such as elected officials and department heads, and manages the county’s all kinds of facilities. Being a very busy county and with the IT department of approximately 175 employees, they make judicious use of contractors to complete projects on time, within budget, and in scope. Projects include software development, commercial off-the-shelf implementations, and the managing of capital infrastructure. Recently, the county established a new Project Portfolio Management Office (PPMO) which is maturing and now has centralized ownership of project managers.
Lack of Project Visibility and Resource Planning
The Chief Information Officer (CIO), a forward-thinker, had a specific vision for the way technology should be used to manage a busy department responsible for managing technology for everybody else in the county. The vision was really another way of addressing the challenges the maturing department was now facing. It included the need for a consolidated, one true source for all project and resource management data with consistent policies and procedures, including a common demand management platform that gives visibility into upcoming potential projects. There was also a need for centralized reporting across the project portfolios that would leverage the data already entered as well as the ability to assign and change prioritization of projects.
Centralized Project, Resource, Demand and Capacity Forecasting
EPM Solutions of San Ramon, California was engaged to implement a cloud-based Microsoft PPM solution—Project Online. As part of the implementation, EPM Solutions created a custom Request Management module in SharePoint that integrated directly with Tarrant County’s incident response management system—ServiceNow. When a specific incident was worthy of being considered a potential project, it would be manually flagged by a member of the ITD staff and appropriate data would be fed to the SharePoint list which operates as the common demand management system for the department. Once in the SharePoint list, a project proposal could be vetted using the formal evaluation process established by the department spearheaded by several Business Technology Consultants (BTCs). If a project proposal makes it all the way through the workflow, it can be automatically elevated to the Project Center of Microsoft Project Online. Once in there, it would be managed as a formal project.
Microsoft PPM also provides a full central repository for storing all information related to projects, resources, and assignments. The data in the central repository can then be used to generate an array of business intelligence—dashboards and reports—leveraging the data already entered in the system. Business intelligence delivered through Microsoft Power BI provides dazzling data visualizations. As part of the deployment, EPM Solutions re-created several legacy reports that could be generated automatically. Prior to that, ITD staff members spent numerous hours manually creating these reports on a regular basis.
Best known for its tourism, Sonoma County, California—the heart of “wine country”—is a very active county supporting the needs of nearly half a million constituents. At the center of its technology efforts is the Information Systems Department (ISD) responsible for providing leadership, support, and coordination of all information management, computing systems, and related infrastructure for most county departments. The Steering Committee of ISD establishes policy for developing major systems, integration with newer technologies, and sets standards for the utilization of technology in all departments. Given its mandate, ISD is charged with managing large numbers of ongoing projects to support the business requirements of 62 county departments and agencies.
Assessing its current capabilities for PPM readiness
ISD was investigating the possibility of integrating its enterprise resource planning system, Microsoft Dynamics SL, with a possible implementation of Project Server—Microsoft’s on-premise solution for project portfolio management (PPM). The department was evaluating its capabilities in anticipation of supporting an increased demand for technology projects while county funding remained mostly stagnant.
The department faced the challenge of not being quite sure if the processes currently in place were at a level that would support an immediate shift to PPM technology. The department’s leadership certainly had a vision for where they wanted to go in the longer term, but decided to take a more prudent step at this juncture. It was determined that some type of independent evaluation of their “readiness” was a prerequisite before plunging forward and fully adopting a PPM structure for the department.
Engage an expert to provide a PPM maturity analysis
Sonoma County hired EPM Solutions to provide an analysis of its readiness for fully engaging with Microsoft-based PPM technology. The framework for this detailed evaluation was based on the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model or OPM3®—a globally recognized best-practice standard for assessing and developing capabilities in executing strategy through projects via portfolio management, program management, and project management. This rigorous system was developed by the industry’s premiere organization—the Project Management Institute (PMI).
As part of this structured evaluation, a detailed roadmap for improved performance was developed for Sonoma County to follow. The entire process was conducted by a certified expert at EPM Solutions who scrutinized all ISD’s five major processes under the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) published by PMI. This system provides a method for organizations, like Sonoma County, to more fully understand their project management processes and practices, and to make them capable of performing successfully, consistently, and predictably.
Along with the OPM3® maturity analysis, EPM Solutions provided Sonoma County with an assessment of its project schedule maturity and a draft of suggested requirements for the specific use of Microsoft PPM technology within ISD in the near future. The document provided workable guidance on how a system like Project Server could be effectively implemented and rolled out in a graduated manner.
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