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  • Writer's pictureSujoy Dutta, PMP

Structured Approach to Implementation of Project Online

How to successfully set up your company’s Project Online PPM environment.

Implementing a Microsoft Project Server / Project Online project management solution and integrating it into existing business processes requires deep knowledge as well as broad experience of Project Management.

With my consulting experience to wide range of industries, I help increase the maturity level of project management for my customers, increase efficiencies and enable decisions based on facts. As a result, I contribute to their business success. 

The 5-Phase-Method is based on my many years of hands-on experience in implementing and advising mid-sized and large enterprises in all industry segments. Think of it as the “leitmotif” underpinning the planning and implementation of all their Microsoft project management solutions. 

Phase 1: Solution Design – Clear Definition of Requirements

Initial Situation:

Dates and scope for the workshops have been agreed on. You have invited all the relevant internal and external SMEs to your company to participate, including staff from the project organization, project management department, controlling and the PMO.

Kick-Off Workshop and Recommendation for Further Action:

The goal of the first meeting is to obtain a clear understanding of your current situation as well as of the goals of your enterprise-wide project management solution. We will start by seeing an overview of Microsoft PPM so that everyone understands the system’s capabilities.

We will then collect all the requirements for the system, analyze your company’s existing processes, and make some initial suggestions for proven approaches to meet these requirements. You will receive a report that includes all results as well as some recommendations for the next steps.

Depending on your company’s current situation, I may recommend that processes are optimized first before any work is undertaken on the IT solution. You may even decide that your current need is for a resource management solution rather than a PPM system.

Workshop on Planning Processes:

This workshop is the next step and deals purely with project creation, time tracking, and resource management as well as the appropriate processes, which we will look at irrespective of the IT solution. The resulting high-level solution concept will give you a clear idea of what the next steps are.

Training on PPM Basics and Configuration Workshop:

If the analysis workshops have shown that Microsoft PPM is the right solution for you, the next step is a two-day Microsoft PPM basics training for the core team. As a result of the course, this team will have the knowledge required to make the relevant decisions. The course is an important prerequisite for the next stage – a configuration workshop that defines your new Project Online IT solution.

Result of Phase 1:

At the end of Phase 1, you will have a comprehensive concept for the overall solution. This includes recommendations along with an implementation schedule and a list of deliverables for the implementation phase. These elements form the basis of our detailed and transparent implementation proposal for your project management solution.

Phase 2: Implementation – Building Your PPM Solution

Approach in Phase 2: Implementation of Your Solution

Working together with SMEs and technical specialists, I install your project management solution and integrate it into your IT environment. The sample data from previous system if any is collected during the workshop is transferred to the pilot system. If necessary, I can program extensions to the complete solution and integrate them step by step.

Result of Phase 2

The technical implementation of the project management solution is complete. The system now has a sufficient range of functions to support the transition to the pilot phase.

Phase 3: The Pilot – Rigorous Testing

Approach in Phase 3: The Pilot System

The project team consists of your project manager and specialists from SME Project Group. It guides the pilot team and checks on progress.

The pilot team consists of your project manager and selected key users. They will be trained in the customized Microsoft Project Server system. Pilot team members test the solution in real-life conditions using clearly defined scenarios and using a few existing projects as sample projects. They document all of their results, which may lead to the pilot system being modified to be ready to go live, if necessary.

To ensure the success of this phase, it is essential that both teams (implementation and pilot users) meet regularly; we recommend an interval of weekly meetings.

The Result of Phase 3

The fully configured Microsoft project management solution is ready for production use. The pilot and project teams approve its release from a technical and content-based standpoint.

Phase 4: Rollout – The Optimized Solution Goes Into Production

Approach in Phase 4: The Rollout of the System

All of the tools from the past are replaced by the new enterprise-wide Microsoft project management solution. Your trained administrators and project managers transfer your existing projects and documents to the production environment. Your IT department starts deploying the solution and client softwares to users’ workstations.

In parallel, we must run role-based training for users with up-to-date, company-specific data and structures related to the work processes of each job function i.e Project Manager, Resource Manager, Task execution resources using time sheets to report progress. This enables users to see how the Microsoft project management solution will make their own work easier. This training is very crucial for both ends i.e the top management and bottom users because the dashboards used by the top management will be as good as the project planning, monitoring, data capturing and reporting abilities of the bottom level user group. If this is taken lightly or ignored all investment will be useless.

Depending on the scope of your Microsoft project management solution, it might be advisable or even necessary to customize the training documents beforehand.

Result of Phase 4

You have achieved your goal! Your professional Microsoft project management solution is ready to use. It is being utilized by individually trained users in all areas.

Phase 5: Production – Safe Operation with Competent Support

Approach in Phase 5: Production

Your personalized project management solution is an investment in people, products, and processes. It will be used for many years and become a part of your everyday work.

I will support you with regular user administration, trouble shooting, maintenance, staff coaching, and online support. If necessary, we can adapt the PMI processes based Waterfall / Agile templates in the new system environments for project requirements.

The Final Result with Microsoft Project Server

You get empowered from dashboard views to take quick top level business decisions, simplified workflows and higher efficiency due to your new Microsoft Project Server project management solution.

Connection to free Power BI for out of the box reporting and custom reporting.

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