How to Automate and Simplify Project Management

Throughout the world of nonprofit organizations, project teams are facing increasing demands but with very limited resources. As if the challenges of successful project execution were not enough, many teams are left to manage their operations with a series of time-consuming, manual processes and multiple, disparate tools.

Because the use of different tools including Microsoft Word, Excel, and others is widespread through the organization, it often leads to information silos. For example, if an updated report is sent by email, but one or more people are accidentally excluded from the recipient list, those individuals are left to continue operating without vital information. It’s not difficult to imagine how this scenario could lead to errors and confusion. By creating a single repository for all project-related information, you can break down the barriers between data silos and improve efficiencies.

For many project teams working with limited resources, having all project data in one place is a huge benefit. Not only is it incredibly convenient when it comes to locating information – it also allows for faster, more accurate reporting and analysis. When combined with capacity planning, automation and forecasting, teams can go beyond traditional project management and govern the entire portfolio of projects. This is where Project Portfolio Management (PPM) comes into play.

Boston College Sees Success with PPM

Boston College, a private Jesuit Catholic research university located six miles west of downtown Boston, discovered PPM supports three key functions for their organization.

  • Proposal Management: PPM provides the ability to analyze proposed projects to determine their requirements and look at if/when adequate resources will be available. This paints a picture of where resources are allocated and for how long, allowing teams to build plans backed by data and recognize bottlenecks before they happen.
  • Ongoing Project Management: Once a project is approved with an established timeline, continued management is essential to staying on track. With PPM, there is clear visibility into individual projects and groups of projects including scheduling, resource assignment, and reporting.
  • Managing Non-Project Work: Having a pulse on resource commitment levels helps to ensure that work unrelated to or outside side the scope of a project does not threaten milestones and timelines.

“The ability to have a single repository or system where you can plan, track, and manage the entire portfolio of work is really very valuable,” said Denis Walsh, Director of Project Planning and Portfolio Governance at Boston College.

If you’re considering a PPM solution, Walsh recommends you make sure the platform you select is flexible. Flexibility in the configuration of the product provides a solid foundation to build out your specific implementation.

Using TeamDynamix for PPM has given Boston College the ability to have a complete picture of what their resources are scheduled to, “[Being able to] plan that out six, eight, nine months or more into the future is one of the key areas the tool has made a difference,” said Walsh. “It has helped us with resource capacity planning. We use the capacity planner to look at what’s being introduced or being requested, and to make sure that we see and identify any resource constraints or bottlenecks before they actually happen.”

Read the full story of how Boston College automated and simplified their project management processes with Project Portfolio Management.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated with new information.

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