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Archive for the ‘Project Conference’ tag

PPM in 2014 is All about Value

Written by Ben Chamberlain on March 19th, 2014 at 9:44 am

When looking at PPM in 2014, there is one dominant trend – a focus on value.  Speaking at the recent Microsoft Project Conference in Anaheim, Gartner Analyst Donna Fitzgerald told a standing room only crowd that what clients are doing today, simply isn’t good enough.  Improvement depends on an ability to deliver value.

Fitzgerald used Gartner’s maturity scale to tell the story.  She said in order to climb the scale and move from a place where organizations are delivering consistency and process controls to a point where they’re delivering innovation and a continuous stream of value, people need to truly understand how value is defined in their organization.  She explained that there is a chasm between levels 2 and 3 of the maturity scale and in order to bridge that chasm, businesses need to focus on value and better portfolio management which includes value quantification.

“In organizations the focus is now shifting to what is competitive advantage…that makes the success of the planned investments more important,” Fitzgerald said.  She added that the new view of success isn’t about the completion of a project but rather value being generated which requires that projects deliver the enablers not ROI and she emphasized, earning maximum value requires change.

Fitzgerald said that by the time many organizations see the need to change, it’s too late.  “This is our window to move fast and start making changes.”  Among changes she says need to happen are existing practices such as project approval.  Before projects are approved, the business must be clear on what substantive value they’re delivering then establish a tracking mechanism and dynamic reviews to ensure projects stay on track to deliver that planned value.

How do you measure value?  Fitzgerald went through three key points.

  1. Value is not always financial but is expressed in measurable terms – financial or other.
  2. PMO needs tools and information to realize the value – “box checkers” won’t cut it.
  3. The PMO must design the support systems to support value goals – virtual business cases, strategy and value statements and deliverable-based milestones.

She stressed that value generation and benefits realization are not synonymous.  Benefits are contingent on factors outside of the project but measuring value delivered by a project can include a contributor or enabler of a program and is monitored throughout the life of a project.

Her rules for measuring value and financial management capabilities:

  • Projects and programs are approved in portfolio context only
  • Projects are evaluated for the degree to which they support strategy
  • Each project defines how benefits realization process is tracked
  • The portfolio supports dynamic reviews
  • Project/program has to include all changes to get it done, not siloed to different areas

Fitzgerald said it’s time to adopt an enterprise perspective and find a way to provide visibility people can understand.  Although the integrated portfolio approach has been discussed for years, she said today, it’s an imperative.  “The PMO of the future will be a portfolio office…it will think and speak in the language of money, it will be consultative and analytical, it will understand value and how the business can generate it.”  She went on to say that the PMO office will be capable of determining when an investment is going south before it’s too late and is not afraid of confrontation.

Her closing recommendations:

  1. Learn the language of money – adopt a financial focus to support value generation.
  2. Develop a collaborative approach to the business case that focuses on measurable value.
  3. Have a portfolio tool to support value and a strategic focus.
  4. Portfolio transparency and visibility is critical and ensures funding decisions are made in a portfolio context.
  5. Look at product management which provides a longer term perspective and ensures your analysis includes all interdependencies.

“Fundamentally you’ve got to make sure that the analysis is there to support good decision making.”

Learn more about how UMT360 is helping businesses get more value from PPM and Project Server.
UMT360 is built on  SharePoint and is the only Enterprise Portfolio Solution to offer seamless integration with Project Server.  If you’re a Project Server customer, be sure to check out our webpages on UMT360 for Project Server.

How to get Started Integrating Project Financial Controls

Written by Ben Chamberlain on February 6th, 2014 at 8:22 am

At this week’s Microsoft Project Conference in Anaheim, attendees packed into the session about Benefits Realization wanting to know what they can do to better achieve project and portfolio benefits.  UMT360’s Ben Chamberlain presented the Benefits Realization session and told the crowd that it is essential to start looking at projects as business investments.  That means you have to begin to integrate financial management capabilities with PPM so that financial controls are in place to make you aware of issues so you can make needed adjustments throughout the life cycle to ensure benefits realization.

Ben suggested that organizations take a phased approach to integrating financial controls:

  1. Establish the Financial Management Foundation – Establish your financial structures, cost benefit, investment governance, controls and integrate within your PPM system, your planning and execution system.  Have the data related to your strategic initiatives in one place.
  2. Integrate with System of Record – The ERP system plays a very important role in providing the actual cost information for a project.
  3. Automate Management Reports – Time taken to build reports takes time away from analysis so automating the reports allows the PMO to focus on more strategic elements of the process.
  4. Analyze/Optimize Capital Spend – Use variance analysis to help you dynamically reallocate funds based on the overall project performance to continuously maximize value and the ROI you’re getting from your portfolio.

Ben’s presentation is available here.  Want to learn more?  Contact UMT360 for a free demo to see how it works.

Announcement from UMT360 Partner – Project Hosts

Written by Ben Chamberlain on February 1st, 2014 at 5:01 pm

UMT360 partner Project Hosts today announced it has Private Custom Clouds available for UMT360’s complete line of Enterprise Portfolio Management Solutions at Project Conference 2014.  You can read Project Hosts’ full press release at    If you are attending the Microsoft Project Conference in Anaheim starting tomorrow, visit UMT360 at booth 501.

Marquette University Shares How UMT360 Helped Them Get More from Project Server

Written by Ben Chamberlain on January 28th, 2014 at 8:00 am

Marquette University has expanded its use of Project Server – adding UMT360 capabilities to help it maximize the value of its PPM platform.  The university went from using Project Server as a simple repository of project schedules to doing so much more including using it for the capital selection process.

At Microsoft’s Project Conference next week in Anaheim, Dan Smith and Aaron Ott from Marquette will share what went into their decision to upgrade, how they’re using UMT360 to add capabilities and the lessons learned from their experience.  If you’re attending the conference, join them Tuesday, February 4th from 5:00 to 6:15pm in room 204A.  Want to know more about how UMT360 helps Project Server customers get more from their PPM?  Contact us at today.


UMT360 Gives Utility Financial Intelligence

Written by Ben Chamberlain on January 27th, 2014 at 8:00 am

Frank La RoccaCon Edison’s Director of Financial Governance Frank La Rocca is using Microsoft Project Server and UMT360 to provide financial intelligence across the company’s $2 billion portfolio.    He discussed how UMT360 is helping him optimize the capital spend and drive results during the Microsoft Project Conference in Anaheim earlier this year.  He also shared his governance framework for increasing financial intelligence, building a credible PMO, establishing a ‘sweep process’ to dynamically reallocate capital spend and more.

La Rocca has a sharp understanding of the importance of Portfolio Financial Intelligence.  When he was named VP at a major northeastern utility company, he says the CFO and COO told him they wanted to ensure IT spending was aligned with corporate strategy.  To answer strategic alignment questions, he went in search of information about the total portfolio spend and value but says that information was difficult to come by.

“The answers had to be culled from many different systems and spreadsheets and from interviewing the right people.”

La Rocca says having financial transparency was key to his being able to achieve his team’s goals and support the organization’s overall strategy.  At the Project Conference, Frank discussed financial intelligence, his experience identifying the software that would best help him achieve his goals, and how it is working for him today.

Click the links below to view the series of complimentary UMT360 webinars presented by Frank La Rocca.

Portfolio Financial Intelligence Boosts ROI 
Build a Dynamic Sweep Process to Reallocate Funds 
Benefits Realization – Unleash the Power of the PMO