There is a significant opportunity to enable the Project Manager and project management processes with more accurate, available and real-time information with the integration of Project Management and Service Desk software into a single software platform. In this blog post, we’ll review the project management processes as defined by the PMBOK 5th Edition and how the proposed integration can benefit them. It is significant to note that the focus is not to just help the Project Management personnel but, that by improving their access to accurate and real-time information the project management processes themselves will become easier to execute and will be more accurate. Thus, facilitating significant project management improvements.
Project Initiation Processes
During the project initiation processes, the project manager is Estimating Activity Resources, Estimating Activity Durations, Developing the Schedule, Estimating the Costs and Determining the Budget.
The inputs of these processes include Organization Processes Assets, (OPA) and Enterprise Environmental Factors, (EEF). These will include historical data, HR systems, employee calendars and time sheets, help desk systems and current project management systems.
(Organizational Process Assets may include but not limited to all the documents, templates, policies, procedures, plans, guidelines, lesson learned, historical data and information, earned value, estimating, risk, etc. http://www.pmbody.com/organizational-process-assets/)
(Enterprise environmental factors (EEFs) refer to both internal and external factors that surround or influence a project’s success. These factors may come from any or all of the enterprises involved in the project. Enterprise environmental factors may enhance or constrain project management options and may have a positive or negative influence on the outcome. Consider EEFs as inputs to most planning processes. pmreviews.org/2010/12/29/pmp- concepts-enterprise-environmental-factors/)
The Project Manager then pores over this data to formulate a picture of the individual and group availability for their project.
The process of data gathering is made more complicated by the need to verify much of the data through interviews and networking. Certain parts of the data, if integrated together: the OPAs components of EEF’s as well as service desk, project management, schedules, calendars and time sheets; could provide the Project Manager with much of the information required to execute the project initiation processes. Historical projects and time sheet from projects provide a glimpse into the past. Current schedules for tasks and projects provide a view into individual and team future involvements. Historical aspects of service desk involvement provide statistical data that can be used to plot future availability.
As the project moves from initiation into the planning processes the need for the resource utilization and availability information again requires the project manager to leverage OPA’s, EEF’s and existing help desk and project management systems to assign resources to the project. Perform resource assignment in conjunction with meetings and networking with other managers and resources. The integration of OPA’s and EEF’s with help desk and project management software would have a dramatic effect on the planning process, creating impacts to the accuracy of the project plan outputs including estimates, budgets for funding and procurement, and the human resources plan.
The Project Manager’s ability to execute the plan is a critical factor in the success of the project. In running the project, there are many inputs — not the least of these is OPA’s, EEF’s and Project Management Systems. The addition of Service Desk, calendaring and time sheet into the OPA + EEF equation can provide the Project Manager with greater access to critical data affecting the completion of project tasks.
Specifically, in a non-dedicated project model, resources may be required to work on operational and support systems as well as perform their project tasks. The absence of a resource, if not easily replaced, may skew the project schedule to a greater or lesser degree.
Integration of service desk and project management systems, as well as scheduling and time sheets, can provide the project manager with the information they need to determine if resources need to be procured, scheduled revised, etc.
Human Resource Management
Human resource management processes including the Development of the HR Plan, Development of the Project Team and Management of the Project Team include, again OPA’s and EEF’s as well as the processes around networking, performance reports, calendar and current assignments. This mountain of information, thankfully, only has to be collated and reviewed when there is a revision to the project through a change request or project schedule update. However, these processes are impacted by readily available and real-time data. The time savings associated with collating the data, networking and interviewing is significant, and the accuracy of the information would increase exponentially.
You can easily track Risk Management in a spreadsheet, but there could be considerable organizational benefits from having risks stored with the rest of the project management information.
Scope, cost and schedule risks may be easier to identify in a system that is integrated. Bringing together OPA’s and EEF’s and systems with resources will help the project manager in their awareness of risks associated with scope creep, cost overruns, and schedule slippage.
Inputs for procurement management, of course, include the OPA’s and EEF’s but also required for risk management are the risks themselves, budgets and schedule. To make effective decisions — especially those related to replacing an internal resource that is not available to work on the task — the Project Manager is going to revisit schedules, calendars, cost estimates and the risk register to plan the procurement of additional resources effectively. If the Project Manager’s tool sets were integrated — projects + operational work + schedule work + time sheets + calendars + resource allocations — then the Project Manager’s task of managing procurement would be easier. There would be less collating of data, interviews, and networking; a more accurate outline of the procurement requirements and increased ability to measure the procured resource usage against budgeted values.
In summary, the impact of integrating project management and service desk into a single software platform on project management would be significant. From planning through to executing, monitoring and controlling the project — the Project Manager and project management processes would become more workable and doable. Let’s face it, many of the project management processes can become “optional” based on the level of difficulty in executing them vs. their overall benefit, but the benefit of Project Management to an organization and a customer is in detail. Therefore, enabling the Project Manager with accurate, easily accessed data results in better projects, and happier customers. See how you can plan and organize your projects.