Tag Archive for project management

Project Managing an RFP

Project management can be applied to a number of different business problems, so why can't project management tools? Recently I was asked by a CorasWorks prospective customer if we had a way for them to manage RFPs without requiring a special application to do the job. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I suggested they use our Project Portfolio Management solution to track and manage their RFPs.

The Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution from CorasWorks allows you to configure your project sites as you want, enabling and disabling functionality as needed. For the purpose of managing RFPs a trimmed down version of a PPM project site will do the trick.

Step 1 – Create an RFP portfolio site

To keep everything neat and organized, create a portfolio in PPM and use that as the starting place for all new RFP sites as they need to be created. By generating the RFP site from the portfolio, it is automatically connected to the portfolio and the information from all the RFP sites are aggregated together.

Step 2 – Auto-provision a RFP site

Using the portfolio auto-provisioning function in PPM, create a new project site. Go into the new site and disable all the main tabs except for Plan, Communicate, Documents, and Configure. You've now defined a default set of features to manage the tasks, share discussions, and store documents.

Step 3 – Set up the RFP tasks

Go into the Plan area and use the Gantt chart to enter the series of tasks you need to do to manage your RFP. This doesn't need to be a complex series of tasks and relationships. Your listing of tasks could be a simple milestone list to track what needs to be done by when.

Tip: Create tasks with Finish to Start relationships one after the other and then set the duration on the tasks but not the date due. Once you have all the relationships and the durations, just enter the start date on the first task and the rest will schedule themselves accordingly.

Now you can use the site to manage the documents for your RFP by loading them into the Documents section, share conversations about the RFP in the Communicate section, and manage the schedule of the RFP through the Plan section. There are a number of other changes you can make to the PPM project and portfolio sites to optimize managing your RFPs, not to mention templating your RFP process sites to make start up more efficient, but that's for another post.


PPMv2 – Social Project Management

As we launch PPM v2 into the market, I’d like to share some of the thinking and ideas behind the solution, specifically our thoughts and ideas around Social PPM.

If you look at a typical project, it is initiated, planned out, executed, and eventually (hopefully) closed out successfully.  Those are the parts of a project we’re all familiar with.  However, if we look just below this surface of the project, there is much more going on.

People, Process, and Technologies

My personal background is around software process improvement and I have had the honor of working with some of the best and brightest minds trying to solve the problem of managing projects and programs successfully.  In this work, I must have met a dozen people who believe they came up with the concept that to be successful the People, Process, and Technologies must all align and work together.  You may think that sounds obvious, but apparently it isn’t. We’ve found—and its supported by others—that most organizations focus most of their attention on the processes and technologies and completely miss what I consider the most important element of project management. . .the people!

In fact, if you look at an organization of any size, the most people-intensive activity is managing projects.  According to the Project Management Institute, a typical project manager will spend 90% of their time communicating.  A project is made up of nothing but people and it starts all the way back in the PMO.  Usually there is a team who decides which projects get funded and why.  Then a PM is assigned and he/she assembles a team for planning.  Then the project is staffed and the team gets to work.  Yet another set of people are responsible for monitoring portfolios of projects and ensuring they are meeting the business goals and stay on track.  You probably get the point…..there are so many people involved that play such a critical part of success or failure.

Productivity Through Connecting People

It also seems obvious that connecting people who wouldn’t normally interact can have amazing results.  We see this in something as simple as finding childhood friends and reconnecting to communities springing up to solve a problem.  You see people with skills or money providing assets to others around the globe.

Taking this power of social connections to a business context is something that is a hot topic today.  This is why we have integrated a social community component into our PPMv2 solution.  By allowing project teams to have a web 2.0 community, they are able to easily brainstorm, share thoughts and concerns, and even share improvements they find to make their lives easier.  This simple concept of making it easy for a project team to communicate and collaborate completely transforms the way a project team stays connected.  But of course people work in roles and across multiple projects.  We have addressed this as well by integrating communities for each major component of PPMv2.  It is now easy to share with everyone in the PMO, a Portfolio or Program, and even across the entire PPM organization.  Have a great technology or process improvement?  Why not share it and see how big of an impact it can really make!

Social PM

Our goal for PPMv2 was to create a solution to make the entire Project Management process simple to use, flexible to meet your unique needs, and collaborative to unlock the power of teams.  While we have many great new features like a web 2.0 interface, web-based Gantt scheduling component and improved visibility through dynamic dashboards, the heart of our new solution is the people element.  As you get to know PPMv2 you will see that each element is designed to facilitate visibility by team members, not only of hard core project management items, but also visibility into the items that don’t fit into a fixed structure.  Let us know what you think of bringing the social element into the realm of PPM!  We’d love to hear what you have to say.

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