The New Business Environment

Microsoft launched Project for the web in October of 2019, unveiling “Project Re-imagined”. At the same time, they announced that all future investments in project management tools would focus on maturing Project for the web and creating a compelling offering using the Power platform. This move brings Project Management into the core of Microsoft’s technology vision, enabling direct access in Teams and providing organizations with a flexibility Project Online could never offer. To underscore the significance of this move, here is what Satya Nadella said regarding the Power Platform in January 2019: “Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform, on top of what we’re doing with Azure, is the core of what we are doing as a company”.  The vision is expansive and provides customers the flexibility to create tailored solutions that also integrate all forms of work management across the organization.

The Project for the web Accelerator

Microsoft has now launched a new Project Accelerator built on the Power Platform. This Accelerator combines the low-code no-code application development of Power Apps, the robust workflow and process automation of Power Automate, with the detailed analytics of Power BI to create a compelling PPM solution.

The Accelerator provides immediate value to address the needs of many organizations and the building blocks to satisfy more detailed requirements. This flexibility and versatility is the real promise of the Microsoft vision and the Power Platform.

Breaking the solution into its components, the Accelerator provides compelling functionality in the following areas:

Demand Management

The addition of demand management enables PMs to begin oversight at the intake of projects or requests. Doing so enhances the reporting and information available to properly analyze such requests and promotes better detail management and prioritization of projects. Doing this efficiently also makes it easier to move projects or tasks to the next phase in its lifecycle.

Program Management

The program management capabilities provide for better oversight of various collections of projects that are grouped by a defining characteristic. Properly managed programs are crucial to effective execution due to overarching initiatives growing more complex. It is common to have many interconnected projects that tie into a single program.

Project management

Building off of everything you expect from Project for the web, including project and task management, the Accelerator does away with the individual nature of these projects and adds the management of risks, issues, and change requests. The Accelerator also fosters easier and more precise status reports, providing better governance and showcasing KPIs. This further enhances the flexibility that an organization has to proceed with projects, providing more time for adjustments.

Portfolio Insights/ Risk management

The portfolio insights provided by Power BI and the customization of report packs create the ultimate directional tool for projects and big picture management. Quickly and accurately identifying issues to create visibility around risks bolsters an organization’s knowledge to adjust projects and processes for the optimal outcome. Improved insights enhanced by the Dataverse information repository take purely reactive management out of the equation and open up enhanced decision-making to the past, present, and future of possibilities.

Extending the Microsoft Vision – OnePlan’s Complete Adaptive PPM Solution

For Project Online users, Microsoft has addressed the road ahead as follows: “As a user of Project Online, you will want to know when Project for the web is ready to provide the project management functionality you need to run your business. Aligning your move with the availability of relevant functionality will help ease your users’ transition. We will provide assistance to help you evaluate your current needs. We are working closely with our Project partner ecosystem to ensure they’re ready to help.”

OnePlan, working closely with Microsoft, has developed additional advanced capabilities to extend the new Project for the web Accelerator into a full-featured Adaptive Project Portfolio Management solution that exceeds the functionality of Project Online. This complete solution meets all 9 of Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for Project Portfolio Management Requirements.

The solution can be further extended as needed to meet specific business requirements and to engage business processes and data hosted in other systems. OnePlan is confident it provides a robust, Adaptive Project and Portfolio Management platform to meet the needs of the enterprise.

Solution Overview

Our solution leverages OnePlan along with additional Power Apps to extend the Project for the web Accelerator. The additional capabilities are described below:

Integration with the Work Tools of Today

The OnePlan Adaptive PPM solution supports using both Project for the Web and Project Professional as end-user scheduling tools. It also supports using Planner, SharePoint lists, Azure DevOps, and JIRA, providing seamless access to the work management tools of choice across an organization. Gone are the days of insisting that all projects must use a complex professional tool. The goal: provide PMs with the option to work with the tools they need to do the job right.

Portfolio Planning and Analysis

OnePlan supports the creation of Portfolios with owners, budgets, objectives, and benefit targets. Portfolio Analysis can be done using conventional stack ranking based on prioritization scoring, and scenarios can be created that consider budget and resource constraints. Additionally, the solution includes boards to perform program increment planning and prioritization in support of Lean Portfolio Management and Agile planning methodologies. 

Full Agile Support

OnePlan includes the ability to create sprints, program increments, epics and allows you to define the relationships between them. It also enables resourcing based on sprints, stable teams, and cross-functional teams.

Furthermore, the solution does not require an organization to adopt a single methodology. The trend is to use a variety of methodologies and delivery models in the enterprise. OnePlan supports this dynamic environment, providing consolidation, portfolio planning, and reporting on top of the various PMOs and their chosen delivery models.  The OnePlan solution is Scaled Agile Framework certified and can keep up with cutting-edge Agile organizations and those beginning their Agile journey.

Resource and Financial Management

The OnePlan Solution includes rich capacity-based resource planning regardless of the tool being used to manage the project. This enables organizations to understand resource commitments across all projects and initiatives and track resource actuals and changing forecasts.

Likewise, the Financial Plan module provides the ability to capture time-phased financial information against a cost breakdown structure and cost types. The module supports the capture of budgets, forecasts, actuals, and benefits. Integration with other systems can provide seamless bi-directional information, further enhancing the value of these capabilities.

My Work and Timesheet capabilities

The OnePlan solution includes functionality to consolidate tasks and other to-dos (issues and risks) into a single view for statusing. This enables resources to status tasks and update Project Managers on progress regardless of the scheduling tool used to plan and manage their project.

The solution also includes a timesheet module to capture actuals across the same array of work management tools as well as other administrative tasks and non-project time.

Feature Map

In the table below, we look at a common set of high-level functional requirements commonly requested by clients. We compare Project Online, the Accelerator, and the Accelerator with the OnePlan Solution.

Conclusion

Microsoft’s vision to leverage the Power Platform to meet the dynamic needs of the Enterprise PMO is an exciting new approach. It provides the flexibility and agility organizations are demanding in their business systems without the need to reinvent the wheel. This is showcased by the great steps forward that have been made with the Project for the web Accelerator, and the new capabilities that are now available with the Power Platform.

Providing customers the flexibility to create tailored solutions that also integrate all forms of work management across the organization is a powerful objective that can reshape how PMOs operate. This vision is one that OnePlan strongly identifies with and is dedicated to creating the tools and solutions to make it achievable. Leveraging the Power Platform opens up new possibilities, and OnePlan is excited about helping our clients realize the full value of this new approach.

OnePlan supports transformation leadership through a mix of professional services and OnePlan technology solutions, built on the Microsoft platform.

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