For more than a couple of decades, CBA has been involved with client implementations of Primavera applications. One would think after so much interaction with many different organizations that we have seen it all. Well, we have seen a lot, but certainly not all! We have worked with very large companies that had only a few users in one department and have worked with one person consultants who build schedules for very complex large projects for many different clients. We have worked for small, medium and large firms that want to track every project regardless of size – and other organizations that only want to track projects of a certain size or larger. Some are focused on documents and contracts, others on schedule, cost and resource tracking, still others on portfolio selection – and various combinations of those.
What I find interesting is some clients seem to know exactly what they want to do, and more importantly, why they want to do it. They have a compelling story of what their current problems and pains are, and the circumstances that led them to realize the need for a portfolio project management or document management solution. Other clients are complying with the request of an important client or meeting a contractual obligation. No matter what the reason, CBA is interested in helping organizations achieve their project selection and execution goals.
Implementations can take on various shapes and sizes. Some are simple and quick; install, train, advise and go. Others are much more involved with process and procedure development, custom user guides, dozens of template projects, and integration to more than one corporate application for cost, maintenance management or HR, and on-going mentoring. Some focus on complex independent projects for individual end customers, others focus on cash flow of an entire capital portfolio and still others are document and work-flow dependent engagements.
Our job is to “right size” your implementation to meet the current needs of your organization now and allow for meeting future goals. In order to right size your implementation it is important for us to understand what your company wants to accomplish and why. We also need to understand the capabilities and project controls maturity of the team you are deploying the solution to. This helps us understand the urgency and priorities, which in turn allows us to help focus the team on “why we came to drain the swamp”. Knowing the underlying reasons of why a team wants to do something is sometimes more important than knowing the industry or the details of how projects are accomplished in a specific organization.
We believe the success of an implementation is defined as putting a solution in place that accomplishes the objectives as identified by the organization within the desired (realistic) time frame and is adopted by the user community. Additionally the solution should remain in place and mature over time. We have accomplished this result most often when all of the following occurred:
- We were able to match the complexity of the solution with the skill sets of the team tasked with putting it in place
- There was a client organization responsible for the design and on-going execution of the solution
- Users were mentored until they have a firm grasp on the process
- Management of the client organization utilized the information gained from the team in a manner that showed they used it to make business decisions
Sometimes, this means phasing in deployment of all desired requirements over a period of time, initially incorporating the most critical subset of them based on what we mutually agree can be accomplished and carried out by the user community. For example, an organization may ultimately want to have fully resource and cost loaded schedules with Earned Value metric reporting on all projects over $5MM. What may be realistic is to begin with an approach of getting all of the projects identified within the database using a simplified template approach based on type of project, incorporating common milestones and establishing relationships between interdependent projects. Once the staff is used to creating, baselining and updating the schedules, they will naturally suggest modifications to the templates making them more accurate and granular. At this point, the concept of applying budgets, actuals and remaining forecasts into the process is ready to be introduced and upon familiarization with that process – the concept of EVMS reporting can be applied.
CBA wants your projects to win and your goals to be achieved. When you engage us, let’s be sure to discuss right-sizing your implementation to ensure its success for the long haul.read more
As with any user conference, there was some insight as to the future of Oracle Primavera’s Contract Management (PCM). Many exciting things are in PCM v14.1, which is scheduled to be released in the second half of CY 2012.
The big item will be the availability of PCM via tablets and smart phones. Unlike the P6 application, this is to include Apple, Android and Blackberry. The focus will be on the field users, naturally. Planned modules will include Daily Reports, Requests for Information (RFI’s), as well as, Submittals and Punchlists. Additional functionality around Issues, Companies, Action Items, and Attachments was reported. Even the ability to certify Payment Requisitions is in the works.
Another planned feature of PCM v14.1 is the use of e-mail to engage users. This should allow for users to review and approve documents right from their inbox, and hopefully, their smart phone, if remote. There was also mention of a Daily E-mail function, which should alert users to outstanding Actions and Alerts, as well as, RFI Questions and Answers.
PCM v14.1 should also enhance the out-of-the-box P6 integration. This should include Search and Type-Ahead for both the Project and Activity lists, as well as, the visibility of Project ID in the Project list. Exposure of the project’s WBS and better date refreshing are also planned.
The last area of improvement mentioned was around PCM Security. They are separating Contract Security, at least for Budget and Committed types. I hope this will also include the Custom type and Purchase Orders.
Long term roadmapping of PCM may include Analytics, such as, Cashflow. Under development are also some pre-built BPM Workflows highlighting the ability to have alternative user interfaces and increased project collaboration.
Service Pack 1 for PCM v14.0 includes some nice updates as well. The ability to select which attachments to include when emailing out of PCM, as well as, the ability to specify an alternate ‘reply to’ address. In the area of security, they have added the ability to apply updates to access Templates to existing assignments. Even the Project Tree is getting some attention with the ability to now sort the list.
Exciting Stuff! The release of PCM v14.x does require you to update your existing licenses to take advantage of the supporting technologies, so be sure to reach out to your CBA Account Executive.
The drawback to PCM v14.x is the retirement of Sybase’s InfoMaker as the reporting tool. Oracle has changed to BI Publisher for PCM and P6 Release 8.x. This is a challenge for those companies with an extensive library of customized forms and reports, as there isn’t a simple conversion utility out there today. Contact us for a review of your library and an estimate of the effort to migrate.read more
At the time PCM 14.0 BIPE was released many in the PCM community were excited to hear of the retirement of InfoMaker, but at the same time dismayed to hear there was no ‘upgrade’ or ‘conversion’ from their extensively customized libraries. I have started my own personal journey to being equally comfortable with BI Publisher. And it looks like it will be a long journey.
Aligning with the Oracle Toolset — With the acquisition of Primavera by Oracle in 2009, many of Oracle’s other products are being introduced into the applications Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management and Primavera Contract Management. The default database server, application server, content repository and reporting tool have been replaced with Oracle owned products such as Oracle Server, WebLogic, Enterprise Content Management and BI Publisher. Additionally, the introduction of Business Process Management, User Productivity Kit, Fusion Middleware and BI Enterprise Edition into the Primavera applications further extends the power and availability of your work product.
BI Publisher Resources — Many great resources are available for BI Publisher. The most important resources are the product documentation and Oracle’s support team. This will help with the proper installation and integration of BI Publisher with Primavera Contract Management. Failure to get this fundamental step completed accurately will make this journey all the more frustrating. Additional resources I have found valuable include the Oracle Blogs and Community pages, as well as content found on the BI Publisher YouTube channel. Although not geared to Primavera applications specifically, the BI Publisher Fundamentals training from Oracle University gives you a glimpse into the possibilities while giving some comfort with the tool.
“Practice makes Perfect” — With all the resources available, using the tool will be the best way to learn. Rebuilding the stock reports and forms gave me the comfort of using the tool and validation of how the pieces work together. I am not venturing into rebuilding some custom content that I have previously created in InfoMaker. In the near future I see working with the new template and output options available and seeing how they fit into Primavera Contract Management.
Conclusion — While sad to see my trusted friend InfoMaker disappear after a 15 year love-hate relationship, I see the power of BI Publisher being a great reason to embrace the future and this this tool. While this journey is nowhere near the end, I do see that I will continue to use the resources I have mentioned to make the travels a little less uncomfortable, even if that means circling back many times. Hope to see you on the road…
Collaborate12 — I will be presenting on this topic at Collaborate 12 in Las Vegas, NV. My presentation will be one of several on the topic of BI Publisher. Be sure to check out this conference.read more
Working as a Primavera Contract Management consultant for the last six years has provided me the opportunity to sample the food of many regions and cities. One particular favorite food of mine is pizza. This isn’t an effect of my traveling over the last few years, but has been a weakness of mine over the last 30+ years.
Everybody has their favorite. Local or chain? Regular, thin or deep dish crust? Heavy or light on the sauce? Carnivore’s delight or vegetarian feast? Mushrooms? Anchovies? I prefer deep dish, light sauce, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms (canned) and baked a little longer than normal.
So by now you may be asking why is this guy making me hungry when I should be getting information about how to manage my projects better? Because your project management system should afford you the same flexibility!
What documents do you want to manage in your system? Just submittals and RFI’s, or all project communications? Contracts and Changes, with or without Change Management? Fixed price or Unit Price method? Is the system just a log, or do you want to use it to generate functional documents? I could go on forever!
On a regular basis, I will endeavor to post some handy information regarding Primavera Contract Management system and some real-world success regarding how different companies are making the system work for them, not just adapting their way to the stock system. I would love to say check back each week, or twice a month, but I might be too busy trying out a new pizza to post. The keys don’t work well with cheese in them!read more
I’d like to introduce myself, My name is Don Monteleone, President of CBA a 28 year veteran of Project & Portfolio Management. You may have attended one of my Webinars, or my presentations at PMI, GovTech, or CIO Forums in the past. In any event, I have now been given a new forum for discussing all things PPM related. So, here goes:
I am certain you are dealing with the ramifications of the current economic downturn and the resulting consequences. Everyone is. In times like these, it is critical to remember that good process is more important than ever.
Project and Portfolio Management is most critical during tough economic times. We can afford to make mistakes when our Enterprise investments have plenty of money. But when belts get tightened, we better make sure we are getting optimal value out of those few initiatives we can afford to do!
Organizations with solid project and portfolio management who already have conventions in place to make the appropriate changes in plans and operations are able to respond to the fluid business environments we all operate in. More importantly solid project & portfolio management provides the mechanism to quickly decrease financial commitments to a portfolio or increase investment else were to adjust the risk associated with the initiative, portfolio, or LOB (line of business), etc. Typically adjustments are made in response to the changes in strategic direction, shifts in conditions or at most serious, when trying to keep a division of company afloat.
Organizations without solid process governance are now incented to correct this problem. Typically they find they can no longer afford to make poor decisions. Their portfolios need to be reasoned and rationalized, so their decisions are based on better information. Now, more than ever, solid project & portfolio management ensures decisions are fact-based, strategic to the business and subsequently measurable to determine if they are the right move. But what PPM tool should be leveraged for these challenges?
Times are difficult for all of us! One of the few silver-linings in my opinion is the broad adoption of PPM and governance processes for business improvements. It is my hope that these governance processes, business conventions and decision support mechanisms will continue to be evangelized and fostered by those vested to the success of project & portfolio management – especially after this latest economic storm. One would hope that enterprises will realize the essential nature of project & portfolio management, in good times as well as bad. Only then, will they be ready for the next storm which is sure to comes.read more