Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Enterprise Project and Portfolio Management (EPPM) 2007 – The Undiscovered Country

EPPM solutions are poised for the biggest gain a product-solution has ever seen. The tools have become sophisticated enough to handle the overwhelming needs and it will be the responsibility of the professionals who serve to bring this solution to the world to ensure resounding success in this marketplace. These products are the true emersion of technology and business with process and human reason.

Project Management is a profession with a long and somewhat spotted history though many of the questions of the past have been put behind since the emersion of PMI.

PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification is the preeminent professional credential for individuals associated with project management.

Since 1984, PMI has been dedicated to developing and maintaining a rigorous, examination-based, professional certification program to advance the project management profession and to recognize the achievements of individuals. In 1999, PMI became the first organization in the world to have its Certification Program attain International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 recognition.

Why the Undiscovered Country?

Despite extreme advances in Project and Portfolio Management over the past decade the majority of companies who responded to various surveys stated that their business were not aligned with defined project and portfolio goals or were not measuring their alignment. Many of the companies that were measuring the alignment between business objectives and project and portfolios stated that their measurement criterion was ineffective.

The benefits of aligning business strategy with project and portfolio management can be staggering. Even very small companies can realize incredible benefits if they align their business strategy with the projects they undertake. In a global economy business must ensure that they are as efficient as possible to ensure success. Aligning business objectives to the projects a company undertakes with tools to ensure that alignment is simply becoming survival of the most astute.

The Tools Get an Overhaul

There are various products for EPPM the most common being Microsoft Project. Soon to be released is Microsoft Office Project 2007. This update to Project Management software is a significant update but larger still is the release of the updated Project Server 2007 and Portfolio Server 2007 by Microsoft. Let’s take a look at some of these products.

If you are unfamiliar with the capabilities of the Microsoft Office Project 2003 product check out for more information. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project/FX100649021033.aspx?CTT=96&Origin=CL101935321033

Microsoft Office Project 2007

Microsoft Project has been the standard software application for Project Management Professionals for over 10 years. The current version Microsoft Office Project 2003 will be succeeded soon by the updated 2007 version.

A plethora of new and updated capabilities:

First let’s look at the new features for Microsoft Project 2007 Standard or Professional:

1) Multiple Level Undo - Reverse the most recent series of changes; that is, undo and redo changes to views, data and options. This functionality also enables you to undo actions or sets of actions from macros or third-party applications.

2) Change Highlighting - When changes are made to a project, all affected task and resource fields are highlighted. Easily see how your change affects the dates of successor tasks, summary costs, and more.

3) Manage non-working time - Named vacations and the option of setting up alternative work weeks enable users to control and understand when resources can work.

4) Visual Reports for Excel - Use Excel to produce charts and graphs based on Office Project 2007 data. Analyze different dimensions of your project with PivotTable views and charts.

5) Visual Reports for Visio Professional - Build work breakdown structure (WBS) or resource diagrams in Office Visio Professional. With data-driven diagrams, users can show progress bars, flag important tasks, color-code on cost, or create custom diagrams to match their project needs.

6) Report templates - Office Project 2007 offers report templates for Office Visio and Office Excel to help a user analyze resource availability, understand project progress and costs, and perform other tasks. Users can customize these reports or create their own templates in Office Visio and Office Excel to share with other Office Project users.

7) Desktop OLAP cube - Create customer reports or archive Project values with data exported from Office Project 2007 into a Microsoft Office Access database and Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) cubes. Six cubes are generated: task time-phased, task non-time-phased, resource time-phased, resource non-time-phased, assignment time-phased, and assignment non-time-phased.
8) Background Cell Highlighting - Highlight important dates, costs, or tasks by changing the background color of cells in the table portion of the view.

9) Hijri Calendar - The lunar calendar that is used in Islamic regions.

10) Task Driver pane - Shows prerequisites and resource constraints that drive the start date of the selected task. The user can click these drivers to link to the relevant information.

11) Cost Resources - Helps enable users to define multiple named time-phased fixed costs on a task. These costs can be grouped and reported as part of a cost type. Supports integration of Office Project 2007 with accounting systems.

12) Budget Tracking - Define a budget at a high level (program or project) so the project manager can allocate funds and track costs, work, and materials against the budget.

Now let’s look at Microsoft Office Project 2007 Standard and Professional significant improvements areas:

1) Gantt charts, calendars, and task sheets - Present Project data in versatile views.

2) Calendar wizard - Simplify the setup process for project calendars and changing working time.

3) Additional Project templates - Jump-start common projects and promote consistency.

As you can see most the new and improved features revolve around organizing the data, communicating and presenting project data. These improvements should help project managers to manage projects and not manage project plans as much.

Now we will look at new and improved features of the 2007 Microsoft Enterprise Project & Portfolio Management Solution (Microsoft EPPM 2007). This solution may include any the following products:

Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007

Microsoft Office Project Server 2007

Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server 2007

Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services Version 3.0

Microsoft SQL Server 2005

Microsoft Windows Server 2003

For more information on any of these products please click on them to link to the Microsoft Web site that corresponds to that product.

The list of comparison features listed on the Microsoft site explains what features are new and which are upgraded.


Please check it out!

One of the largest improvements of this system is that it is built entirely on top of the Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 platform. Previous versions were loosely coupled and integrated with SharePoint Services. This one change will make a huge difference of the product. To see what’s new in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 go here:


In upcoming articles we will be looking at specific functions of the Microsoft EPM 2007 Solution and why in many areas it is one of the biggest software products to technology improvements ever.

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