Friday, February 28, 2014

Problem 11- Where's that Document?

Documents are typically stored on corporate fileshares. The problem with this is that there’s nothing stopping someone creating numerous sub directories and putting all the files into this one folder that no one else has a clue about. Corporate fileshares generally have immense amounts of knowledge embedded within them. The problem is it is all tacit knowledge. Without knowing the secret code to the folder structure you've got know way of unlocking this knowledge. Added to this is the bizarre security applied to these fileshares where a person in one office can't access information of another person in another office. The opportunities in solving these problems are immense. Faster access to information, broader awareness of this information and the ability of new knowledge to be created out of this information by people not directly involved in its creation.

UniPhi software has been designed to make sure these opportunities turn into the way things are done around here.

The transparency of UniPhi’s software allows anyone in the organisation to look across projects and see all documents created. Each document has meta data that unlocks the tacit knowledge of what is within it.

Document register across all projects
The integrity of the meta data is maintained by controlling the way documents are added to the system or created within the system. UniPhi software doesn’t allow people to create their own folders. Documents have to be uploaded into a document container based off of a template. By doing this, all the contextual information that is needed to explain what this document is automatically gets associated to it. Someone who has no idea about the existence of the document will be able to find it if they browse and search based on their requirements. For example, someone wanting to find sample business cases can select the business case template and they will be able to see all business cases ever created.

Document register across all projects filtered for business cases only

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Problem 10- Where's That Photo?

Whenever there’s an inspection conducted, or a defect noticed, or an audit carried out on a construction project, copious amounts of photos are involved. A bunch of photos get taken and the camera software then creates a file name using a numbering system, the photos are then stored on a computer or a file share directory. It’s all done simply enough, but storing the photos this way can make it frustrating and time consuming to refer to them later on. Simply, trying to locate files on numerous systems can prove problematic, frustrating and a waste of valuable time.

A lot of the time, the photos will be put into a word document so that the information surrounding them can be annotated and expanded upon. This, while providing more structure, can make it difficult and time consuming to find the document months later when there is a dispute over something or even days later when the contractor is onsite trying to find the defect noted and you need photographic evidence.

UniPhi OnSite gives instant context to site photos as they can be recorded against a specific issue or included dynamically into a contextualised document.

UniPhi OnSite is all about making it easier to access vital project information. Integrating images to the issues on projects as they occur helps you to gain access in a more time efficient way. From this point, the issue can be actively managed and closed out by the project manager. The time savings per issue are immense. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Problem 9 - Methodology non-compliance

PMOs are in charge of and are therefore responsible for rolling out methodologies in the project environment. P3M3 maturity models assess as level three companies that are generally compliant with their methodology (i.e. they practice what they preach). This can be a very difficult thing for a PMO charged with getting the organisation to comply.

The problem is that the tools used by the project managers are always separate to the methodology which is communicated either via an intranet site or a Microsoft Word document accessed seven directories down in a corporate fileshare. This disjointed method adds unnecessary complication to something that should really be extremely simple.

UniPhi is all about simple and as such, integrates the process of running projects (i.e. the methodology) with the tools to do so; completely removing the complication of things being separate.

Methodology templates populate content dynamically from other modules within the system. 

Whoever is required to review and sign off is included in the workflow and dynamically routes to their work to do list. 

Issues management and risk management methods are embedded in the modules to capture the issues and risks. 

Registers populate automatically rather than being manually populated into an excel spreadsheet (which nearly never happens).

Key templates can be mandatory (e.g. the business case). This means that fundamental governance processes are followed.

All of this leads to a compliant by accident organisation, a less stressed PMO and a level 3 achievement on their next P3M3 maturity assessment.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Problem 8- How Many Projects?

If you were to walk into the building of any company around the globe, ask to speak to the managing director and then ask that managing director to go through their project list with you, would it surprise you that an audit would prove this was not the definitive list. This has been our experience on several occasions. Why? We feel the main reason is a lack of transparency and prioritisation. People are afraid to kill projects and hence end up running too many (which actually means not running any).

A lot of the time, gaining the knowledge of how many projects are being run is a complete run around. Asking every senior manager in the company for their project list is time consuming and tedious, and results in someone having to inform the managing director that there are actually 200+ projects on the go, instead of the 30 he was actually aware of. In larger organisations, this can mushroom into an enormous task that is out of date by the time it is completed (e.g. treasury department capital expenditure reviews).

What’s worse is, a lot of the time, projects will be product-related, will have market-announced release dates for the calendar year and will have no people working on them. This results in the project failing to be completed and the company having to be accountable, not only internally, but publicly as well.

UniPhi’s web based project portfolio management software supports the simple priority and stage gate approvals of projects and then displays the results in a transparent manner for all to see.

Prioritsed list of new product development projects in Manufacturing sector
The use of the prioritisation framework and stage gate funded project life cycle means that there is always a project list, which is classified by stage, priority, budget and end-date. The transparency of this allows for everyone involved in any and all projects to see exactly where they’re at right now, not tomorrow when it’s too late.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Problem 7- Out of Date Risk Management Plan

Risk management has its own international standard (IS0 31000) built upon the ANZ standard that preceded it. It's also a core function in the Project Management Body of Knowledge published by the Project Management Institute. Our experience conducting RegPM assessments for the AIPM has show it is not, however, something that is practiced very often by most project managers. Most project managers though, would be aware of the process:

-Identify potential threats to your project
-Assess their likelihood and consequence
-Develop contingency plans
-Execute said plans
-Course correct.

Unfortunately, most project managers only ever get to the ‘assess their likelihood and consequence’ stage and even then, it’s usually only at the start of the project lifecycle or when a new team is formed. We believe there are a few reasons behind this. Firstly, risks identified at the start of a project are recorded into a MS Word document and then stored on a server, never to see the light of day again. Secondly, when there is intent to manage risks, it gets included as an agenda item in the notoriously tedious weekly project meetings, where it will usually sit at the bottom of the list. Being the last item on the agenda is never a good thing, all the progress updates consume every minute of the meeting, which leaves the risks to be looked at ‘next time.’ Naturally and predictably, tomorrow never comes, and even if it does, full mitigation is never developed again because people run out of time.

UniPhi's risk module integrates risk management with the daily work life of a project team member.  

Mitigation actions appear in a user’s ‘my work’ summary list.

Risks can be added to by anyone on the team at any point in time. Re-rating risks dynamically updates risk trend graphs that track the success/ or failure of risk mitigation strategies over time, which will help to better the quality and outcomes of a project.