EPM Articles

Here is an index of articles about Enterprise Project Management methodology, systems or techniques.
 

Articles written for the AMA
  EPM Overview
This chapter of the AMA handbook is a good basic overview of Enterprise Project Management and a good place to start your journey if you’re looking to implement an EPM environment


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Articles written for Chief Project Officer Magazine
  Leverage, Let’s try Structural Tension When a Chief Project Officer takes charge, one of his or her biggest challenges is how to effect cultural or organizational change. This article discusses how to find the leverage necessary to do that. Read more…            

 

 
  Chief Project Officer in the Boardroom Some organizations have introduced a new CxO. There is already the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer and even the Chief Information Officer. For some organizations there will now be the Chief Project Officer. Read more…            

 

 
  Where should you start as a Chief Project Officer? When you arrive at your new post in the boardroom, where do you get started? Here are a couple of tips at what to work on during your first 100 days on the job.Read more…            

 

 
  The human factor A chief project officer isn’t just about numbers and analysis, they also have to consider how any change in the project management process will be received by those it affects. This article describes a case study of a large retailer and how trying to implement Project Portfolio Management (PMM) was resisted by the very executives who had requested it. Read more…            

 

 
  “I don’t get no respect” It was Rodney Dangerfield’s signature line and with its passing, Chief Project Officers seem to have lost their spokesman. How does a CPO get the respect he or she will no doubt require in order to effect cultural change in the project management environment of an organization? Read more…            

 

 
  Chief Project Officer in a Business Process Reingineering environment New CPO’s are often created as part of re-engineering the processes of the organization. It’s a tough place to start because the impetus for changing the business’s processes are already well underway and yet ripe with opportunities to make a dramatic change in the way organization manages projects. This article talks about how to walk the fine line between the challenge and opportunity of being a CPO in a BPR initiative. Read more…            

 

 
Articles written for Project Times Online Magazine
  3rd Party PM Tools and why they matter Focusing just on Project Scheduling is rarely enough for an Enterprise Project Management system. This article targets some of the 3rd party alternatives that you might want to consider.
   
  Deploying a Project Management System Before we get to the installation, configuration and training on your new epm system, you should be thinking about what it should be doing for you and what you are hoping to accomplish. This article will look at some of the key concepts in epm systems deployment.
 
  Deploying Project Management Software – The Plan If you’ve decided to deploy an enterprise project management system, you should start with a plan. What should be considered in the scope of an epm system? We’ll cover some of the basic concepts that shouldn’t be forgotten in this article.
 
  Contract Management – key to projects If your project management environment involves sub-contractors of any kind or deliveries that will come from external suppliers, then contract management has to be part of your epm process. What should be considered when implementing Contract management in an epm environment? We’ll look at that in this article.
 
  Enterprise Project Management Once you’ve committed to manage your projects organizationally, you’ll need to turn your attention to the systems that will support that commitment and the changes in process and corporate culture that working across the enterprise will require. This article looks at some basic building blocks of your first epm deployment.
 
  Enterprise Project Management and Do-It-Yourself The Do-It-Yourself movement has some people making big savings by buying materials and tools at low cost and doing their own home renovations. This has spawned a generation of people who are sure they can do almost any home renovation themselves. However, just coming home with the lumber and nails doesn’t mean that your new kitchen will appear without effort. The same follows for those who want to do their own EPM deployment. This articles explains why.
 
  Gaming the Process Once people know how a process works, it’s only natural for them to get the most possible out of the process by adjusting their own inputs to it. This is particularly true for Project Portfolio Management and can be a major source of frustration for those who believe that implementing a PPM system will immediately remove all notions of subjectivity. This article talks about how to game the process
 
  Getting project managers to share and executives to prioritize In many of the EPM deployments I’ve been involved with I run up against two significant cultural challenges. The first comes from the project managers themselves who, while they claim to be committed to the orgazational nature of the Enterprise Project Management process, suddenly find themselves reluctant to share their own data. The second comes from the very executives who have requested that an EPM process be deployed. As it reaches time for the system to be used in production, they find themselves reluctant to prioritize projects for resource assignments. This article discusses these challenges.
 
  Integrated PM System and the Project Maturity Model With the release of Microsoft Project Server originally in 2002, Microsoft catapulted itself from the ranks of individual project management software provider to organizational or enterprise provider. How does EPM software like Project Server affect an organization’s score in the Project Management Maturity Model?
 
  Multi-Project Management – Who owns what? When you move from managing one project at a time to a more integrated model where the milestones, the resources, the facilities and even the budget are shared, how do you determine who owns what part of the project management process?
 
  PPM and a whole new generation of acronyms The extension of Enterprise Project Management concepts into the Project Portfolio Management paradigm means a whole slew of new definitions and their requisite acronyms. How do the definitions within PPM match up with EPM and where do the concepts overlap?
 
  Project Management and the Web How has the Internet and the ubiquitous web interface transformed the project management industry and aside from the new commercial tools that naturally appear whenever there is a new platform to write them on, what does this new medium empower for project managers?
 
  Project Management System Training Wheels When we talk about project management systems, we tend not to talk so much about the training these systems will require. Vendors don’t help by advertising “Easy to Use” and “No training required”. Project Management includes complex concepts and these are not all taken care of by an easy to use interface. This article talks about considerations for training in any new EPM system deployment.
 
  The Dash for Dashboards Dashboard views are all the rage within the executive suite. There is a notion, fed in large part by software vendors, that executives can get real time levers and dials like they would while driving down the freeway so they can make instant decisions. While creating dashboard views is quite easy now compared to several years ago, there’re more to creating such displays than just picking out the graphics.
 
  The move to Solution Buying We’ve heard the hype for years that ever software vendor is a ‘solution seller’. They’re only out to make sure you get your solution, according to the solution salespeople. I think that’s great if it’s true, but what’s less common is a client who’s ready to be a “Solution Buyer”.
 
  What does EPM mean to you? It’s an easy to use acronym and goodness’ knows, we use too many acronyms in this industry. EPM can represent so many differents things to different people. If you’re looking to deploy EPM wouldn’t a good place to start be having a common definition?
 
  What’s actually happening here? Even though it’s been decades since project scheduling became a commonplace term, there is still a huge percentage of project managers who focus on the plan and not on the progress. For some organizations, they can start their enterprise project management process just by looking at what is actually being done with time; by looking at the progress *before* a plannng process is formalized.
 
  What’s actually happening here? Even though it’s been decades since project scheduling became a commonplace term, there is still a huge percentage of project managers who focus on the plan and not on the progress. For some organizations, they can start their enterprise project management process just by looking at what is actually being done with time; by looking at the progress *before* a plannng process is formalized.
 
  Why I can’t train you in 2 days! When commercial project management software first came on the market it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and clients thought it quite reasonable to block 20% of the total costs for training. Now that pm software costs only hundreds of dollars, the same proportion seems to have remained as the predominant thinking. Here’s why I can’t train you in everything you need to know in only two days.
 
  Chocolate or Vanilla? Too many EPM deployments start off with designing the ultimate system; something which will never be realized. There is so much functionality available with systems out of the box… “vanilla” systems that you should be able to get yourself up and running to some basic level with a minimum of customization. This article discusses how a vanilla system is still very useful.
 
  Choosing Collaborative Project Management Tools Collaboration has become such a critical element of modern project management that it is no surprise that there are a plethora of tools available to assist us in getting the most out of the collaborative project environment. What kinds of tools are these and where can you find them? We’ll discuss this and more in this article.
 
  Collaboration? Who’s collaborating? When you consider the collaboration aspect of project management, it’s worthwhile to come up with a collaboration plan much as you would a communications plan for a project. Who should collaborate, how should this collaboration be facilitated and/or moderated? What should you collaborate about? We’ll look at the essentials of project collaboration in this article.
 
  Collaborative Project Management How can collaboration impact our project management environment? We’ll look at some basic collaboration building blocks in this article.
 
  Collaborative Project Management – How to start collaborating If you’ve already decided that collaboration will be a significant element of your project management environment, here is an article that talks about how get started with your collaboration efforts.
 
  Commoditized project management for the mid-market We’ve seen a trend from major software vendors to try to create the ‘everyman’ project management system and to target this at mid-market clients. This effort affects design, documentation, training materiarls and of course, marketing. Is it good or bad for the industry? You’ll have to read and decide for yourself.
 
  Data-mining – Can you find the gold? Project management data can be a treasure trove of fascinating information that can, when examined carefully, help realize tremendous improvements in efficiency. This article talks about how to mine project management data and some of the jewels you can find when you do.
 
  EPM and tools for everyone There are so many tools that can be applied to the project management paradigm that you’ve probably got several on your desktop right now that you’ve never considered. We’ll take a look at a few options in this article.
 
  Project Stage Gating Stage gating is a concept that is known to many in the project management community. But, did you know it started as a study on what organizations were more effective than others and trying to find out why? We’ll talk about the origins of ‘stage-gate’ and the reasons that the practice makes organizations effective.
 
  That elusive proof of concept Many organizations have purchasing policies that involve a proof of concept for enterprise software. The problem is, it’s hard to evaluate the effectiveness of enterprise software until the company commits. We’ll examine this Catch-22 of how to get around the proof-of-concept dilemma.
 
  The project manager’s perspective So much of the project manager’s role involves communication. But, how can you effectively communicate with someone if you’re not sure that they mean the same thing you do when you speak? Common terminology from places like the PMBOK is a good start but do you take into account your own bias and your own perspective when you communicate?
 
  Their Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch TAANSTAAFL is an acronym we can thank science fiction writer Robert Heinlein for. But sometimes he’s wrong. Every once in awhile you’ll find something that you can have for nothing. Here are a list of tools and services that don’t cost a thing!
 
  Third party project management tools – timekeeping Third party project management tools come in many different flavors but I have a soft spot for the timekeeping category. Since my own firm, HMS Software, produces TimeControl, a project oriented timesheet system. This article takes a look at why looking outside of your EPM system for a timesheet is worth thinking about.
 
  The Electric PMO While at a local Project Management conference I was able to talk to project managers about the different kinds of Project Management Office (PMO). I was struck by how choosing a different direction for the philosophy of the PMO would make for very different tools that should be selected by it for making the organization efficient. Here are some of my thoughts from that confererence. Read more…            

 

 
  Head for the Hills With a teenage daughter in the house, we end up watching MTV rather often. The MTV hit “The Hills” has one of its cast fulfilling the role of project manager. It makes you think how project management is perceived by people outside of the more classic scheduling expert. Is project management becoming democratized? And, is that a good thing for all of us? Read more…            

 

 
  EPM in a Foreclosure economy Project management is a popular concept when there is a boom economy but when economic times are more challenging, project management becomes a survival skill. This article looks at how organizations apply enterprise project management concepts when business is challenged.Read more…            

 

 
  Can you make EPM from the sum of its parts? There are a lot of aspects of EPM. Do you have to go to one big integrated EPM system to accomplish them? Of course not. There are solutions to each of the main EPM challenges that are simple to deploy and quick to return results. Here are a few hot tips on how to accomplish them. Read more…            

 
  From small projects, large projects grow As project managers we strive for the large, complicated mega project. It’s the kind of project careers are built around. But, is this the best kind of project for your organization? Can you do a better job of managing when the projects are bite sized enough? In this article we’ll look at how you can break down projects into manageable pieces and manage each as a separate part of the whole. Read more…            

 
  Shutdown Project Management Project management comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes but nowhere is scheduling more tightly managed than in a high-pressure shutdown/maintenance project. In these 5-10 day projects, an entire industrial facility must be stopped, have maintenance done and then restarted and ever hour that passes is huge amounts of money lost in production. It’s a particular kind of scheduling from which anyone in project management can learn a lot. Read more…            

 
  The Project Manager Salesman Usually the engineering-oriented mind of project management people would never even consider the role of salesperson as part of being a project manager but the truth is, we’re selling all the time. Project Managers must sell their projects, their planning ideas, the impact of any changes and, even themselves. We’ll look at the various salesperson roles and their potential ‘clients’ in this article.Read more…            

 
Articles written for PMI’s PMNetwork magazine
  Has CPM had its day? Written originally over 10 years ago, this article is still particularly current today. Most project management tools written originally in the 70′s 80′s and 90′s were based on the Critical Path Methodology paradigm. They were fundamentally scheduling tools. Yet, the practice of project management has becmoe so much more. See my thoughts on whether we should move on from Critical Path as our driving force in the project management systems industry in this article. Read more…            

 

 
  Batteries not included When people used to buy large-scale project management systems, buying the training was just part of the cost of doing business. The cost of training compared to the cost of the software was a fraction. You might spend only 10% of your software investment on training of your personnel on the proper use of the project managemnet system. As project system have become cheaper the percentage people expect to pay on training has stayed the same but it buys much less training. This article looks on the phenomena I call “Batteries not included. Read more…            

 

 
  Deployability – a key to project management It’s not enough to have a list of great features in a project management system in order to be successful. You’ve also got to have a system that can reach the people involved in the project management process. That’s more than knowing it has a web interface. Project mManagement these days is all about communication and if your system can’t reach more than the professional schedulers and be relevant to the day-to-day business of the people on the project team that it does reach then there’s little hope of the system becoming an “Enterprise” project management system. This article looks at what it takes to be an enterprise-level project system.Read more…            

 

 
  Services move in on technology When you look at an Enterprise Project Management (EPM) implementation, looking at services is inevitable. There are so many aspects of deploying an EPM system that go well beyond simply installing it. Engaging an experienced deployment specialist who has seen EPM deployments over several organizations and under multiple conditions can help to avoid the most common and cost of pitfalls. This article looks at what to look for in an EPM services specialist. Read more…            

 

 
  Collaboration and Project Management tools As project management tools have moved further and further from their Critical Path Scheduling roots, we’ve seen more of a focus on empowering the project management team and extending the definition of the project management team. This article talks about what to look for in collaboration tools for project management. Read more…            

 

 
  Analysis vs. Commitment People who look at project management systems rarely distinguish between the driving force behind such systems. Virtually all project scheduling systems are analytic in nature. They’re about estimates and projections. Yet data that looks very similar in Outlook or whatever you use for an agenda isn’t analytic at all, it’s commitment based. This article distinguishes between these different paradigms nd points out the trouble that can happen when the domains are muddled. Read more…            

 

 
  Resource Capacity Planning Resource capacity planning is one of the most expected and requested aspects of enterprise project management yet it is one of the most elusive benefits to achieve. Why is this? If it’s so commonly requested, why isn’t it easier to deliver? This article talks about the different aspects of Resource capacity planning and gives some tips on how to achieve it.Read more…            

 

 
  Project Management Tool Divergence Should you look for an all-in-one business management tool that does accounting, human resource management and project management or should you be looking for best-in-breed tools that can integrate with each other? This article looks at how software vendors are trying to extend their markets; Downward from the ERP vendors who look to move from the central Finance department out to other departments and; Upward from the desktop project tools towards the centralized management sections of the company. Read more…            

 

 
  Unstoppable force vs. Unmoveable object With major ERP vendors like SAP and Oracle directing new efforts from the enterprise market to the mid-market and vendors like Microsoft directing new efforts from the end-user to the mid-market, there is bound to be some interesting competition underway. We can think of an ERP system as the unmoveable object but the wave of user support for Microsoft is not to be taken lightly. We can think of them as the unstoppable force. Both are headed to the same place. How does this affect the Enterprise Project Management market? This article tackles this subject.Read more…            

 

 
  Big Bang or Phased Approach? There are two big methods to deploying enterprise software. The most popular and espoused by the big-box consulting firms we can term the “Big Bang” approach. We make a complete design, take 2 years to deploy but when it finally comes out it’s hopefully everything you ever hoped for. The other way to go is the “Phased” approach. Here we get an approach that may take longer to get to the complete solution and may even never get there but it carries the advantage of paying dividends along the way and being adjustable to change direction if the company changes over time. Which one’s better? Take a read of this article to find out. Read more…            

 

 
Articles written for other publications
  A Letter to Santa It’s been some time since I wrote this article which has been published in a number of places since. Amazingly, the list is still appropriate. This is a letter to Santa on what I’d like to see from the Project Management Industry for Christmas.Read more…            

 

 
Articles Written for the Center for Business Practices
  Collaboration Systems means learning to play together Project management systems have moved from analgorithmic-centric view to a collaboration-centric perspective. Here are a few things to look for in collaboration project systems. Read more…            

 

 
Articles Written for Computing Canada
  Scorecard source data needs standards Scorecard and Business Intelligence software is the hot button of the IT world these days but the display, as beautiful as it might be, is only as good as the data it comes from. In fact, a dashboard display that shows bad indictors because there is no business process behind the metrics is more dangerous than no display at all.Read more…            

 

 
  The Dotted Line One of the classic problems that those creating new Project Management Offices (PMOs) fail to deal with is the challenge of having enormous responsibility with miniscule authority. It’s a challenge caused by where the PMO is placed within the organization’s organigram. Dealing with this dichotomy early is often a key success factor in the PMO’s evolution. Find out more in this article on the PMO’s dotted line.Read more…            

 

 
  It’s better to look integrated than be integrated One of the grand debates in enterprise systems is whether you should be looking for one all-in-one tool or whether it’s better to look for the “best-of-breed” in each type of tool that you need. Can’t you do both? Use the all-in-one when it’s appropriate and the best-of-breed when the functionality outweighs the value of integration?Read more…            

 

 
  Making the CPO part of the Executive Suite Not every organization has a Chief Project Officer but it’s a movement that is gathering momentum. When the economy is challenging, organizations take a newfound look at how projects can be managed and it is perhaps no surprise that many large companies have decided this can be best done when there is a coordinated approach that starts at the top. This article looks at the benefits of having an executive in the boardroom who will champion the project management cause.Read more…            

 

 
  Centralized or de-Centralized Project managementThere is a movement afoot to promoted only centralized project management and you’d think you’d be most likely to hear that lecture on a site dedicated to enterprise project management like this one is. However, there’s nothing about the project management industry or the project management systems industry that makes centralized project management the ideal solution for every problem. Even here on EPM Guidance, we can come up with an argument for being more effective by having a de-centralized project management architecture. This article debunks the myth that only centralized project management is effective.Read more…            

 

 

 
  EPM means different things to different peopleThere are so many articles and books on Enterprise Project Management but one of the first and biggest challenges comes when you discover that not everyone means the same thing by EPM. Each vendor, consultant and expert is colored by their experience and background. Making sure that everyone on your team is singing from the same hymn book when you’re starting an EPM project can make all the difference to success or failure.Read more…             

 

 

 
  Getting over the first hurdle in EPMHow does one define the first critical phase of an EPM deployment? What is the minimum deployment possible that will ensure a successful EPM implementation?. This article looks at the first EPM hurdle.Read more…             

 

 

 
  Breaking down the epm business benefit
One of the biggest and earliest challenges in implementing enterprise project management is defining the benefits to management. Talking about epm system features or the intricacies of your project management process is of little interest to management unless you can tie it to how this will impact the organization overall. This article looks at how to define the business benefits of epm.Read more…            

 

 
  Portfolio Management – Choosing the right projects
It’s one of the hottest topics in the project management industry today. We spend so much time thinking about how to do projects that we sometimes forget about whether we should do the projectds in the first place. Here’s a short article on Project Portfolio Management.Read more…
 
  Project Management – Will you do what it takes?
When you look at Olympic athletes, you can see how dedication and doing the work required can produce remarkable results. The same is true for those who take on creating an enterprise project management environment. Those who hope that results will just arrive at their door mostly miss out on the remarkable achievement that is possible when you accept the work that has to be done. Here’s a short article on acknowledging the work required in creating a project management environment.Read more…
  
  Be sure the cure is what you want
It’s easy to want enteprise project management, it’s a little harder to get it. We talk to so many organizations that initially call for a project solution to their organizational problems but, when they find out what will be required of them to get it become less enthusiastic in a hurry. It makes us ask our prospective clients: Are you sure you want the cure for what ails you?Read more…
 
  EPM stands for Effort Project Management
How do you get management, the project management office and the line-project managers to take seriously how much effort it will take to implement enterprise project management? We’re often asked for “easy enteprise project management” which, I think, is an oxymoron. Project management concepts are challenging and all the moreso when they’re organizational in nature. Perhaps the “E” in EPM should stand for “Effort required” instead of “Enterprise”.Read more…
 
  Maturity comes to Project Management
The hottest buzz in the project management industry over the last 10 years has to be the Project Management Maturity Model. This concept is an offshoot of the thinking at Carnegie Mellon on the Capability Maturity Model which has a huge following in the manufacturing sector. Increasing one’s assessment along the PMM model encourages organizations to be more formalized, more integrated and to create project management as a core process. That sounds great but is it great for every organization? This article discusses the concept.Read more…
 
  “Agile” project management for a changing world
An amazing 40 million people use Excel for project management. That makes Excel the 2nd most popular tool for project management (after the pencil). When we think of enterprise project management tools should we be forgetting about this one? Read more in this article.
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  The challenge of evaluating EPM software
Purchasing is such a routine of process and procedures in each organization that the effects of the process are rarely challenged. Well, we do so in this article on how standard purchasing practices are applied to the selection of enterprise project management software.
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  Softskills Sofware assistance
We tend to talk about project management systems as an end unto themselves but what help is there for automating or improving project manager’s soft skills? There’s lots. From training to aids and enablement systems, project managers should be aware of what can help them be a good leader, a good negotiator, a good collaborator and a good communicator. Read more…
 
  EPM is spelled PMO
So many people approach me to ask if the EPM system they saw in some demonstration last week will fix their enterprise project management challenges. “Do you have a PMO?” I always ask. The challenge of implementing an EPM system successfully comes with some presumed prerequisites. I’ve listed several in this article.
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  PM Tools – Open Source or Commercial?
Commercial tools are not the only ones available for managing projects but do you have all the facts when you choose an open source tool for project management? Both commerical and open source tools may be a part of your pm environment but make sure you understand the total cost of ownership either way.Read more…

 

 


All articles are copyright © 1984-2009 by Chris Vandersluis