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Project report on a case study on portfolio management

Program Management Experts Scroll Our case studies make pretty interesting reading. We could give you stacks, but the selections below tell the broad story of how we produce concrete results for our clients. Artizen has completed hundreds of program management engagements.

Here are quick summaries of some of our more recent cases. The first two show our approach to managing large programs. The last four describe how we solve problems that affect programs and organizations. This describes our most typical engagement, in which we send a program manager to run a large-scale program on-site and full time. Originally a four-week project assessment, this turned into a six-month engagement when the client asked our program manager to take over and manage the team through go-live.

A subsidiary of a large semiconductor manufacturer was suffering recurring delays on important projects. A mid-sized high-tech hardware manufacturer was repeatedly missing project deadlines and going over-budget.

We pinpointed the key parts of the project life cycle PLC that had not been followed. A Fortune 500 tech company needed large program management expertise to help integrate a multi-billion-dollar acquisition. Artizen provided a program manager to oversee the RFP and vendor selection process. Large Program Management A Fortune 100 network equipment maker was using highly customized, outdated niche software applications to run its global post-sales support organization.

The client realized it was past time to replace the old systems with new mainstream solutions. The client hired Artizen to lead this mission-critical program. An experienced Artizen senior program manager led the initiative from beginning to end.

In the end, the Oracle 11i solution was selected. The software RFP process took three months including contract negotiation. Artizen then led a three-month effort to select a system integrator with experience implementing Oracle 11i in a high-tech, post-sales support environment.

Accenture was eventually chosen. The Artizen program manager worked with the client to establish program-governance structures and to assemble a multi-vendor team.

Accenture was chosen to handle functional analysis and solutions, Infosys ran offshore development, while a large contingent of regional staff augmentation consultants provided hands-on experience with Oracle 11i.

The program was delivered in three phases spanning more than two and a half years. Artizen provided a separate release manager for each phase, making it possible to manage each delivery separately, but in parallel, within the overall program. The phased release strategy reduced risk and delivered key functionality for the TAC organization one year after the team was in place.

All phases were delivered on schedule and on budget. The project report on a case study on portfolio management judged the program a tremendous success.

Case Studies

The extremely frustrated management team had to understand what was wrong and get the program back on track. Failure would force them to cancel the program entirely. The initial four-week engagement revealed a host of problems, but three stood out. First, the program scope was a moving target. No formal business requirements, software gap documents, or functional specifications had been signed off by the business. That left users going in circles. As they executed their User Acceptance Testing UATthey were seeing the solution for the first time—and working out the functional designs at the same time.

Project managers were not tracking scope change or going through any formal change approval process. Second, managers had outsourced the development of a very large, complex set of software integrations between the Project report on a case study on portfolio management application and their ERP system. There were significant quality problems with the integrations that appeared to be design problems, not just code quality.

Third, no weekly project status reports were being produced. As project timelines began to slip, IT managers and the executive team were not aware of the problems. This compounded the scope management and quality problems by hiding them until it was too late to take corrective action. The lack of scope management and the metrics to measure change had left both managers and stakeholders completely in the dark about the real problems.

As a result, business executives responsible for the program were outraged by what they perceived as poor quality, when in reality they had failed to get the requirements right up front. Artizen recommended critical actions to be taken immediately: Implement a formal scope change review-and-approval process. In addition, provide weekly scope change metrics to management, clarifying how many new changes were being requested, the size of the new requests in workdays and the status of those requests.

Finally, examine the pipeline of open changes and, if necessary, initiate a formal redesign phase.

  1. From start to finish, the software RFP process took nine weeks including contract negotiation.
  2. Portfolio Management A subsidiary of a large semiconductor manufacturer was experiencing recurring delays on important projects, while less important projects were going live in the same time frame.
  3. The lack of scope management and the metrics to measure change had left both managers and stakeholders completely in the dark about the real problems. Artizen then led a three-month effort to select a system integrator with experience implementing Oracle 11i in a high-tech, post-sales support environment.

Tellingly, no further redesign was needed for the integrations. Three months after the pilot, the global rollout was complete. The sales force provided a very positive response to the application. Portfolio Management A subsidiary of a large semiconductor manufacturer was experiencing recurring delays on important projects, while less important projects were going live in the same time frame. Some business executives felt IT was playing favorites by allocating resources to some groups at the same time that other groups were being told that no budget or developers were available for their initiatives.

We worked closely together to create a process that insured IT was working on the right projects and was not overcommitting.

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That meant helping the client to create a combined business and IT governance body, to make an annual IT program roadmap and to build a portfolio management process. We began at the beginning, with IT Governance. The first step was to ensure that support existed for an executive-level governance body to set project priorities and make decisions about budget and resource allocation.

A charter was defined and a formal process was established for project initiation and approval. In addition, programs could come before the ESC only after evaluation based on a standardized business case and a strategic alignment analysis.

  • The local presence would allow it to compete for large government contracts and would provide important tax advantages;
  • Much of their business is focused on inspections and condition assessment services for large pipelines using their own patented technologies;
  • Program managers knew what they were supposed to do from a theory standpoint.

We then helped establish an IT Program roadmap. First, an annual planning process put program prioritization in the hands of the ESC. Then and only then Project report on a case study on portfolio management resources were allocated based on priority.

IT teams then completed a capacity plan to ensure that the roadmap was realistic. And every quarter, the roadmap was updated to clarify changing priorities, consider new programs and adjust cost and resource estimates as programs progressed through their life cycle. Finally, we defined the tools, processes and new job responsibilities for managing the portfolio of programs. This at last allowed the client to manage the pipeline of new programs, bring them to the appropriate governance body for approval, monitor status and budget as programs are executed, conduct effective program closeout and evaluate program value realization.

Artizen provided thought leadership and realistic guidance based on long experience with similar efforts. We also recommended the right tools, templates, processes and job responsibilities needed to make the program successful.

Today all parties have complete transparency into how and why priorities are set. The executive team is fully informed and has a voice in the decision-making process. And throughout the company, there is dramatic improvement in trust and support for all projects and services that IT delivers.

QA Review A mid-sized high-tech hardware manufacturer was repeatedly missing program deadlines and going over budget. An initial review of two programs found that key parts of the program life cycle PLC had not been followed. Artizen then proposed the implementation of a complete Program Management Review.

That meant conducting close examinations of programs at key milestones. Even more, it meant going back to the early stages of programs and investigating how their business requirements and functional specifications were created. After completing several dozen program reviews, we presented some important conclusions: Review results varied widely across different groups.

Some were well managed and scored high on our dashboards mostly greens and a few yellows. Other groups were consistently problematic red in key areas. This allowed us to focus our efforts on a smaller number of programs and teams.

Key deliverables such as program charters, business requirements and technical designs were not being produced consistently. Weekly status reporting was not happening reliably and in many cases status reports did not accurately reflect the state of the program.

Formal program teams were not being established and responsibilities were not documented and communicated. Team members did not understand the activities and deliverables for which they were accountable. No one was asked to sign off on deliverables. As a result, no one from the user community felt responsible for the requirements or for approving proposed solutions.

We observed a common pattern. Program managers knew what they were supposed to do from a theory standpoint. But, even though they could pass a PMI test, they were failing to do simple fundamentals. Through our coaching part of the QA Review processthe presence of our QA dashboards and the resulting visibility they supplied to everyone, program results improved dramatically over a 12-month period.

Program managers knew they were now under the project report on a case study on portfolio management of a QA Review—and they knew what was expected of them in those reviews. After a year, the QA Review program was successfully transitioned from Artizen consultants to an in-house review team. Merger Integration A Fortune 500 tech company needed program management expertise to help integrate a multi-billion-dollar acquisition.

Artizen was chosen to complete all four integrations. Due to the size of the acquisition, the client decided to on-board the domestic and international locations gradually, country by country. The Artizen program manager assisted in overall site integration planning and managed the international, cross-functional team to complete each site integration on schedule.

Site integrations included all activities regarding employee on-boarding—payroll, benefits and training on client-specific tools for procurement, employee self-help and more.

The Artizen program manager also recommended conducting cost-benefit analyses to clarify the economics of automating benefits, which varied from country to country, in Oracle HRMS. The analyses gave decision-makers the insight they needed to create cost-effective levels of automation and to eliminate excessive automation of ERP systems.