Microsoft Project Online

Visibility, consistency and better informed decision making is achievable using Project Online configured properly.

Evolution of Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project Professional (MPP) started out as a desktop application used to manage single projects, originating in the early 1990s.

Its success led to the development of Project Central and Portfolio Server, then the combined and more powerful Microsoft Project Server, which included databases to collate information from multiple projects into one single source of truth.

In a quest to reduce complexity and meet the needs of users, Microsoft then developed Project Online from Project Server, which is a Software-As-A-Service (SAAS) Project Portfolio Management (PPM) or Enterprise Project Management (EPM) offering as part of Microsoft Office 365 hosted on Azure. The introduction of Project Online, together with Power BI and/or SSRS for reporting and Business Intelligence analysis of information, has removed many barriers for implementing the tool.  Barriers included the need for on premise database and database administrator costs, as well as the various technical skills required for use.

 

Thought leaders in Online Portfolio Project Management

At Core Consulting Group (CCG), we have been practitioners and thought leaders from the very beginning in Online Portfolio Project Management (PPM/EPM).

For standalone MS Project, we delivered numerous tool innovations, planning/updating techniques, graphical views, and education/training to many large Australian organisations.

Innovative ‘check filters’, cross code reporting, dependency management, simple earned value, and many other advanced uses of the tool have been developed over the years. Scheduling standards and templates many organisations use today have evolved from our groundwork.

This success has transferred to our Project Online implementations, where we have demonstrated the capability of Project Online in the right hands, changing many default settings rolled out by Microsoft relating to resourcing, updating, and manual scheduling.

Harnessing the power of Project Online through smart configuration

For almost 10 years, CCG has been exploring, adapting, and innovating using Microsoft Project Server and Project Online.

During that period, we have witnessed changes to the architecture as it moved more and more towards browser-based functionality, integrating the ‘Portfolio Server’ offering and extending functionality, such as reports, in Power BI.

Based on a SharePoint platform, Project Online has evolved to a very capable tool, given the right configuration and standardised use.

Like most Microsoft applications (Word, Excel, etc.), Project Online starts out as a blank canvas. This is different compared to some other PPM tools, which come with template solutions that are about a 60-70% fit for customers.

The benefit of Project Online is that you don’t have to spend time ‘peeling’ back the modules in the template that don’t fit with the way your organisation works. However, this means that organisations need to know the tool well and also know what they want. Achieving this is not straightforward, which is where customers need our help.

CCG is a Microsoft silver partner

CCG is a Microsoft Silver Partner. As a Microsoft partner, CCG has innovated to extend the capability of EPM while remaining in the ‘configuration’ rather than ‘customisation’ space.

With a focus on user adoption, CCG has provided training, data cleansing, capability uplift, UAT, hands-on configuration, and administration services for Project Online.

In our implementations, we educate customers using our ‘concept of operations’, which goes beyond simply explaining the function by also placing emphasis on discussing a business’s readiness from a process and maturity perspective.

We then work with the customer with a collaborative and iterative design-build-test approach to quickly allow them to understand Project Online functionality and achieve desired outcomes.

Training becomes a key differentiator, with integrated tools and process change rather than generic “vanilla” courses offered by competitors.

CCG can also help customers with operations and ongoing support through our Planners and Schedulers, PMO analysts and PMO as-a-service offerings.

Case studies

Further reading

White papers

Articles

Need help configuring or optimising your own Project Online system?

Our customer solutions are well received and stakeholder satisfaction is high. Contact Core Consulting Group for trusted, practical advice and assistance.

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