With the growing need for digitalization, more and more companies started looking for ways to streamline their processes and transform their project management practices. And our clients were no different – many of them started researching and looking for help in evaluating and possibly integrating the ServiceNow Project Portfolio Management (now Strategic Portfolio Management or SPM) solution.
To help them better understand the ServiceNow Project Portfolio Management journey, as well as the important steps, considerations and conclusions, we’ve decided to give you a sneak peek into the process of implementing the PPM module for one engineering company with a lot of projects and field-related work.
Challenges Prior to The Project
Methodological approach, cooperation and communication, and hard work – these are the key elements of the successful implementation of any project, and the ServiceNow Project Portfolio Management module is no exception. That’s why we began our work by first taking a careful look at the client environment and analyzing the challenges:
- The company had six different project management teams. They were dealing with completely different types of projects and volumes of work. The teams were using separate team excel sheets isolated from each other.
- The projects were missing risk traceability and the RIDAC process was absent or unclear. An acronym for Risk, Issue, Decision, Action, Change, RIDAC is an essential process for creating risk records and analyzing patterns, trends, and resolutions for the planning of future projects.
- The client was making millions of losses due to the inability to track slacks.
- One of the teams was using a different project management tool, required by one of their biggest clients.
- Only one of the teams – the one that had direct integration with their finance tool Oracle – was using Time Card. A feature of ServiceNow, the Time Card Management enables users to track and report their working time for the assigned tasks.
- All of the above had led to inaccurate and time-consuming project management that lacked visibility.
Thus, we set out to implement the ServiceNow Project Portfolio Management module for our client, a comprehensive tool that includes:
- Project Management Module;
- Program Module;
- Portfolio Module;
- Resources Management Module;
- Demand Management Module;
- Finance Management Module.
Together, these tools allow companies to:
- Align work to strategy;
- Enjoy better visibility with real-time dashboards;
- Organize tasks into projects and projects into portfolios;
- Allocate staff and tasks effectively;
- See which resources are available at any point in time;
- Accurately forecast demand and better integrate the tools they are using.
The Implementation Process
The team working on the implementation consisted of an architect, a project manager, an analyst, and two ServiceNow developers. They started with consistent workshops for the different client teams, conducting six workshops in less than two weeks. This first step of the work helped gather initial stories, formulate what should be included in the project, and define the next steps to follow.
An important aspect of the implementation of the ServiceNow Project Management Portfolio is the NowCreate step-by-step guidance. It allowed our team to work faster and more effectively from start to finish.
Following careful consideration of the client’s needs, we decided to split the project into several phases, starting with the most critical one which aimed at delivering joint visibility for the different project teams and providing the link between Project Managers and On-Site Engineers.
Phase One included:
- Implementing the Project Module;
- Implementing the Program Module;
- Implementing the Portfolio Module;
- Implementing the Resources Management Module;
- The initial integration with the Asset Management module;
- The integration with the existing Field Services module.
Phase One took 40 working days and was split as follows:
- Nine days of initial workshops, scoping, and alignment;
- 20 days of development, set-up and configuration;
- The configuration of the Project Management Portfolio core modules;
- The set up of reporting and dashboards;
- The Field Service Management integration;
- The Asset Management integration;
- Three days of enabling Demo data that would serve as a guide and ongoing presentation during the development process;
- One day for migration from DEV to TEST;
- Five days of User Acceptance Testing;
- One day of preparing the Configuration list and handover materials;
- One day GO-Live.
The next phases will include:
- The integration with Oracle and enabling the Finance Management Module;
- The integration with the existing project management tool and providing smooth project transition between the different platforms;
- The possible customization of the Demand Management Module to cover the Pre-Sales project phases required by some of the client’s project teams.
The Right Team Matters
One aspect of the work that I found especially satisfying was the integration between the project and the field services modules. The capabilities that this integration allows are enormous. It provides for automation and live connection between the Overseeing Project Managers and the Field Engineers – all in one system with a unified, standardized, and user-friendly project view.
And while expertise and dedication are undoubtedly important, teamwork and effective communication are also crucial components of a job well done. I would say that for a project to be successful, you will depend on 50% preparation, hard work and skills and 50% attitude from both sides – client and consultant. It is critical to be on the same page, have the same goals, and keep constant live communication.
The genuine desire to bring positive change to the company on one side, and the client’s great attitude helped us achieve true synergy. For me and the whole team, it was an immense pleasure to dive into the client’s daily job, explore and build new processes and flows together and give life to a new system that will improve their work tremendously.
We, the consultants, can implement a “rocket ship,” but this is just half the work. The rest relies on individuals thriving towards innovation and will to always improve.