Case Study: Launching the Microsoft Project (and other items) at UPEC Paris
This is a very bad photo of Gerald Morin, UPEC, presenting at Gartner Summit, June 2014. What do you do if staff, students, and the global research community need to have access to each other to collaborate on projects but not make it complicated or public? If Gerald Morin is your boss, you will implement a suite Microsoft solutions.
Gerald, Quality and Methods Manager at Universite Paris Est Creteil (UPEC), presented a case study at Gartner’s PPM & IT Governance Summit last week. He explained that UPEC is Paris’ largest multi-disciplinary university with 30k students, 1600 professors and 13 schools. It also has 31 research centers. It is located 20 minutes from the city center and offers international programmes as well as Masters courses in English.
They identified the need for a professional suite to help university-wide (and international) projects run smoothly and then they set out their requirements. These were the words Gerald used to describe them:
It should be easy
It must be based upon Office 365
It must be transparent
It must manage user access for all users, including those from outside the university as a result of international research projects
It must be implemented quickly
It should encourage cross-team collaboration
It must offer portfolio management
It must take the initiative to professionalise how projects are managed at the university.
How to address the challenges
The university didn’t have any project management tools before embarking on this tool selection exercise. They wanted to improve processes and tools, methods, reporting, and training, as well as introduce portfolio management. Although they might not have had much in the way of governance, Gerald stated that there was a clear model. He explained that UPEC governance is defined as the strategic documentation. They had to align their PPM solution to the university’s five-year strategic plan. This provided the basis for how they would manage projects.
The project team used several solutions to create the foundation of their professional PPM suite.
Microsoft Project Online
Microsoft Project Professional
Microsoft Project Web App
Microsoft SharePoint Online
App for the CS Task Board
CS Milestone Trend Analysis App
Although it sounds daunting, the goal was to begin with a minimal amount of functionality and then expand. Document management, dashboards and access to reference materials were all on the cards.
All of this was done between May and September 2013, and included the creation of the guiding principles and methods, as well as the document repository. They knew that a change in organisational management was necessary to get people to manage the projects in a new way.
They provided training on the culture of project management, and then offered tool-specific training.
My bag of goodies from Gartner summitManaging my portfolio
Gerald stated that one of the greatest benefits was the ability to view the entire portfolio on one screen. The UPEC hierarchy is shown in the resources breakdown structure. The President and Directors can view all projects. Directors of departments can only see their own projects.
Scores are assigned to new project opportunities that assist with prioritisation. This allows the board and staff to decide which projects they want. This is a level of transparency that the university has never had before.
The university has already seen an increase in productivity, better communications, and time savings. They have added scheduling tools. According to Gerald’s plan, they would audit what was achieved in June and then add generic resource management, assuming everything is well. There are also plans to review progress in a formal manner before adding co.