Microsoft Project Server
Halliburton found that Primavera was too costly and laborious. They needed a tool to replace this aging project management system and needed a solution that would incorporate their newly minted Project Lifecycle Management methodology, simplify project progress capture and resource time entry, reduce current month-end overhead and integrate with their existing corporate SAP system. Because the 2600+ resources in the Technology division have operations that span the globe, they required robust reporting capabilities to bring into sharp focus the vast amount of data that an enterprise class solution can generate. Halliburton solicited the services of EPMA to assist with all facets of their global Microsoft Project Server 2010 implementation.
“The team at EPMA was very knowledgeable about the product. Their suggestions were invaluable to the project and we found their staff very helpful throughout the process. We will certainly be recommending EPMA to our other departments.”
- Project Server Functional Lead
“The most difficult part was defining a strategy to get the SAP environment to tie into Project Server. However, after some requirements workshops, we managed to come up with an Action Plan.”
- Anthony Zinkermann, Vice President, EPMA
“EPMA helped us to come up with a structured training curriculum that we could roll out to all of our Project Managers around the world. Their trainers were very flexible when fitting into our tight schedule; we were able to run 4 concurrent classes. The feedback from our Project Managers was very positive.”
- EPM for Technology Project Manager
Getting nine different divisions to agree on an approach that best serves the corporate objectives was no easy task. A group of representatives from each service line was selected to help shape system design by participating in multiple workshop and review sessions for the duration of the project.
Scope management is a constant with an implementation of this scale involving so many interested parties. Careful attention to design decisions that fall outside the agreed upon phase were carefully documented, categorized and prioritized for the next phase.
EPMA directly engaged the stakeholders and LOB subject matter experts allowing for ample and thorough planning, documentation, and scheduled reviews. EPMA’s implementation team produced a blueprint for the overall system and integration design. EPMA significantly mitigated unwelcome project surprises through the use of reporting requirements, training plans and roll out execution.
With SAP being the backbone of Halliburton's financial and forecasting organization, it was imperative that their Microsoft Project Server be seamlessly integrated. EPMA was instrumental in designing, developing, testing and deploying this custom integration effort. Project managers were trained by EPMA on the specific processes involved to successfully craft their project schedules to meet the needs of SAP. The final integration design allowed the PMs to craft SAP WBS Networks and Activities within their schedules and send this structure, along with time-phased planned and baseline costs info, to SAP’s Project Systems module. Actual labor costs gathered from resources’ timesheets are sent to SAP on a weekly and month-end basis. Another interface then brings non-labor actuals totals into the schedules and time-phased actuals into project server for custom reports and dashboards.
Project Server’s built-in Active Directory synchronization allows the system to pull the resource name, email address and Windows login. The process was then customized to bring in a wealth of additional resource metadata. This allows for a “hands off” approach to keeping resource data in sync with the corporate ERP system.
Because this was no “Out of the Box” implementation, 2600+ resources could not be adequately trained using standard, non-specific training material. Therefore, EPMA were tasked with providing the client with custom, process-specific, user-friendly training materials for their workforce.
To help drive adoption and user familiarity, these materials included screenshots of the new system and were designed as a go-to, reference-styled instructional manual.
EPMA’s expert EPM Instructors provided onsite 3-day training courses over a period of several months across various international locations.
For future training efforts, EPMA also provided text scripts to the internal education staff so they could create informal, subject-specific, online/on demand training videos for their resources.
No implementation is complete without being able to visually disseminate distinct collections of data so that the PMs, Resource Managers and Executives can quickly and easily digest pertinent information. For the data consumers, EPMA developers created multiple dashboards and reports, including reports that process data from systems outside of Project Server. These reports help users manage and reconcile timesheet submissions and SAP data. Reports also identify schedule issues from several different angles: planned reports, actual work hours and project costs.
Realizing that some users prefer data in a more basic presentation in order to exercise their Excel pivot table skills, EPMA provided reports to suit them as well.
With such a high priority placed on process standardization across all the Technology service lines, the governance process that was agreed upon needed to be committed electronically to be properly enforced and reported against. Therefore, EPMA configured a third party workflow tool. EPMA integrated the workflow phases into the training materials, as well as into the custom reports and dashboards.
The interface that builds the MS project schedule elements in SAP allows the PMs to remain in the tool they’re most comfortable with, while allowing them to leave the complexity of an SAP GUI behind. For the end users, the timesheet data interface removes the need for dual time entry, making this process seamless.