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Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved SharePoint-Powered Project Management A Netrix Case Study about Using OOTB SharePoint Mark E. Vogt
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved About Netrix LLC… Netrix provides: Cage-to-Cloud Infrastructure Desktop-to-Mobile Applications Carrier-to-Endpoint Communications Network-to-Application Security Expert SharePoint Technology Services and Solutions Tailored Business Solutions Engineering Expertise to Design, Deploy and Manage ALL of your technology needs – we make it ALL work together Why Customers Choose Netrix for SharePoint Solutions More than 30 cumulative years of hands-on SharePoint experience More than 70 cumulative years of IT & Business Solutions experience in leadership Comprehensive capabilities from analysis through implementation & support Focus on customer satisfaction and service excellence The Netrix Guarantee
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Case Study Outline… Background Description History Challenge Pain Consequences Requirements Solution Why SharePoint? Strengths Weaknesses Approach Results/Lessons
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Background… Major International Telecom (150,000 employees) Operates own (smaller) consulting firm (350 staff) Same characteristics as many companies small & large: Wide range of project sizes Microscopic: 1 location with 5 phones Boil-the-Ocean: 987 locations across USA with 75,000 phones Wide range of project methodologies employed Project teams often geographically-dispersed Project teams often composed of (temporary) contractors Project involve complex, dynamic (changing) processes
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Challenge… Pain Staff comprised of contractors skilled in telecom but NOT project methodology Project teams regularly re-organizing – no familiarity Project staff continually in a state of ambiguity – actually didn’t know what to do Project processes evolve/change rapidly – no time to re-train Time spent training processes to contractors is time wasted – they leave Management visibility into status (good & bad) difficult at best No time for traditional update/distill style of reporting Existing SP2010 site collections constrained to 5 GB by policy Existing SP2010 policies prohibit custom (VS2012) solutions Project teams in-the-field often spend all day not connected Consequences Processes need to be repeated because latest one not followed Project teams spend excessive amounts of time reporting Time spent training & re-training is time (cost) wasted Projects use other less-powerful technologies ( , file servers) to avoid 5 GB limit Sub-projects begin to falter; super-projects as a whole begins to suffer This pain multiplied across hundreds of concurrent projects is serious…
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Requirements… Must-Haves Single common approach to project management Process-related intelligence embedded in technology, not people Make executing complex, dynamic processes as simple as tell-me-what-to-do Store all content in SharePoint…without exceeding the 5 GB threshold Enable field staff to work offline for most of day Make it easy for staff to report exceptions Make it easy for managers to detect exceptions Make it easy to know when a sub-project is actually completed
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Approach… Leverage OOTB components Offload storage to Enterprise Vault™ as RBS (gaining in popularity) Model complex project processes as content types Capture &Track instances of processes in lists (not hidden inside SharePoint) Employ multiple less-complex WFs to model these complex process Delegate & Distribute development even with The Client
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Solution… Why SharePoint? Strengths Client already owns – just needs to use effectively Most all functionality required already OOTB (functionality) Functionality required already integrated (functionality) Website-based; allows intranet & extranet solutions (accessibility) Workflows possible… and permissible (functionality) Enables both event-driven and schedule-driven automation (functionality) Enables delegated & distributed development model (extensibility) Possesses robust, feature-filled security (security) Modular re: roles & services (performance) Weaknesses Oft-times “idiosyncratic” SharePoint Designer workflows take care to make debug-able and “inheritable” UPSHOT: There are precious-few reasons to not use SharePoint…
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Solution… Single SP2010 site collection Single custom project site template Custom project management-relevant content types (dovetail into larger parent taxonomy) Content Types mirror methodology Key processes as content types Multiple Workplan extract via MSP-SP feed Dashboards created via DataView web parts Versioning enabled, limited to 3 versions Remote BLOB Storage via Enterprise Vault ™ technology (already in-use) Daily build-up of content typically ~ 100 MB/day Nightly archiving offloads content to EV “Vault” DB Leaves only tiny (50 Byte) links behind in SharePoint SharePoint thinks it holds the content… but it doesn’t Key Processes modeled first simple, then more complex Processes manifested as (visible) list items Numerous smaller manageable WFs (“robots”) work in symphony Overall solution is inheritable and extensible Partial process automation, full process management automation A blend of manual & automated elements is often The Elegant Solution…
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Solution: Landing Page… Project Overview/Status Project Announcements Project Calendar Project Goals Project Issues Project Risks Project Decisions Project Questions Project Snippets Business Needs (or User Stories) Solution Requirements Project Tasks Project Tests Project Defects Project Documents Seemingly vast Landing Pages swiftly become invaluable to busy project members seeking information… DISPLAY only lists relevant to current project phase… ORDER lists to reflect methodology… DISPLAY “Landing Page View” of each list…
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Solution: Processes-as-Items… Process-as-item metaphor enables “State Machine” Workflow Projects involving repeated, complex processes can be readily tracked Complex processes can be automated in smaller, re-usable WFs Complex processes can be partially automated, but the overall management fully automated Numerous people can “feed” these items (unlike MPP files) Numerous documents (deliverables) can be involved in a single process Numerous stages can be readily tracked Numerous criteria for completion can be readily & intuitively tracked The website contains (retains) the process – freeing the workers to work! Manifesting Key Project Processes as content types in lists sets the stage for “embedding” methodology – freeing workers to work… Task Workflows Library Workflows Process Workflow(s)
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Solution: Workflows… Approach: Daily numerous smaller, manageable WFs monitored key processes, And ed out explicit instructions to each project member – even clients. Results: Ambiguity virtually eliminated Workers perfected only 2 “plays”: 1.PROCESS 2.WORK the site Client could “inherit” solution Client could “evolve” solution PM DE CLIENT FE PE Process Management automation can be just as useful as process automation…
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Solution: Workflows… Challenge: Typically SPD Workflows (Declarative) can only be triggered when an item is created and/or changed. Triggering SPD Workflows to run on a scheduled basis requires a custom timer job… …but Custom timer jobs were NOT permitted, due to organization development capability Useful Workaround: Leverage the nightly timer jobs(2) already built-into the Information Management Feature! Created a retention stage which repeated a selected “Nightly Item Inspection” WF daily, starting immediately after creation … With both event-triggered and scheduled WFs, much is possible…
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Solution: Content Types… System Item ABCItem ABCProjectItem ABCProject ABCProjectGoal ABCProjectRisk ABCProjectIssue ABCBusinessNeed ABCSolutionRequirement ABCSolutionStory ABCProjectProcess1 ABCProjectTask ABCSolutionTest ABCSolutionDefect ABCSolutionEnhancement … Document ABCDocument ABCProjectDocument Just a few content types can be very effective for project management… NOTES: NEVER (ever) modified SharePoint’s built-in content types! USED content types instead of “item” in lists DEFINED site content types at the site collection level DIDN’T over-solve needs PLANNED for future via placeholder/abstract content types SUBCLASSED document content types only when needed ! o Item Title [single line text] o ABCItem Description [multi-line text] Priority [A, B, C] Condition [Green, Yellow, Red] Notes [multi-line text] o ABCTask %Complete [number, 0-1, %] %CompleteBar [Calculated; = REPT(“*”, 10*(%Complete) )] Status [Queued, Started, Pending, Completed, Deferred, Cancelled ] o ABCProjectTask Client [lookup OR managed metadata] Program [lookup OR managed metadata] Project [lookup OR managed metadata] USEFUL!
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Solution: Project Dashboard… Managers used dashboard to detect & resolve exceptions Lesson: dashboards needn’t be fancy to be effective…
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Solution: Check-out with local draft… Sometimes the simplest of techniques end up being The Elegant Solution… Project staff who knew they were going off-site would simply check-out a document in local draft mode… This would allow them to carry and work on a document while offline, continually saving to this local copy… When next connected, SharePoint would synchronize these changes back into the associated SharePoint library!
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Results… Project member had only 2 simple, unchanging “plays” to learn: 1.PROCESS Inbox daily 2.WORK the site Project members received explicit s telling them what to do daily Project Ambiguity greatly minimized Project teams could re-organize with minimal loss of productivity Processes could evolve/change daily with minimal impact Project members easily fed process statuses into natural, intuitive lists List WFs immediately informed PMs and other members of issues List WFs fed PM dashboards for improved exception detection & response usage (content sharing) reduced significantly File Server usage reduced significantly Project staff could work disconnected effectively Production environment constraints were respected (played by the rules)
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Lessons... Project Management is all about Collaboration SharePoint was built for Collaboration Collaboration is only partly “communicating” Collaboration is only partly “sharing” Collaboration is mostly “tasking” Success does not require perfection Complete process automation is not always achievable – but process management automation is Process Management automation can be just as valuable as automating the process itself Seek solutions which distribute & delegate development Seek solutions which are intuitive & inheritable for clients SharePoint-powered project management can be very effective… (you simply need to be working with people who can show you how)
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Discussion…
Copyright © 2013 Netrix LLC. All rights reserved Netrix’s Team SharePoint… Kirk Fallbacher – Director, Software Group Dave Durbin – Manager, SharePoint Practice Team SharePoint Netrix LLC 2801 Lakeside Drive Bannockburn, IL USA
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