EPM has a broad scope, which includes successfully managing individual projects, understanding relationships among projects, and selecting and monitoring projects based on their fit with strategic goals. The following list categorizes eight common capabilities of EPM technology as they relate to the discipline of project management.
1. Project management. From the work breakdown structure to the resource-leveled project schedule, individual projects need a detailed plan that integrates cost, schedule, scope, and resource constraints and can be used to measure progress against these goals. The diagrams found in Chapters 6, 7, 8, and 12 (and repeated in the appendix) show example output from software used at the project level.
2. Team communication and collaboration. Organizing project documentation, tracking issues and risks, and reporting individual progress against assignments are all necessary within projects. Internet- and network-based technology enables teams to consistently and efficiently share this information, whether team members share office space or are spread around the world.
3. Visibility of interproject dependencies. When projects share personnel, or when one project is waiting for another project to reach a key milestone, coordination of multiple projects requires visibility of their relationships. Systems that store all project information in a common database provide an integrated view of all projects.
4. Visibility of resource use across all projects. As people are assigned to projects, we try to avoid overloading some people and underas-signing others. The complexity of this problem grows when people work part-time on many projects. The capability to see availability or overallocation of personnel across many projects has become one of the driving factors for implementing EPM technology.
5. Project portfolio summary. Managers responsible for many projects benefit when they are able to see accurate summary status for all their projects. Figure 13.3 shows how an executive could organize all projects within his or her span of control, with access to detailed project information, by selecting any project. Again, this is typically the product of a system that stores all project information in a common database.
6. Project status reporting. Project status consists of both hard data, such as cost performance, and verbal descriptions of project events (both the good and the bad). EPM technology enables both types of information to be merged in a consistent format so that management gets a common, reliable view of progress across all projects.
7. Cost accounting. Aligning resources and goals is pretty theoretical if we can't capture and analyze costs. Costs are typically incurred at the project level, but useful cost analysis includes categorizing costs that span projects. The fundamental task of recording time (labor) spent on projects is increasingly fulfilled by EPM technology.
8. Interfaces to complementary systems. EPM doesn't cover every business process. The ability of the EPM system to interface with accounting and portfolio management systems decreases the work required to keep project accounting—particularly timekeeping for individual project team members—synchronized with the overall accounting system.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.