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Project Online Q&A

Project Online Q&A

Have you ever wondered how you get started with Project Online?

So as an example let's say someone from the Project Management Office calls IT and says we need Project Online turned on.

IT does their due diligence and comes back with a few questions after looking at the costs of licensing and what would need to be turned on.

Now IT responds with simple questions like 

  • For how many users?
  • What do you need to be configured?

Sponsor replies for everyone in the organization and lets us know what we have to choose from regarding configurations?

Well, that is where IT stops and says to themselves, I'm not 100% sure what all this thing does let alone how to configure it.

Maybe we need to ask some high-level questions and make sure this is what they need.

Mapping out Project Online

Here are some sample questions [start with these] that you can ask your sponsor about what they might need in Project Online. If you still feel you are in over your head give us a call and let one of our Project Online consultants help guide you through it.

This is broken into sections and is a better way to gather the requirement for mapping purposes.

Business Objectives  
Questions Sample Responses
What expectations do you have for this initiative? One of the purposes of using Project Online is to implement some form of project prioritization process with the ability to rank the projects, based on project service requests and some weighted measurements.
Other important considerations are:
1.       A tool to prioritize EPM level people.
2.       A repository for Project related documents (central source).
3.       A way to streamline planning on assessments for projects, based on multiple templates, which would be appropriate to technical vs. application projects.
4.       A way of streamlining project definition documentation.
5.       A useful place for recording all project risks.
6.       A means of identifying behind and in trouble projects.
7.       Report of global view of project information.
8.       High level Status Report on each Project.
Other options will, no doubt, be identified as features are better understood.
What are the key business drivers for this initiative? Key Drivers are:
·        Resource Management
·        Support Project Management (PMO)
What are the key critical success factors? Critical Success Factors:
·        Buy-in from participants
·        Roll-up Project Portfolio Reporting
·        Resource Management
Project Management Office Type Questions    
Questions   Sample Responses
Is there a central location where a PM can go to find assistance about process, documentation, methodology, etc.?   Central location for information and change control:
  ·        There is a central reference point (PMO), but it is not always used
  ·        Tracking Project related information can be improved
  ·        Concerns over the adoption of changes
  ·        Concern over buy-in
Executive Reporting    
Questions   Sample Responses
Do you have procedures for the distribution of project information? If so, what are they? Please include documentation or examples.   Yes. Manually via hard copy reports and through an Intranet site.
How could the distribution of information be improved?   Centralized repository of information accessible online.
Are project baselines (comparison of the original plan to current plan) used to assess project performance after completion?   Not at this time.
General Environment    
Environment Definition    
Questions   Sample Responses
How many Project Manager users will there be?   8
How many Team Member users will there be?   1000
How many Resource Manager users will there be? (Functional Managers)   1
How many Executive users will there be?   2
How many Portfolio Manager users will there be?   0
How many users of other types will there be?   0
How many Projects are active at any given time?   10
Security and Access    
Questions   Sample Responses
Is there an organizational reporting structure defined for projects that can be used to control security?   An Organization Chart is available and will be used as the basis for building up the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS) which will help control security.
Are there requirements for security on projects?   Yes. Project Managers should be able to see and manage their own Projects.
Schedule Task Management  
Task Assignment    
Questions   Sample Responses
When you create the initial Project Schedule, do you know the actual Resources who will be working on each task or will you assign a Resource placeholder (Generic Resource) until “real” resources are identified?   Resource allocation is a collaborative process between Resource Managers, Project Managers, and Project Sponsors/Requestors, in the future with the support of the PMO.
  No formal Resource Pool is currently used, as Project Managers each use their own individual means of tracking their Resources (primarily through Excel Spreadsheets).
  Generic resources should be initially assigned to tasks then replaced when “real” resources are identified.
Project Team Views/Reporting    
Questions   Sample Responses
Do you have standard reports or reports in mind that this base system absolutely must reproduce?   There were a number of Template reports examined that might lend themselves to being generated via Project Server. There were some specific reports that were identified priorities for creation within Project Server.
Project & Portfolio Management    
Portfolio Management    
Questions   Sample Responses
What reports do the general Project Managers need to manage their projects?   Project Manager reports needed are To-Do Lists and Status Reports.

This is maybe 5% of the questions we normally ask during our high-level conversations regarding requirements but should allow you to get a sense of the type of questions needed.

We can make it so it is not complicated to implement and keep it simple for a solid foundation.