Queensland Government ICT Smart Services

Created a hybrid project management software solution by evolving existing processes and methodologies, enabling Agencies to manage business change programs to QG methods and standards.

The Client

In 2009 Smart Service and Pcubed made a joint submission for funding through the Whole-of-Queensland-Government (WoQG) ICT Service Provision Funding Program to create a "QG Program DeliveryHub" technology solution based on the QG Project and Program methodologies, and existing IP provided by portfolio, program and project consultancy, Pcubed. This project was approved and commenced in April 2011.

The approved solution concept was for the QG Program DeliveryHub to address the day-day technology needs of program delivery staff with a Microsoft SharePoint and Project Server 2007 (EPM) technology platform. The solution is to be packaged into an "Adoption Kit" and freely distributed to agencies for local deployment.

After careful consideration the Project Board decided in June 2011 that the solution should be built on Microsoft Office Server 2007 technologies as this would be the easiest for Agencies to deploy, and provide the best return to QG at this time.

The final product will largely be an exercise to adapt existing program delivery IP from Pcubed and QG into a suitable solution for all Queensland Government Agencies.

The Challenge

Managing a program using a formal Program Management methodology is a relatively new field within the Queensland Government (QG) sector and whilst the QG CIO has set its methodology guides and templates, there are few tools to assist programs following it.

To assist PMOs and Program teams in following the methods more closely and easily, Pcubed and Smart Service Queensland worked with a number of other Queensland Government departments to put together a set of tools and features to run under Microsoft's EPM.

An additional benefit for the overall governance is to provide a common starting point for future reporting across all agencies.

The Pcubed Solution

The QG Program DeliveryHub solution will provide a software solution for Agencies to manage vision-led business change programs to QG methods and standards (based on OGC best-practise). The solution will be packaged into an "Adoption Kit" with instructions and training materials to enable Agencies to install and use their own local instance QG Program DeliveryHub. The solution is built in a manner which enables Agencies to customise or extend the features for their own needs.

The QG Program DeliveryHub solution contains key components as detailed in the diagram below (Figure 1):

  • Two user portals, (Program Governance, Program Delivery) which support different functions and views of the program data for different stakeholder groups.
  • Two core repositories for the program, one containing Program methods, tools and standards, and one containing planning and performance data.
  • A logical connection to QG CIO Program Management Standards as the solution is compliant, and utilises the QG standards, methods and templates for Program Management.
  • Data connectors to view/extract data from Project Server 2007, SharePoint and potentially other agency line-of-business systems holding program delivery data.

Figure 1: QG Program DeliveryHub Solution Concept

Together these four components form a solid technology platform for supporting the establishment and successful delivery of QG business change programs.

The presentation of the solution to end-users will be integrated within the existing Project Server 2007 SharePoint environment in each Agency as shown below (Figure 2). The solution will minimise the amount of change required to the existing project sites, although additional data elements or mappings will be required.

Figure 2: QG Program DeliveryHub Integrated Site Layout

The QG Program DeliveryHub solution consists of a collection of tools designed to give agencies an extension to EPM for their Programs.

  • In partnership with Microsoft, the solution included the following products:
    • Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007
    • Microsoft Office Project Server 2007
    • Microsoft Office Project Server Web Access 2007
    • Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services v3
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2005
    • Microsoft SQL Reporting Services 2005
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003
  • A Reporting database, with configurable snapshots and data management
  • A site template for Programs
  • SQL Server Reporting Services Web Part (for EPM Workspaces)
  • Colour Calendar support (web part add-in)
  • Set of Program Reports (configured to work with Programs and Projects)

Diagrammatically this is:

The Benefit

  • A single repository for all schedules and program management information for Smart Services programs.
  • Executive portfolio view of each program's performance with the baseline and forecast "Go-Live" date and variance.
  • Provides registers for all MSP® management processes.
  • Automatically provides a Highlight Report (for program status report) based on information contained in the schedule and the SharePoint program workspace. This is delivered in a SharePoint web-part as the Governance page on each program's workspace site.
  • Provides program management compliance checklist and scoring model.
  • Provides a central place to record and track program benefits.
  • Central point of ‘truth' for current programs & projects and a single source for all project related information, including the governance of the methodology.
  • Resource scheduling made easy.
  • Reduced time to compile the monthly highlight report, previous process required the accessing of numerous individual highlight reports and cutting and pasting comments, statuses and dates.
  • Data is now drawn from MS Project so Program Managers are now updating their Gantt charts and using the capability of this tool to plan their programs
  • Centralised access to project information, this reduces the time to find information as well as ensures that the latest version is easily identifiable.
  • EPM will provide a platform to improve other aspects of PPO work such as resource planning, projects costing and risk and issues management.

Other Benefits

  • Reducing reporting burden on PM's and the PMO
  • Provide an example to other government agencies in how to efficiently build a program portfolio management capability using the enabling technologies of Windows Sharepoint Services and SQL Reporting Services.
  • Excellent platform to support development of further project portfolio management capabilities.

The PPO has achieved a greater level of report quality at considerably reduced effort. Compiling the Monthly report used to take 2-3 weeks effort prior to the EPM system being deployed. The reduced effort is now being spent on higher-value PPO activities such as project assurance.

Pcubed sees the EPM tool combined with appropriate project assurance activities from the Smart Service PPO has provided a quantum step in project management good practise across the Project Manager community at Smart Service. In addition to receiving the immediate benefit through more certain project delivery, Pcubed feels Smart Service is well positioned to leverage this new capability to further grow and benefit from improved project portfolio management practises. An EPM toolset is an excellent platform to inform future program and portfolio activities.