Project Assistants’ Case Studies

Healthcare Information Services Company Improves Project Management Processes

Situation

Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. (ACS) is a diversified business process outsourcing and IT services company. ACS State Healthcare Services (SHS) develops, administers and operates a wide spectrum of systems and services to support the needs of state-administered health care programs, including Medicaid, pharmacy benefits management and child health programs. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, ACS State Healthcare has approximately 3,800 employees.

SHS is in the business of developing and delivering large, complex systems for its customers. Successful execution of these projects requires adherence to sound project management methodologies and processes. In response to this need, ACS State Healthcare had developed a standard Project Management Methodology and a Project Management Organization to support the processes. However, in order to maintain a leadership role in an increasingly competitive market, ACS realized that it needed to advance to the next level of maturity in their project management processes. This included:

  • Implementing an Enterprise Project Management (EPM) solution across the organization
  • Proliferation of the PMM across all areas of the organization and increasing the level of compliance across all projects
  • Increasing the level of integration among project management tools, such as scheduling, estimating, reporting, and time tracking
  • Improving the process for allocating resources across projects
  • Improving the accuracy and consistency of the estimating process
  • Improving the project and program status reporting process
  • Providing consolidated, managed document repositories for programs and projects as well as a central Knowledge Management library.
  • Obtaining a higher level of consistency in delivering projects across business organizations
  • Facilitating the communication of project information to external customers

Solution

To best meet ACS State Healthcare’s stated objectives, Project Assistants guided the design, configuration and implementation of a Microsoft Project Enterprise Project Management (EPM) environment. At the same time, Project Assistants conducted a Project Management Maturity Assessment, and from that developed strategic and tactical plans for ACS to achieve higher levels of maturity in the long term.

The PM Maturity Assessment process consisted of a number of interviews with stakeholders from across the organization. Interviews were based on a questionnaire developed by Project Assistants, which included concepts from the SEI/CMM Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and the Project Management Institute (PMI) Organization Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3). The results were compiled into a Findings and Recommendations report, which described ACS’s current level of maturity and contained recommendations for moving to higher levels.

From the Findings and Recommendations, Project Assistants developed a high level strategic plan and a number of detailed tactical initiatives for ACS to implement in order to carry out these recommendations.

Concurrently with this activity, Project Assistants began the implementation of an Enterprise Project Management (EPM) solution for ACS. The implementation process began with gathering, documenting and reviewing the requirements needed to configure and implement the EPM environment. Through this process, Project Assistants was able to gain a better understanding of ACS’s key project planning, executing and control functions so that those requirements could be translated into detailed design points for software configuration and implementation.

The next step in the implementation process was to install the EPM tool set, including Microsoft Project, Microsoft Project Server and SharePoint Portal Server. The EPM Pilot Solution was then configured based upon the requirements gathered at the beginning of the process. The configured solution included creation of custom enterprise fields, metrics and descriptors to facilitate reporting, creation of numerous Project Center summary and detail views, population of a subset of the Enterprise Resource Pool, and the import of a number of pilot project work plans.

The pilot implementation included development of a number of custom SharePoint Portal sites. The purposes of these sites included storing artifacts and deliverables for existing multi-project programs, demonstrating the repository capability to prospective customers, and serving as a pilot for the internal knowledge management repository.

Once the pilot solution was successfully installed, training became the engagement focus. Project Assistants provided seven in-depth training classes for ACS project managers, team members Project Server administrators and SharePoint Portal administrators.

Following implementation and training, three months of technical and end-user support was provided to assist those using the Pilot EPM solution.

Benefits

Because of the thorough planning and implementation of the EPM assessment and solution, ACS State Healthcare was able to meet their originally stated pilot objectives. As a result of this implementation, the company has achieved the following:

  • More effective planning, control and reporting for those projects currently being piloted in the EPM environment
  • More competitiveness in the marketplace due to the availability of the EPM environment and tools in its portfolio
  • Excellent positioning for the implementation of future initiatives to improve project management maturity across the organization.

Project Assistants, Inc.

Project Assistants offers a comprehensive suite of consulting services, custom development, education and products to assist organizations at any point of their project management evolution. Project Assistants clients increase their ability to manage risk, maximize ROI, effectively manage change, and increase confidence in making decisions. Project Assistants is based in Wilmington, Delaware and has offices nationwide.