Federal Agency Improves Project and Portfolio Management Processes
Project Assistants’ Case Studies
Situation Situation
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is a self-governing Federal agency that serves as America’s national record keeper. NARA was searching for a Project Management tool to address ineffective project and portfolio management processes. With help from Project Assistants and Dell, NARA implemented the Microsoft Project Enterprise Project Management Solution. NARA now has the necessary tools to perform enterprise management of its portfolio of IT projects through all phases of the software development life cycle.

NARA’s mission is to ensure ready access to the essential evidence that documents the rights of American citizens, the actions of Federal officials, and the national experience. Among the treasures available to US citizens are the cornerstone documents of our Government; the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights, as well as many other national artifacts. NARA is also a public trust that safeguards the records upon which our democracy depends; it enables people to inspect for themselves the record of what government has done. NARA enables officials and agencies to review their actions, and helps citizens hold them accountable for those actions.

The office responsible for NARA’s IT project and portfolio management processes did not have a system to facilitate enterprise project scheduling, allocation of resources across multiple projects, enterprise level reporting or the ability to calculate a project’s earned value accurately. Additionally, NARA is required to comply with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the United States General Accounting Office (GAO) guidelines for effectively managing projects in rolling out the Electronic Records Archive (ERA), its largest project to date.

NARA began searching for a project management tool to address the issues with effectively managing its portfolio of IT projects according to the guidelines set forth by the OMB and GAO.
Solution Solution
Following is a summary of the four-part EPM solution, with associated business benefits:

1. Project Assistants and Dell helped NARA to achieve the desired future state by designing, configuring, and implementing a plan to roll-out Microsoft Project Server and Microsoft Project Professional within the Project Management Office Infrastructure, according to the following proven methodology.

  • Project Assistants and Dell assisted NARA with executing the plan by building the processes, tools and training to implement the Project Management Infrastructure.
  • The solution also included training and mentoring of the Project Management Office team members during the initial piloting of the EPM solution implementation.

Business Benefits:

  • Ensured success by engaging experts with a proven track record for these types of initiatives.
  • Followed a proven methodology for achieving NARA’s project management objectives.
  • Improved project management capabilities and communications between various departments within NARA.
  • Improved project documentation, risk and issues collaboration with the integration of Windows Share Point Services and Project Server.

2. The architecture of Microsoft Project allows you to implement a single Project Management repository for viewing and collaborating on multiple projects within NARA’s project environment. By deploying a standard system to initiate all projects at NARA, project artifacts and resources can be stored along with project tasks so that it is now possible to view a resource’s allocation across all activities they have been assigned to them within the organization, including the following:

  • View a resource’s total scheduled work by time period
  • View a resource’s total actual work by time period
  • View a resource’s total remaining availability by time period
  • View a resource’s utilization by time period

Business Benefits:

  • Single source of data for management reporting
  • All worked performed is accounted for
  • Single source for management project activities
  • Easier to spot unnecessary duplication of effort and resource over allocation
  • Provide tool to assist with the development of the PMO and weekly meetings process

3. All project tasks, resources and project information were loaded into a common work management tool. The robust, flexible and scalable architecture of Microsoft Project and Microsoft Project Server provided the required platform to store all work requests as well as all project data for active IT projects at NARA.

Business Benefits:

  • Leverage the organization’s current investment in Microsoft Project
  • Microsoft Project is only needed by project managers and project leaders; all others will be able to access needed project information directly from Project Server using Project Web Access. The licensing cost for Microsoft Project Server is significantly less than a full Microsoft Project license
  • Microsoft Project data can be stored in an ODBC database such as SQL Server or Oracle and this data can be integrated with other key business applications, such as accounting and human resource systems

4. Microsoft Project was integrated with CS-Solution’s wInsight to extract earned value data from project tasks to fulfill the requirements of an ANSI/EIA 784-A compliant EVMS tool.

Business Benefits:

  • Provides Microsoft Project with multiple earned value methods to select from within the Project Connect add-on toolbar
  • Automatically extracts data from Microsoft Project which will allow EV Managers to quickly analysis CPI and SPI trends and problems areas, assess performance and review estimate at completion statistics
  • EV data can be extracted in X12 or XML formats for easy integration with other EVMS applications that are ANSI/EIA 794-A compliant