Project Description

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Optimises PMO Performance with Microsoft Project Server

Employing a staff of around 4,000, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) is responsible for delivering more than sixty community and mental health services to half a million people. Core responsibility for managing the project portfolio lies with the trust’s internal IT project management office. This PMO was already delivering best practice methodology with its customised PRINCE2® approach. But the department needed to centralise its functions for optimised delivery, as explained by Laura Parkinson, Senior Programme Manager for the Trust.

NHS Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Overview

Customer

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Products and Services

Microsoft Project Server
Power BI
SSRS

Organisation Size

Large (1,000 – 9,999 employees)

Country

United Kingdom

Industry

Healthcare

Benefits

  • Since deploying Project Server in summer 2017:
  • Average reporting time has reduced from 1 hour 30 minutes to just 20 minutes
  • Success rate in achieving reporting targets has increased from 77% to 95%
  • Estimated time-savings have been worth £10,000 (non-cashable) per annum.

According to Laura, the main drivers behind a transition to Microsoft Project centred on the team’s planning, scheduling, resourcing and reporting functions. “In the past, our project managers were operating separate, independent plans to deliver their projects – often using Excel or Microsoft Project on a standalone basis,” she says. “There was a danger of cross-scheduling, because we didn’t have visibility over which of our resources had already been allocated. Plus, we were spending a lot of time manually pulling together risk issue management and reporting documents. We needed to invest in a tool that would streamline the efficiency of the PMO and its project portfolio.

As well as configuring Project Server to fit our strategy, Wellingtone also examined our customised use of PRINCE2 and helped us to make that slicker, both in relation to the technology and also the wider processes.

Laura Parkinson, Senior Programme Manager – Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Project Server: A Secure, Customised Solution

A combination of factors – including the need to fund the transition with capital monies and the need to safeguard data security – led the team to identify Project Server as their preferred tool. A stringent procurement process examined three Microsoft Gold Partners, with Wellingtone winning the bid. “We felt that Wellingtone provided the best all-round package to fit our budget and needs,” says Laura. “It was an easy decision to make.

The Project Lead at Wellingtone was responsible for supporting CPFT in configuring and deploying Project Server. She recalls that “The predominant challenge in supporting this client was technical. As an NHS Trust PMO, they have a clear responsibility for protecting data security, hence the decision to adopt an on-premise solution. Throughout configuration and deployment, we needed to be scrupulous about protecting those safeguards. That meant that we had to be extremely flexible to the client’s needs and availability – from completing remote dial-in work at times when the client was available to be online with us, to implementing robust security measures to regulate how software updates were configured.

The need to fund the transition with capital monies and the need to safeguard data security – led the team to identify Project Server as their preferred tool.

Laura Parkinson, Senior Programme Manager – Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Adding Value to a Mature PRINCE2 Approach

Laura appreciates Wellingtone’s commitment not just to configuring customised functionality, but also to supporting eHealth’s excellence in delivery. “They were very willing to tweak their standard package to fit our approach,” she explains. “As well as configuring Project Server to fit our strategy, Wellingtone also examined our customised use of PRINCE2 and helped us to make that slicker, both in relation to the technology and also the wider processes. We were doing a lot of heavy initiation work on each project, and they helped us to streamline that phase. We wanted to improve risk management, so Wellingtone ensured that Project Server immediately shows our project managers if a project is running late or behind budget. Crucially, they also helped us to set up our reporting functions so that we can now easily baseline and monitor our projects via customised reporting templates. That enables us to clearly evaluate our work and consistently improve our project delivery.

Wellingtone didn’t just focus on the IT implementation – they added value to the strategic process and decision making, and they stayed in constant communication to ensure we were up and running as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Laura Parkinson, Senior Programme Manager – Cumbria NHS

Achieving Measurable Benefits in Project Delivery

Wellingtone initially worked with CPFT to deploy and roll out Project Server in the summer of 2017, training all members of the PMO within one week. “That was a good approach,” says Laura. “It meant that staff were able to embed their new knowledge straight away. We anticipated some reticence in adopting the new system, but it quickly became clear that staff could appreciate the benefits of Project Server and they took to it well.

Those benefits, Laura says, are clear and tangible. “Before we had Project Server, it took staff an average of an hour and thirty minutes to produce a highlight report. Now, it only takes around twenty minutes. Our PMs aim to produce these reports for each project monthly. Previously, their success rate was 77%. It’s now estimated at 95%. Our customised reports have improved how we allocate resources, so that we can easily understand how we are performing as a team and, when something is not working, why it isn’t working. That equips us to refine our processes accordingly. There is also an enormous benefit around compliance – ensuring that our PMs consistently follow the same process in a centralised and visible way has streamlined efficiency, which is good for our staff as well as our beneficiaries. Project Server has become such an integral part of what we do that it’s hard to remember how we managed before.

Almost one year on from initial deployment, CPFT has fully embraced the potential of Project Server within the PMO. Now, the system is integrated into all major projects. “With Wellingtone’s help, we have come a long way,” Laura says. “We’re now looking at further rollouts to other departments and projects. Wellingtone didn’t just focus on the IT implementation – they added value to the strategic process and decision making, and they stayed in constant communication to ensure we were up and running as quickly and smoothly as possible. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Wellingtone to any organisation looking to adopt a Microsoft project management solution.

To learn more about Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, visit www.cumbriapartnership.nhs.uk

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