Project Description

RICS Moves to PMO Maturity with Wellingtone’s Bespoke Configuration of Microsoft Project Online

With a history that can be traced back more than 200 years, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) promotes and enforces globally respected standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. More than 134,000 qualified and trainee professionals look to the institute to provide professional development news, insights, qualifications and support.

In 2018, RICS adopted Microsoft Project Online within the IT PMO, as an important step in the journey towards PMO maturity. In 2019, this journey continued when RICS’s technology partner of choice, Wellingtone, worked with Hollie Farrell, PMO Manager at RICS, to implement a bespoke configuration of Project Online and Power BI. Early success with the new system is now driving the demand for a rollout of Microsoft Project Online and Microsoft Power BI across all RICS departments, as Hollie confirms.

Overview

Industry

Construction, Education

Country

London, UK

Challenge

To standardise project management delivery and increase maturity.

Solution

Microsoft PPM
Power BI

Products and Services

Project Online, SharePoint, Teams, Office 365

Results

A single source of the truth, greater visibility through reporting and efficient project delivery

The Microsoft Project Online Suite: The Toolkit Behind PMO Maturity

Microsoft Project Online and Power BI support customers in:

  • Standardising project visibility, delivery and reporting.
  • Understanding and controlling risks, costs and change.
  • Anticipating and managing an efficient resource pipeline.
  • Making intelligent and informed decisions to optimise the project portfolio.

Rolling out Project Online and Power BI:

The Early Benefits

  • Generating powerful, accurate financials with Power BI.
  • Improving decision making procedures with accurate and standardised data.
  • Streamlining the resource management process using Power BI intelligence.
  • Encouraging user adoption and rollout across the organisation.

Achieving Visibility, Standardisation and Control across the Project Portfolio

“As an organisation, RICS are quite new to the project management world,” says Hollie, “and so, up until recently, managing projects was a relatively informal process. Stakeholders had limited visibility over our project plans, progress and pipeline. We needed a more sophisticated toolkit to help us accurately forecast and track resource allocation, development time and internal costs. The initial implementation of Project Online was quite a jump for our people in a short time. So, when I joined RICS in April 2019, the next step was to look at how our data and reporting could be specifically configured to support us in delivering the right project outcomes.”

At this stage, with Project Online already in everyday use by RICS staff, Hollie began to work with the Wellingtone team to deliver the solution configuration. “Wellingtone visited us several times to facilitate requirement gathering sessions,” says Hollie. “Our priorities were to standardise project documentation and procedures, formalise channels for change control, cost and risk management, bring clarity to resource management and support informed decision making and project approvals.”

Having defined those requirements, Wellingtone’s technical team configured Project Online to meet RICS’s needs. “We realised that some of the standard Power BI functionality required manipulation to pull through the exact data we needed – for example, specific financials,” says Hollie. “There was a lot of work involved in figuring out what changes needed to be made for those reports to pick up the correct information in the most usable way. Wellingtone effected the changes very well. They understood what we needed, and they delivered exactly what we asked them to do.”

“Wellingtone’s PMO-specific expertise was useful in supporting us through some complex decision making, as we worked out what we needed the system to look like to best serve our requirements.”

Hollie Farrell – PMO Manager, RICS

A Technology Partnership Powered by PMO Expertise

Not only was Wellingtone’s work technically accurate, their level of service was also impressive, according to Hollie. “Wellingtone’s PMO-specific expertise was useful in supporting us through some complex decision making, as we worked out what we needed the system to look like to best serve our requirements. They were also quick to respond to our requests. They were happy to provide the face-to-face or phone contact we needed, and to engage their technical team whenever a query demanded it. Now, we’re at the stage where we’re utilising the system fully, and so our strategic conversations with Wellingtone are becoming fewer.

However, we also have a PPM support service with them that we can call on whenever we need to. That’s extremely useful and we anticipate that we’ll maintain that relationship. Introducing a formal system to manage projects has been quite a culture change for us. We still have a way to go before we’re maximising all the technology’s capabilities, and there are always going to be further tweaks to Project Online as our processes become more mature. But we are seeing encouraging levels of user engagement and requests from the wider organisation to adopt the technology.”

Even at this early stage, the benefits that Project Online is bringing to RICS are starting to emerge, say Hollie. “Project Online is starting to equip our people with the ability to make important decisions based on accurate and standardised data. We already use our Power BI reports to guide our resource management meetings, and I anticipate that our resource management will continue to improve as our use of the system becomes more comprehensive. We’re looking forward to making the transition to fully automated reporting. Not only will that free up significant man hours, it will also inform our decision making so that our projects portfolio is optimised. So, we can see some early benefits and we’re confident that those benefits will continue to grow as our use of Project Online and Power BI grows.”

All in all, Hollie concludes, the experience of working with Wellingtone has been nothing but positive. “Their expertise as a company is very much rooted in the PMO space, and that equips them to support PMO professionals with a sophisticated vision of what we need and how to deliver it. They’re also very personable as a company and as individuals. They’re on hand whenever you need them, both from a customer service and a technical perspective. I have enjoyed working with them so far.”