If you are reading this then there is a good chance you have had some exposure to Microsoft Project Online. I have a few questions for you.

  • How effective or successful do you consider your organisations adoption of Project Server to be?
  • Is it a well kept secret or a tool that is gradually being embraced by the entire organisation?
  • Has your use of Project Server increased or decreased since it was implemented?

Adopting Project Server is not the “Silver Bullet” solution that some people may believe it to be. Moving to Project Server is in itself a Business Change project and change is something that a lot of people don’t like as they are comfortable with the status quo.

We were at prospective customers recently and in the room in which we met there was a quotation displayed on a poster.

Resistance to the change that Project Server represents can sometimes be frustrating but you can be sure that you will encounter it at some point or other; it is perhaps worth being prepared and quoting the above to those people who do resist.

If your answers to any of the questions I posed were positive it is likely that at least two of the following three success factors were in place.

  • A sound business case for adopting Project Server.
  • High Level support for the initiative
  • Ownership of Project Server by the PMO or Project Management subject matter experts within your organisation.

In our experience we have seen both sides of the coin and in some cases have been frustrated that what might have been has been abandoned due to resistance or a lack of support.

The third of the above success factors is perhaps the most telling – we have seen organisations where the IT function has elected to both install and own Project Server, the rationale being that it is a piece of software and just needs to be installed. The results have never quite delivered as expected for a variety of reasons, invariably conflicting priorities for a function that is providing business critical support will be an issue.

We would always argue that the PMO or its equivalent “Owns” Project Server as they are most likely to both understand the nuances of Project Management and also appreciate how projects are managed within the organisation. They are ideally suited to decide how the tool should be configured and how it should be deployed. They are also the ones most likely to realise early benefits making the original business case a self fulfilling prophesy.

Having input and support from the IT function will be required and they can be engaged as partners in the implementation but they should provide expertise where appropriate rather than drive the entire process.

Our experiences are not unique and have been observed by other EPM specialists in the UK and overseas.

If your implementation of Project Server has not delivered as expected all is not lost, you can consider “rolling back” and starting once more but with the correct success factors in place.

Even if your answers have been positive there is no room for complacency, are you really getting the maximum out of your investment, are you fully realising the potential of the solution.

We have conducted numerous project server audits and the outcomes have always been valuable and informative. What always amazes me is that when we encounter situations where organisations are really firing on all cylinders the individuals’ responsible regard their efforts as being adequate and with room for improvement, quite the opposite of being complacent.

Project Management is about change, it is also about looking to continuously improve. Ask yourself a question – “are we really getting the most out of our investment in Project Server and if not why not?”