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Wednesday, 17 March 2021 10:00

5 Reasons Why Microsoft’s Project for the web Accelerator with OnePlan is The Future of Project Online

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The next installment of my exclusive series of articles on new, emerging and some established project management tools and services will focus here on  OnePlan.

 

OnePlan is  an in-depth solution for your project portfolio needs that touts itself as the best project management software for the Microsoft platform.

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The way the world works is changing, and so is the technology for managing projects, products and portfolios. Microsoft is aligning its project tools strategy with its vision for today’s enterprise. In the modern workplace, the constraints of one monolithic system and one way of working are gone. Microsoft products Project Online and Project Server are on their way out and Project for the Web and Project Operations are on their way in. Today, Microsoft.com states that “there is no date to limit the functionality of Project Online at this time, but we encourage customers to plan their transition as soon as possible.” The Microsoft vision is bigger than just the new project products. It is important to understand the broader strategy for business solutions, where flexibility, speed and innovation in the enterprise are not limited to just one way of working.

Microsoft’s new vision for enterprise project management includes core components of their productivity platform: Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, Teams, and Dataverse. The addition of Project for the web provides a more modern, user-friendly scheduling tool.  The vision is expansive and provides customers the flexibility to create tailored solutions that also integrate all forms of work management across the organization. Now, if you are an existing user of Project Server or Project Online, the natural question to ask is ‘which Microsoft product should I look at as my replacement?’ But in the new world of work, where a ‘one-size-fits-all’ system just won’t cut it, we need to change the question.

A better question is: ‘how can we improve our portfolio management performance and what are the key capabilities that our various teams will benefit from?’ An optimal solution will likely include integrating with one or more major enterprise planning systems, as well as a connection to the work management tools that teams find most productive. And then there are some standard components that are going to be valuable, including Microsoft Teams for collaboration, plus Microsoft PowerApps and Power Automate for workflows, requests and approvals. In summary, the new landscape means having to put in a little more thought and ‘solutioning’ up front, but the end result is a more valuable solution, with better adoption.

To help you get started, Microsoft has announced the launch of a new version of its Project for the web Accelerator for PPM, which delivers a more configurable basic solution using Power Platform and Project for the Web. Coupled with some licensing changes that make the technology very competitively priced, this is a welcome step towards fulfilling Microsoft’s vision for its Project Online installation base. OnePlan has been working with Microsoft to help create this vision. OnePlan provided an early version of the new Accelerator and has continued to innovate and extend the platform to fully support current Project Online users. The combination of Microsoft’s Project Accelerator and OnePlan provides a superior PPM platform. Here are 5 reasons why:

  1.      Connect Strategy to Execution

OnePlan includes capabilities to capture and define your corporate strategy in the form of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). This supports Strategic Portfolio Management. The solution enables the linking of your objectives and key results to your projects and programs to fully understand how the strategy is being realized and the key projects and resources needed to make it happen.  It includes a wide variety of methods for prioritizing or sequencing portfolios, based on metrics of business value and constraint. For more information on our Strategic Portfolio Management features visit: Strategy Execution Management | OnePlan

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  1.      Engines for Resource and Financial Planning.

Most portfolio management scenarios require powerful financial and resource management capabilities. These capabilities are OOB with OnePlan and, in contrast with Project Online, OnePlan has almost unlimited options for configuring them to meet specific enterprise needs. This includes resource capacity planning at the levels of team, role, function or individual. It also includes easy to use, time-phased financial budgeting, forecasting, and tracking of actuals, plus optional timesheets if needed. Financial and resource capabilities can also be integrated with enterprise systems.


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  1.      Full Support for Agile Methodology

OnePlan includes the ability to use boards at the feature, project, large solution and portfolio levels; to create sprints, program increments, epics and the relationships between them. It also enables resourcing based on sprints, stable teams and cross-functional teams. The OnePlan solution is Scaled Agile Framework certified.  It can be deployed within Azure DevOps to provide powerful Portfolio and Resource Planning capabilities.

Furthermore, the solution does not require an organization to adopt a single methodology. The trend is towards a variety of methodologies and delivery models in the enterprise. OnePlan supports this dynamic environment, providing consolidation, portfolio planning and reporting on top of the various PMOs and their chosen delivery models.  For more information visit: Scaled Agile – Lean Portfolio Management | OnePlan

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  1.      Tool of Choice

OnePlan supports using both Project for the Web and Project Professional as end-user scheduling tools. It also supports using Microsoft 365 Planner, SharePoint lists, Azure DevOps, JIRA and more. OnePlan provides seamless access to the tool of choice. Gone are the days of insisting that all projects must use a complex professional tool. The goal: provide Project Managers with the option to work with the tools they need to do the job right.

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  1.      Connectors to Enterprise Systems

Another strength of OnePlan is the ease of systems integration. For example, portfolio management sometimes requires a connection with a CRM system such as Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce – to enable visibility into the pipeline of upcoming projects or products. Or a connection with a financial system such as SAP, in order to bring in actual costs from capital and expense items. To make systems integration a repeatable, robust and continuously supported scenario, OnePlan provides connector products – known collectively as OneConnect - for a wide range of enterprise applications. For more information on our OneConnect solution visit: Integrations | OnePlan

To learn more about OnePlan or to get a free trial, visit www.oneplan.ai today.

Brad Egeland

PMTopContributorBrad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Creative Design, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 11, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad's site at http://www.bradegeland.com/.

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