The Rubicon is a river near Rome and the convention was that a victorious Roman General returning from a successful campaign to the centre of the Roman Empire would stop at the river bank with his army and go no further. Crossing the Rubicon was tantamount to a declaration of war on the democratic government of the city of Rome and the Roman Empire itself.
My reason for referring to Rubik is the eponymous Cube. If you are familiar with this puzzle you will know how the changes that you make can have impacts that only serve to complicate things even more just when you thought you were on the cusp of achieving resolution. You will also no doubt appreciate the pretty patterns that can emerge from the mix of colours employed on the 6 faces of the cube. Whilst they may be appealing and attractive they are invariably not what you want to see.
From my experience in promoting Project Server related services a common phenomenon is the proud unveiling of the clients sophisticated Excel Spreadsheet solution for managing the workload of their people. Some of the examples are a riot of coloured cells, not dissimilar to a Rubik’s Cube – hence the reference.
I have seen some seriously impressive examples in my time but without exception the problem that these in-house solutions struggle with is the inevitable change that can occur in projects and the fact that they can only be updated by one person at a time.
Whilst the Spreadsheets I have seen are without doubt very sophisticated they struggle with change, do not always include all the projects being undertaken by the company and need constant updating to keep on top of changeable circumstances. These solutions can also struggle in identifying suitable candidates for work that is immediate and reactive rather than planned. Factor in the reality that people take time off work for personal reasons and things can quickly go awry.
When the capabilities of Project Server are demonstrated along with the ability to analyse information in real time and make informed decisions confident in the knowledge that those decisions are based upon fully up to date information there is invariably a resigned sigh – it is just so much easier with the Project Server solution. This ease of use and immediacy of data can in themselves represent a significant cost saving for most organisations, consider the fact that the data is generated and updated as a matter of course, that it can be used to report by an almost limitless number of criteria and that the information can be made immediately available to a wide audience of recipients
I worked with a client where it was acknowledged that each and every one of their Project Managers spend the best part of 2 days per month compiling reports for senior management. A simple calculation would suggest that in their case the time saving on this activity alone would cover the cost of adopting and implementing Project Server in just 2 months. It might be worth you asking just how much time your managers currently spend putting together monthly reports.
These cost savings though can be just the beginning of the value that a successful deployment of Project Server can deliver.
Being provided with accurate and up to date information in a timely fashion can allow senior management to make informed decisions with greater confidence and to make these decisions in a more timely fashion than might previously have been the case.
Having the confidence in the integrity of the information being provided is again a great benefit of the Project Server solution. In my next article I intend to focus upon understanding your schedule and why it is the way that it is.
Perhaps you should consider crossing the Rubicon and declaring war on time consuming manual processes considering the options that are available to you.