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How do you report?

Reposting from http://blogs.msdn.com/project/archive/2010/04/07/how-do-you-report.aspx Project wants to know how you report. As we plan for future product improvements, we want to learn more about how you report on your project’s status today. · What tools do you use? · How often do you report on your project’s status? · What data do you care about? · How do you share your reports? · What do you find difficult with your current process? Please send any information you’d like to share to projrep@microsoft.com Screenshots of the reports you use are very useful too – feel free to blur out any confidential data. For example, we just care to see that your report contains late tasks, we don’t need to see the actual tasks that are late. To learn more about Project 2010 reporting improvements, check out this post.

Project 2010 Business Intelligence TechCenter

Being on the EPM UA team that creates and publishes the Project content on TechNet, I wanted to highlight the following announcement for those that may not have seen it yet: We are pleased to announce a new TechCenter for Project 2010 focused on Business Intelligence ! Based on the partner and customer feedback we are concentrating all technical information about BI in Project 2010 into one single location. The BI center currently offers number of Presentations, WebCasts links to blogs and technical articles as well as links to the “uber” BI center for SharePoint 2010 . As you know we leverage the power of SharePoint 2010 in Project 2010 – this is especially true for reporting– if you want to learn basics about SharePoint 2010 BI – the BI center for SharePoint 2010 is your best bet. If you are looking for specific information for Project 2010 – e.g. how to set up BI, create and customize reports – the BI center for Project 2010 is the place to go! Business Intelligence Resource Center for Project Server 2010 exists in context of the “uber” as per the following illustration: Q&A Q: Is the content final or will it grow in the future? A: The content of the BI Center for Project 2010 will continue to grow in the future as new content becomes available. Q: Could I use Visio Services

Project Server 2010 Webcast – 8:00AM Pacific Time Wednesday March 31st

Don’t miss tomorrow morning’s TechNet Webcast: Managing the Project Life Cycle with Demand Management ! Here’s some details : Language(s): English. Product(s): Microsoft Office Project,Microsoft Project 2010. Audience(s): IT Decision Maker,IT Generalist. Duration: 60 Minutes Start Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 8:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada) Event Overview Demand Management, a new feature in Microsoft Project Server 2010, captures work proposals in one place and takes them through a multi-stage governance process using a SharePoint workflow model. In this presentation, we provide an overview of Demand Management and its importance in managing project life cycles, and we explain how to configure Demand Management and the required components. Presenter: Rolly Perreaux, Senior EPM Consultant / Instructor, PMO Logistics Inc. Rolly Perreaux is a senior enterprise project management (EPM) consultant and instructor for PMO Logistics Inc., a company that specializes in EPM consulting services and training. Rolly has more than 25 years business experience and holds various designations from the Project Management Institute (PMP), Microsoft, Compaq, IBM, CheckPoint, and CompTIA, and he has just been awarded a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for Microsoft Project. Rolly’s detailed dossier can be viewed at www.pmologistics.com/bio/rollyperreaux.htm , and he frequently blogs at http://rperreaux.spaces.live.com . View other sessions from Microsoft Project: Align People, Work, and Priorities If you have questions or feedback, contact us .

“Tier 1” Apps are Special…But At What Cost?

Greetings everyone, and happy-almost-spring. Lately I’ve been focusing on understanding the costs (in all its forms) of delivering and managing Tier 1 applications. For the sake of discussion, let’s define a “Tier 1” app in terms of reliability or “quality of service”. In a previous post , I discussed four tiers of criticality for enterprise applications. While you may disagree with some of the names, there should be little argument that there are classes of applications that are truly critical to the success or failure of a business; the so-called “mission critical” application. These apps are also referred more generically to be called “Tier 1 applications”. These applications hold a special level of importance in the corporate enterprise because their failure (measured in terms of reduced service quality or complete outages) would have a profound effect on the business including any or all of the following: Widespread business stoppage with significant revenue impact Risk to human health/environment Public, wide-spread damage to organization’s reputation Company-wide productivity is compromised Examples of these types of applications are eCommerce (amazon.com, ebay, etc.), 911 response systems, stock and commodity trading systems, and airline reservation systems (some would also put CRM and corporate email into this group too). ( Note : while some have referred to Tier 1 apps with examples such as Exchange, SharePoint, SQL, Oracle, DB2, etc., I claim they are missing the point. With the possible exception of SharePoint, these other examples support the application and need to be treated as part of the overall solution, not as the solution itself.) It’s obvious that these applications are important to the business for the reasons listed above as well as others. They represent a significant importance to the business when they run well and a huge impact to the business when they don’t. Tier 1 Apps Put Quality and GRC Ahead of Cost What I find interesting, however, is that these apps hold a special place in the minds (and the wallets) of business and IT leaders. Despite the IT maturity of an organization, companies will “invest” whatever it takes to keep these applications up and running with the highest levels of quality expected of their customers. Even for organizations that do not have a culture of IT maturity improvement, Tier 1 apps will always enjoy financial and human resource availability to ensure those apps remain highly available. While the driver for most applications in the organization (60%-80%) is cost (delivery and ongoing maintenance), Quality of Service (QoS) and Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance are foremost. The implications of this can be profound, particularly for companies that do not have a practice of IT maturity improvement. Highly mature organizations imbue the practices of service delivery with high quality, high compliance, and low risk across the entire portfolio of their service catalog, without incurring the huge costs of maintenance. Less mature organizations, on the other hand, will tend to be reactive in nature and waste resources to ensure these Tier 1 applications remain healthy. The costs incurred can come from many sources such as expensive consulting resources, inefficient, time-consuming processes, and an over-reliance on expensive technologies. In short, these organizations will throw whatever is necessary at a Tier 1 app to keep it up and running to meet any explicit or implicit quality and compliance bars exist. What to Do? Learn The Lessons from Tier 1 App Delivery and Management Regardless of how you define it, every business of any appreciable size has Tier 1 applications. Unfortunately, many IT organizations do not have a very high level of IT maturity and yet, these Tier 1 apps demand it. As a result of this gap, significant wasteful costs are incurred to keep them up and running. Where there are pockets of good, mature IT practices, they probably exist within the realm of Tier 1 service delivery. Unfortunately, what also exists is REALLY bad process too, all in service of maintaining high quality of service. In my role as an enterprise consultant for many years I’ve seen countless “all hands on deck” events when a Tier 1 app went down. There was a mad scramble to restore service, all the while work on other important IT functions was put aside. For that reason, IT organizations should look at the mature practices and policies they do have have (many of which will be implied) for their Tier 1 apps and see how to apply them across their IT service portfolio, but not simply because it’s “good practice.” The organization needs to also take a hard look at recent emergency situations as much to understand what cost is being incurred to restore service as to understand how to minimize their occurrences. By using the lessons learned from their Tier 1 app efforts (both the good and bad), IT organizations will reduce their overall delivery and operating costs by becoming more efficient in the deliver of IT services through such activities as: Rationalizing the costs of high availability Reducing the reliance on expensive consulting and support resources Becoming smarter and more targeted about information security Designing apps with the right level of service (how many “9s” are needed?) Resolving incidents more quickly with appropriate service monitoring Conclusion The overall message is simple and taken from an old adage: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. IT organizations and the businesses they support will lower their overall delivery and operations costs when they look to the best practices learned from the delivery and maintenance of their Tier 1 apps and apply them generally across their organization. All the Best, Erik Svenson, Application Platform Lead, War on Cost Team

IT Maturity Is More Than Process Improvement

For years, IT industry consultancies as well as hardware and software vendors have talked about people, process, and technology as the three corners of the success triangle within an IT shop. And yet the various maturity models that exist haven’t yet married these three elements with the levels of maturity they describe. IT Maturity is often thought of in terms of process maturity or technical maturity. In the realm of IT maturity models, there are no shortage of frameworks that cover this area with Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), COBIT , Microsoft’s Infrastructure Optimization (IO) Model , and Gartner’s Maturity Model being among the most popular. (Process improvement models such as ITIL and the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) share a close relationship with these maturity models but don’t, in and of themselves, promote a specific path to improved IT maturity.) Unfortunately, none of these models do a complete job of clearly defining the various maturity levels they espouse. The levels that are defined as part of their models are descriptive in nature without clear boundaries described between the various levels that give quantifiable measures of success. Further, the descriptions themselves do not cover all aspects of maturity. CMMI and Gartner, for example, focus exclusively on process improvement in which each of the maturity levels describe better and better states of process maturity. The Microsoft IO Models consistently define maturity in terms of an organization’s ability to automate processes. What is needed is a unified maturity model that incorporates what it means for an IT organization to be mature around the following: People The right staff is acquired and retained for the right job. They have access to appropriate training and, at the highest levels of maturity, have appropriate industry certifications and training credentials. Process While this area has been covered in depth by most of the models, process maturity should also include why processes are being improved in the first place. CMMI, for example, defines Key Process Areas (KPAs) such as “Requirements Management”, “Product Integration”, “Causal Analysis and Resolution” to name a few. While these process areas are categorized into various maturity levels, they are not inherently linked to specific measures of business value. Improving a process that isn’t measurably linked to enhancing the business’s effectiveness around any of the four War on Cost Value Pillars ( http://blogs.technet.com/itbizval/archive/2009/02/27/the-role-of-information-technology-in-today-s-economy.aspx ) is a waste of time and effort. Technology This area has also been covered in detail by various models such as the Microsoft IO Model. The technology aspect, however, is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. Very often, technology is used as a means to improve processes by automating them. By focusing on process automation, the value of technology is sold short. Technology should be utilized to help improve the maturity of people as well by maturing training, access to information, as well as the quality of that information. The War on Cost team is in the process of studying these concepts further to help unify these areas of maturity so that a more practical model of how technology can and should help customers become more mature can be defined. More to come. Happy New Year everyone! On behalf of the War on Cost team (Elliott, Bruce, Brett, and Erik), we hope you have a prosperous and successful 2010! All the best, Erik War on Cost Application Platform Lead