I like building jigsaw puzzles. We all have our way of putting puzzles together – maybe we work the edges first, or try to assemble similar colors – but we always have that picture of what it’s supposed to look like once complete. Good project and program managers are usually good puzzle builders also. They take the tools available (Resources, Time, & Scope) and try to fit them together so that the end result looks like the picture on the box – or at least like the vision presented to the CEO.
If you think of a large project to design, deliver and support a complex product to a customer – it’s a lot like managing a puzzle, only much more complex. Further, the costs of not completing the puzzle can be significant. Successfully completing a project or program therefore requires the necessary plan and tools for realizing the end result. Looking at your plan as a series of steps is often a great way to compartmentalize your challenges, and to effectively manage your program. This is what we mean by a lifecycle approach to Program Management
Consider the following steps in the Program Lifecycle Management:
- Capture & Plan the Work
- Design & Develop the Product
- Acquire the Materials
- Transition to Production
- Build and Test the Product
- Support the Product
- Execute with Quality
- Perform to Financials
Exceptional Project and Program Management depends a mastery of the details. How many resources do I have? What are they doing, right now? Do my resources have the right tools to complete the job and keep my project on schedule? Are all of the projects in my program on track? What are the gotcha’s – those little things that only seem to happen at the absolute worst time and can throw your schedule and your plans into a tailspin? The over-arching question, however, is how can I keep it all in focus and in perspective?
Continuing with the puzzle analogy, consider each step in the Lifecycle Approach a section of the bigger puzzle within which you can build the pieces and parts discretely. But simply knowing the parts doesn’t get the puzzle built; knowing how to piece the parts together does. In almost any business instance, we use metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to keep track of how well we are doing against our goals. Project & Program Management is no different. Just knowing the steps doesn’t get the job done – actively managing the execution of these steps by using the right KPI’s does. Understanding the parts, helps to clarify the linkages between the parts and then the puzzle starts to come together more logically.
Project managers have several tools they utilize to solve their ‘puzzles’ and make their projects successful; here is another powerful tool they can quickly implement. SAP offers rapid-deployment solutions that empower customers with proven best practices and allow them to be up and running in only a few weeks – project managers can now address their pain points immediately (and affordably) with these rapid-deployment solutions. SAP offers a rapid-deployment solution for SAP Program Performance Analysis for Aerospace and Defense, powered by the SAP HANA platform – click the link to watch a demo video that explains how this solution provides a foundation for unifying the vision (er…puzzle J). And since this solution is powered by HANA that ‘unified vision’ can be achieved at unprecedented speeds!This rapid-deployment solution takes a visual scorecard approach that allows you to track how well your projects are performing against objectives within a larger program: (click on the picture to enlarge)
Each step in the lifecycle is further supported by dashboards that present key performance indicators to help you. The program manager can quickly assess not only the entire program, but also is able to answer the question “How am I performing in Requirements (or MRP or Development/Production)?” in more detail: (click on the picture to enlarge)
This particular solution is obviously built with large Aerospace and Defense firms in mind – these firms have a solid track record and experience working with large complex capital projects. However, you are not limited to just these industries with this solution; this solution can benefit various industries. Basically, any Project or Program Manager who enjoys a good jigsaw puzzle will quickly see the value of this new rapid-deployment solution.
To learn more about SAP rapid-deployment solutions for managing large capital projects and programs, stay tuned here for follow-up blogs
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