Great Ormond Street Hospital is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals. They are part of the largest research centre for childhood illnesses outside North America. The charity supports the hospital, enabling it to provide world class care by raising over £50 million each year. The money collected is used to help fund the redevelopment of the hospital, buy and replace medical equipment, supply patient and family support, as well as the vital research needed to pioneer new treatments and cures. In order to achieve this the charity’s 200 workers rely on a range of IT systems, and a small but dedicated IT team. Their recent struggles with expanding workloads and a new strategy, meant the team needed a more effective approach to project management.
We have realized Project Online is an accurate, collaborative resource for managing the backlog of IT projects, using its features to assign tasks to staff and gaining approval. Not only are we able to see the projects that are seriously in flight, but we’re able to prioritize and manage the backlog, which is becoming more and more sophisticated as time goes on
The IT team, led by Head of IT Mark Saldanha, felt that the IT programs and projects lacked a holistic viewpoint, as a result making it difficult to stay on top of existing projects and plan new ones.
“I suspected that we were managing the top priorities but I was worried about the backlog – how we prioritized those still important projects and aligned them with the overall charity strategy.”
Saldanha wanted to ensure that he, his five engineers and three project managers could maintain a tighter grip on IT projects and ensure that opportunities weren’t being missed. He also wanted to ensure that the executives they reported to, could be kept in the loop in a time-efficient manner. Most of all, the team felt the need to respond to the charity-wide strategy, and ensure that the IT systems were tied into the same objectives and long-term goals.
Saldanha opted for a solution based on Microsoft Project Server, believing that while other project management applications had the potential to handle the workload, none had the integration ability of the Microsoft’s tools: Office 365, SharePoint 2013 and Microsoft Azure. Furthermore, where other products left him with concerns about security, governance and long-term support, Project Server was an easy win.
Saldanha’s only headache was implementation.
Originally he considered building a Microsoft Project Online solution in-house, but it soon became apparent that he and his team wouldn’t have the time to employ it to its full potential, or tie it in seamlessly with Office 365 and SharePoint. Saldanha asked Microsoft to recommend a third-party, and Microsoft suggested PS+.
A preconfigured Microsoft Project Server solution, PS+, is designed to get organizations up and running with a Microsoft Project Online environment within short time frames and little cost, whilst adding significant value with preconfigured views, reports, access control and templates for Agile and Prince2®.
After the PS+ implementation, Saldanha and his lead Project Manager received advice on Project Online and Active Directory integration with existing infrastructure. The implementation took less than ten days.
“It can be a complicated platform but PS+ helped us achieve a working situation quite seamlessly. It was a relatively simple process – or they made it look simple.”
The team can now work and plan more effectively, as well as talk holistically about both the backlog and projects in progress using PS+ dashboard displays. What’s more, the same dashboards make it easier for Saldanha and his team to feed information upwards, so if they need additional resources, they can explain the whats and whys. Taken together, these benefits will help the IT team manage projects that will better support the needs of the charity, promoting key objectives and answering long-term needs.
In the near-future, the IT team plans to expand its PS+ solution to cover estimation of project staff costs, tracking staff time and costs to ensure that the charity gets maximum value for its money. Saldanha also hopes to spread PS+ out to other internal departments, helping them plan projects more efficiently and encouraging strategic alignment across the organization.