If that sounds a little dramatic, let’s look at just a few of the less happy stats around project management. According to data collected and shared by The Circular Board and Teamstage:

  • 70% of organisations have at least one failed project behind them
  • 55% of project managers cite budget overruns as a reason for project failure
  • 47% of companies without project management software go over their budget

There is some good news though for organisations that use project management software tools:

  • 66% keep their projects within the budget
  • Those companies can save up to 28x more money than those that don’t
  • And last, but not least, 47% confirm it had a positive impact on their project cost estimates

It’s clear that project management software is critical to any business that delivers projects. But how exactly does it help you improve outcomes?

The must haves of project management software

As well as the major challenges of time and money, recurring themes of concern in project management world include the project failing to meet original goals and business intent, or not delivering to stakeholder satisfaction.

Whether your aim is to deliver a project or professional services, at a fixed price, or with room to move, project success is the same the world over: A great project is delivered on schedule, and meets budgetary and stakeholder expectations – and does the job it was meant to do.

To do this, you need:

  1. Accurate, all-encompassing, real-time project reporting and forecasting (from resource availability to cash in/out)
  2. Streamlined project financials for invoicing, revenue recognition and project accounting
  3. Awareness and transparency of when you need more money, time, or physical resources (people!) to meet a creeping or changed scope
  4. Easy time tracking and resource scheduling
  5. Expense management
  6. Embedded project management capabilities like Kanban board and Gantt charts
  7. The ability to identify and act on looming problems – from supply chain issues, time overruns, to changes in resource availability, to out-of-your-control price changes or unexpected expenses due to natural disaster – quickly!
  8. Customisable KPI dashboards for project owners
  9. A communications platform for project team collaboration and sharing version-controlled documents
  10. An enforced best practice approach to project management
  11. Customisable deal management

And the things you don’t need?

  1. Spreadsheets and disparate systems that result in data silos
  2. Round-robin emails
  3. Uncontrolled or random project processes or documentation
  4. A lack of visibility (be it financial or otherwise)

    Get planning to get ahead

So, why choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations?

Our customers use Dynamics 365 Project Operations, across industries ranging from software to construction, with great success. But what do they like about it most?

Obviously, Dynamics 365 Project Operations ticks all the ‘must have’ boxes. However, in our customers’ opinion, where it delivers real value is by introducing a more controlled and disciplined approach, allowing them to manage their project costs and resources better. While it was often a shock to go from a system that allowed free reign to one that enforces policies, they rapidly discovered that they had, in fact:

  1. Regained control of their projects
  2. Minimised the risk of project failure due to the system’s inbuilt (but customisable) checks and balances

And what else? Our customers comment on the more intuitive resource planning, and how they can see what people and skills are available, and what their project input is at any time. (And they love the enhancements we’ve developed to customise and prepopulate the timesheet function, and enable bulk approvals to eliminate the need to approve timesheets line by line). And project managers who like to take a granular approach and set day-by-day schedules can create detailed project plans within the application and track delays and cost overruns.

The application’s Power BI dashboards are another big customer favourite. Financial and project managers can see their project at a glance, and customise their view to highlight real-time resourcing, financials and more. Project Operations pulls in financial data from the Dynamics 365 Financial module (it’s fully integrated, so no APIs required), giving users a huge advantage when it comes to managing costs.

And of course, when COVID forced so many into working from home, it was just another day on the job for project managers. There was little interruption to the daily flow of meetings thanks to Project Operation’s native integration with Teams.

Problems solved

So, what are some examples of the impact that Dynamics 365 Project Operations has had on our clients?

Client A: needed their projects to capture a mix of fixed price, and time and materials.

The solution? Dynamics 365 Project Operations allows for mixed project types on a project line without creating separate projects. And the outcome? Client A can now easily manage multiple project types in a single contract.

Client B: wanted to manage projects and finance on a single platform.

The solution? Dynamics 365 Project Operations, Finance and Operations and the Dataverse provide them with a fully integrated system. And the outcome? The end-to-end solution allows for single point of entry, without requiring manual updates between an ERP solution and the project solution. Nice!

Success is so much closer when you visualise it

Project management made easy?

Well, no. Obviously, the skill, knowledge and experience of your project manager also has a significant impact on the smooth running of any project. But when equipped with (much) better tools, you raise the bar on their capability to meet all challenges head on.

If you’d like to find out more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations, and discuss how we can get you off the ‘high-risk of not delivering on time or within budget’ list, get in touch.

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