Planning for project management is essential in implementing successful projects. By carrying important information such as the scope, goals, budget, timeline and the deliverables, it is one of the first steps in ensuring the seamless completion of projects and the coordination of business processes. This is especially true for companies with large-scale operations that require meticulous planning.
One way to guarantee a fool-proof project management plan is through digitalisation of business processes through Microsoft technologies. A model-driven app was built as Proof of Concept (POC) through Power Platform’s low-code solution for creating custom business apps – Power Apps.
Below are the design and functionalities of the model-driven app as well as the other Microsoft technologies that integrates with the proposed solution.
The Problem: Inconsistent Project Management Plans
Without digitalisation, project management plans can become disorganised. Most of the time, manual processes give more room for human error and often result in issues such as deviations (non-conformance), inconsistencies in application and duplication of effort. In some cases, documents are stored locally and operational plans are not kept up to date. This leads to a lack of traceability and general disorganisation. Leveraging technologies from the Microsoft ecosystem, this model-driven app aims to eliminate this problem.
The Solution: A Proof of Concept Built on a Model-driven App
Built on Power Apps, the model-driven app utilises Power Automate to create automatic business flows while the Common Data Service (CDS) acts as its unified database. These three components form the foundation as they secure and organise data, and relieve employees of tedious tasks.
Through the CDS, the model-driven app pulls relevant standards, procedures, forms and existing templates to pre-populate project management plans and generate Word and PDF documents with contract information. To ensure timely completion, it notifies employees about the status (i.e. what stage it is in, what needs to be accomplished) via email. For easy access across the company, copies of the project management plans are then stored in the Sharepoint collaboration space.
While the copies stored in Sharepoint are accessible to everyone, the master files are kept in the model-driven app and can only be accessed by their owners. This ensures that the integrity and quality of the master files are preserved. Ultimately, the model-driven app drives a standardised approach and adheres to the project-related delivery management execution with highly-reliable document storage and effortless collaboration.
Out-of-the-Box and Third Party Services
Since this is only a POC and not a full-fledged solution, it solely utilises out-of-the box or ready to use functionalities of these Microsoft apps. This can lead to technical limitations when applied to the systems of companies that use different platforms. However, if developed into a full-fledged solution, it can be tailored to integrate with any third-party service. The selection of third-party services, of course, depends on the specific requirements of each company.
After testing out the solution using a customer’s business problems, Barhead found that the POC has the potential to become a scalable and full-fledged solution. It can be customised for companies looking for a better way to organise their project management plans. This is not the first time that Barhead delivered a successful POC service. Peter Allsopp, group head of the Downer Standard at Downer, had this to say about their experience.