In this four-part series, Dr. Jörg Leute examines the question why it is so complex to establish a stable project portfolio using common means. Why do those “shadow excel files” exist, being used beyond P6 without any official approval in order to determine the project portfolio? The suggested solution is a novel, intuitive and collaborative software to simulate and rate project portfolios, used on top of Primavera P6.

Project Portfolio with Meisterplan 3

Part 3: A healthy Project Portfolio with Meisterplan and Oracle Primavera

Meisterplan is a software to simulate and optimize project portfolios. The system reads the data from P6 and is able to simultaneously also consolidate data from other data sources, for example an Excel spreadsheet or from another PPM software. The key functionality of the software creates one complete overview of the data. This is why Meisterplan can be described as “Dynamic PPM”, a tool for the steering committee to simulate and reschedule their project portfolios. The principal here is the overall orchestrating of projects, capacity and budgets. The ongoing day-to-day tasks of individual projects still remains the responsibility of the project manager.

The software was designed with the intention to create “boardroom-ready” plans. Executive management can easily see not only what is being displayed on the screen, but also grasp the effects and consequences of ad-hoc simulations.

Put simply, Meisterplan allows you to focus on the problem instead of the tool. Project portfolio solutions can then be found in joint meetings or in distributed environments. Meisterplan is synchronized so all users are informed in real time of any changes made in the portfolio.

Meisterplan Ressourcenueberlastung

The screenshot shows a typical Meisterplan display. In this portfolio sample, the top half of the screen shows the Meisterplan Gantt display. A red bar is visible in three of the projects, indicating an existing problem. Clicking into the project immediately shows a synopsis of information and who is in charge of this project. When the project is opened, two additional views are displayed on the same screen below: the resources and roles and the financials. Looking into the resources and roles view, an overload in the “Junior Consultants” department has occurred. In this example, a solution can easily be found using the drag and drop feature. By simply dragging the project to another time frame simulating the Meisterplan technology in the millisecond range an alternative solution can be found without constraints. Other operations such as lengthen, shorten, cancel / suspend, edit, resource utilization, etc., can also be exploited.

A key point here, is that a question such as, “What would happen if we were to also accept initiative X?” can actually be played out in a simulation. In the simplest way, and in just a matters of seconds, a new initiative can be added and new resources can be allocated.

Capacity and the respective utilization can be simulated in Meisterplan. The following screenshot displays the “Role Trace” mode: the allocation histogram for the selected resource is shown.

All corresponding projects are stacked and sorted by rank with the highest-ranking project at the bottom. Moreover, Meisterplan denotes what the total capacity is. All key information can be easily changed and their effects be viewed here: reprioritizing, capacity reductions, changes in projects, etc. There is also an integrated bottleneck search.

Also unique and useful is the possibility to view the commitment of employees in projects as well as to be able to simulate their replacements. This functionality enables internal checks against external staff while maintaining a certain percentage of the internal expenditures and financial effects of the measured replacement.

Put simply, Meisterplan allows you to focus on the problem instead of the tool. Project portfolio solutions can then be found in joint meetings or in distributed environments. Meisterplan is synchronized so all users are informed in real time of any changes made in the portfolio.

Image of working teams from above showing the overview a PMO needs

Budgets and Strategy

Meisterplan knows not only the capacity and hourly rate of each employee but also the milestone-based cash flows in the financial management. Thus, capital and operating expenditures can also be viewed as CAPEX and OPEX costs. The following screenshot shows the “finance trace” screenshot depicting an example in solid green of a project’s monetary impact in the overall budget and the benefit it is expected to generate.

Meisterplan Finanzielle Auswirkungen Projekt