The Department for Communities (DfC) Northern Ireland, embarked on a journey to modernise its project management practices by implementing PM3, our comprehensive project and portfolio management (PPM) solution.
This case study highlights Department for Communities transition from a manual, spreadsheet-based project tracking system to a digital PPM tool, PM3, and the impact it has had on their organisation.
Before implementing PM3, DfC NI relied on a rudimentary manual portfolio system, primarily based on spreadsheets.
This manual system recorded basic project information, such as project start dates and high-level progress, but lacked the depth required for effective project management.
It was cumbersome, time-consuming, and didn’t provide real-time insights into project statuses, expenditures, or forecasts.
Furthermore, monthly reporting was a tedious, error-prone process that took several weeks to compile, making the data nearly obsolete by the time it reached approval authorities.
Motivation for PM3 Adoption
The decision to implement a PPM solution was driven by several factors:
Department for Communities conducted an extensive evaluation of various PPM solutions, which included attending numerous presentations, reaching out to other public sector organisations in Northern Ireland, and searching through platforms like G Cloud and Capterra. After careful consideration, they decided to proceed with PM3 for several reasons:
Project Portfolio and Future Expansion
DfC manages a diverse project portfolio, including Social Security benefits, urban regeneration, public realm projects, social housing, and sports stadium construction, among others. With PM3, they aim to enhance visibility, not only for their projects but also for arms-length bodies and grant schemes. Their potential portfolio value could reach £2.2 billion.
User Onboarding and Integration
Department for Communities adopted a blended approach to user onboarding, combining PM3’s learning modules with workshops and ongoing support. The goal was to empower teams to use PM3 independently and integrate it into their project meetings and decision-making processes. This approach ensures that PM3 becomes an integral part of project management.
Overcoming Resistance and Gaining Buy-In
While Department for Communities’ internal team did not resist PM3 adoption, they encountered some resistance from other business areas due to concerns about changing their existing processes. Department for Communities emphasised the importance of adapting processes to align with PM3’s capabilities and assured others that PM3 would streamline project management and reporting.
While it is challenging to quantify monetary savings at this early stage, Department for Communities has experienced significant benefits:
Key PM3 Features Used
Department for Communities primarily uses the following PM3 features:
Integration with Existing Systems
PM3 was integrated seamlessly into Department for Communities existing IT infrastructure.
The initial challenge of navigating firewalls was resolved by whitelisting PM3. The system meets Department for Communities stringent ICT security standards.
Scalability and Adaptability
Department for Communities expects PM3 to easily scale with their organisation’s changing needs. As the largest department in Northern Ireland’s civil service, they anticipate around 200-150 project entities on PM3.
The inclusion of contracts, grant schemes, procurement, and other processes is expected to be manageable without significant challenges.