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How PM3 is helping the NHS plan the Covid-19 response
The NHS has possibly faced its greatest ever challenge in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic. In this blog our in-house PMO expert, MD David Walton, explains how our PMO/PPM tool PM3 has helped staff to plan and manage resources during this unprecedented crisis.
We are all aware of the major planning and mobilisation exercises that the NHS and Government Agencies have undertaken in order to reconfigure our NHS services to cope with the unprecedented challenge of Covid-19.
We are delighted that PM3, the number #1 PPM tool in the NHS, is helping a number of NHS organisations to plan their Covid-19 response.
This blog describes how they are using PM3 to develop and manage Covid-19 action plans.
When faced with an immediate need to reconfigure any business or organisation urgently, there is the temptation to rush and build lots of action lists in Excel, Teams or similar tools.
The advantage of these tools is that you can quickly develop lists of actions and tasks. This advantage can also be a major weakness as you have to email lots of disparate spreadsheets to different actionees.
This makes it very difficult and time consuming to monitor and control the various tasks and activities. This process can soon become very inefficient and error prone as tens or hundreds of spreadsheets are emailed.
In this situation ‘one version of the truth’ becomes very difficult with multiple versions of spreadsheets being emailed. It also becomes hard to summarise to senior management actual progress and any issues, especially with multiple Covid-19 initiatives.
The alternative is to use a PPM, or project management, tool to create action plans, monitor progress and report issues to senior management.
However, the disadvantage of this approach is that many of these tools have a steep learning curve which takes time to overcome. With an urgent situation like Covid-19 there is limited time so learning a complex application is not possible or desirable.
A number of our NHS clients have taken the other approach, i.e.: to use our PPM tool, PM3, which can be simplified so there is little or no training requirement. The remainder of this blog describes this approach to Covid-19 planning that our NHS customers are using.
Step 1: To simplify the application, PM3 allows you to hide or remove tabs or screens that are not required for the Covid-19 action planning. This, effectively, cuts the application down to a very simple one with very few screens to update. The remaining screens are the only ones you need to manage the Covid-19 response.
Step 2: Create your overall Covid-19 portfolio, i.e. a group all your initiatives that need to be delivered as part of Covid-19.
Step 3: Create your projects and use the Gantt tool in PM3 to include all activities in each Covid-19 Plan. Each activity needs to be completed by one or more resources. When each resource logs on to PM3 they will have access to all actions, tasks listed across all projects. This allows them to update progress easily.
Step 4: Create risks and mitigations for each Covid-19 project. It is a mistake just to list out tasks to be delivered as every project has risks and issues that are encountered. These need to be understood and mitigated.
Step 5: Use PM3’s mobile application for users to update each of their assigned activities. The mobile app, shows a list of each task, action, or risk that needs to be completed. Users can update progress against their tasks, actions and risks.
These updates are automatically synced with the main PM3 application. Late or overdue tasks can now be monitored centrally and chaser updates can be sent from PM3.
Step 6: Senior management need to understand the progress of each Covid-19 project and also be aware of the risks and issues of each project. PM3 has a wealth of reports and senior management can be sent reports automatically on tasks completed/ outstanding and current risks and issues.
Below, I have detailed the overall process and a number of sample PM3 reports / screens that are being used in Covid19 planning.
Overview of PM3 – Covid 19 Action Planning Process
PM3 Reporting Process
PM3 Project Risks Report – Sample
PM3 Team Mobile app screens to update tasks and actions
The ability of PM3 to be tailored and cut-down to what is absolutely necessary to manage Covid-19 action plans has enabled our NHS clients to harness the power of PM3 yet retaining the control and monitoring functionality that PM3 has.
Instead of the chaos of emailing spreadsheet lists of actions and tasks, PM3 has enabled rapid mobilisation of urgent action plans and automated reporting.
The mobile PM3 application has also helped users who are remotely able to update actions on their phone thereby enabling real-time update of tasks and actions.
Bestoutcome specialises in Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) software and services, always focusing on the overall outcome to ensure successful business change. Our PPM tool is used by many leading private sector and public sector organisations.
Read independent verified reviews of PM3 on Capterra (Gartner)
About the author
David Walton - I am David Walton, Programme, Project and Portfolio Management specialist and director of Bestoutcome here in the UK. We make the PMO tools PM3, PM3time and PM3NHS, the only PMO tools designed by practitioners for practitioners.