Cloud specialist simplifies council project management: improves transparency, reduces risk.
“Project Server means resources can be focused day-to-day on the most critical projects … It’s a whole-of-council solution that is accurate, reliable and comprehensive, which contributes directly to improved governance and transparency.”
David Lockie, Senior Project Consultant, 6YS
City councils across Australia are under constant pressure to improve management of public infrastructure projects. They need the ability to monitor overall project progress and risk, so they can control budgets and remain transparently accountable to their
One company addressing this challenge is Brisbane-based cloud specialist, 6YS. “We recently partnered with a council that had 800 separate roads, drainage and sewerage projects within their five- and ten-year plans,” says David Lockie, Senior Project Consultant
with 6YS. “Since council used a wide variety of individual spreadsheets and access databases to manage them, senior managers could not easily identify the most at-risk projects and prioritise remediation.
“The council wanted a single project-management system, so that senior managers could easily monitor progress, better align budgets with plans, and improve the governance of complex, multi-project programs.”
The council examined a variety of project, program and portfolio management (PPPM) applications, before selecting Microsoft Project Server 2010. “The familiar ribbon toolbars made Project Server easy to use for all levels of staff, from engineers and project
managers to senior council staff,” says Lockie.
With help from 6YS, the council transferred 1,200 existing and upcoming projects into Project Server, which 6YS hosts for them in the cloud. The platform consolidates individual project time and cost data into program schedules, which employees can examine
according to a variety of parameters.
The IT specialist also built a risks- and issues-management tool within Project Server. And to provide selected employees with advanced analysis tools, the council also purchased Microsoft Project Professional 2010. Usually installed as a desktop application,
6YS also hosted this application, using a cloud-service portal, APPSPOINT™.
With all works projects managed on a single PPPM platform, council staff can monitor progress more diligently, appropriately prioritise spending, and better avert the risks of project over-runs.
A single source of information on the status of all council projects: With a single PPPM platform, council staff at all levels can see at a glance the cost and timing status of each project and program. “With the online SharePoint technology called Excel
Services, reports are highly visual, easy to tailor, and accessible on any connected device.”
According to Lockie, council staff are adapting the platform to accommodate some of the nuances of council project management. “Factors such as ‘pre-committed spending’ mean that within a program, some projects are more important than others,” he says. “These
factors can be appended to each project so that if staff need to make savings within a program, they can easily identify those projects which cannot be cut.”
The ability to focus resources on principal council objectives: At the program level, projects can be grouped and ranked according to their contribution to a specific objective, for example regeneration in a particular suburb.
“Project Server has a very smart prioritisation capability,” says Lockie. “Senior council staff can swiftly identify projects which, on current performance, are going to prevent a goal from being achieved. As a result, budget prioritisation becomes much
Improved monitoring of project risk and remediation: Council staff members also have a more sophisticated ability to prevent cost overrun. “Now, senior managers can say: ‘Give me a list of the projects that are most at risk of delay, or which present the
greatest financial risk to the council,’ and we can instantly tell them,” says Lockie. “And with the risk-mitigation tool, they have confidence in their ability to track the impact of remediation measures.
“Project Server means resources can be focused day-to-day on the most critical projects,” says Lockie. “It’s a whole-of-council solution that is accurate, reliable and comprehensive, which contributes directly to improved governance and transparency.”