Success Story: Project portfolio management and resource planning with Jira

Result

- 50%

planning effort for project managers

Why project portfolio management?

Project portfolio management is the process of managing and controlling a collection of projects in an organization to ensure that they support strategic objectives and maximize overall benefits.

If this overarching project coordination is missing, it can lead to that, 

  • different areas of the company are working on the same topic (isolated solutions) and resources are being used unnecessarily as a result¬†
  • projects are started that do not contribute to the company's goals¬†
  • projects are not coordinated, even though they have interfaces.

The company

The European Energy Exchange (EEX) is part of the EEX Group, a globally operating group of companies specializing in international commodity markets.

As part of the Group, EEX offers contracts on power, natural gas and emission allowances as well as freight and agricultural products and is one of the world's leading exchanges for trading in energy and energy-related products.

Central project management within the Group is handled by the clearing subsidiary European Commodity Clearing AG (ECC) .

The initial situation

The aim of the project was to replace the existing project portfolio management tool used by EEX and ECC. Due to the upcoming database migration and the associated challenges and risks of possible data loss, EEX and ECC decided to discontinue the use of the previous tool after weighing up all the options. Data maintenance was also very time-consuming for the responsible project managers. Due to the long time intervals between the actual status and documentation in the tool, it did not provide up-to-date evaluations and was therefore not compatible with agile working methods. Furthermore, the previous configuration for the "Flight Level" method introduced for the coordination and implementation of projects also needed to be continued in a new tool.

Since the actual project planning for the company projects and the organization of operational activities already largely took place in the Jira system, it made sense also to map the project portfolio management in Jira. The project management team had the following goals in mind:

  • to make project management and project portfolio management more efficient by only having to maintain data in one tool (Jira) and using automated workflows,
  • to create an up-to-date overview of all projects at all times in order to be able to carry out more effective resource planning and better coordinate projects,
  • using Jira to further advance the goal of switching to agile working methods.

As XALT has already been supporting EEX and ECC as a customer for several years and has successfully implemented various IT and business processes in Jira, it was obvious to develop a solution together.

The challenge

It was crucial for the successful implementation of this project that TEAM XALT had a holistic understanding of project portfolio management and the Flight Level methodology in order to bring the business view together with the IT side. This was the only way to set up the workflow in Jira correctly.

Another challenge in this project was to create a solution for resource management within project portfolio planning in Jira, although the Jira software is not designed for this application. For EEX and ECC, however, this was an absolute must-have of the new solution, and therefore, the full know-how and creativity of the XALT consultants was required for the technical implementation.

The experts at TEAM XALT were very happy to take on this challenge, safe in the knowledge that Jira offers them the flexibility and technical requirements to map various processes.

"

The migration and mapping of our project management processes in a joint Jira-based tool helps us to manage our project portfolio even more efficiently and agilely. As a result, it makes the decision-making processes and coordination channels within our group of companies significantly faster and more transparent.

Caroline Bartlitz

Senior Project Portfolio Manager

The solution

The project started with evaluating the existing project portfolio management tool and the requirements for mapping the flight level. TEAM XALT then defined the requirements for the new solution based on the existing system and process configurations.

In the planning phase, the work steps for implementation in Jira were then defined and prioritized. The work packages were divided as follows:

  • Set up an overview board in Jira in which all projects are displayed with the relevant data (e.g., how many man-days are planned or already incurred in the projects; what is the percentage progress of a project; linking the effort incurred to the individual deliverables).
  • Build a hierarchical structure so that project portfolio management, as the higher-level instance, can summarize and map all the necessary project information.
  • Implement workflows and define new issue types (e.g., for monthly reporting and project planning with resources).
  • Create automations in Jira so that the necessary information from the projects is automatically available in project portfolio management.
  • Set up scripts via Scriptrunner to extend certain functions and build simple applications that cannot be implemented in Jira Automations (e.g., hide fields, set write permissions on a field).
  • Develop resource planning, including a release process: The asset management of Jira Service Management and standard Jira functions were used for this purpose. An asset was created for each functional team within a project. This allows the project manager to assign effort to an asset or role (e.g., IT team, finance team, customer area team) when planning a deliverable from their project. In the next step, the manager responsible for this team can release or reject the necessary resources.
  • Test & Go-Live.

During the project duration of around five months, TEAM XALT took an agile approach together with EEX and ECC. The features were prioritized and processed on the basis of the Jira Advanced Roadmap. A cross-functional team coordinated progress and the next activities in daily stand-ups.

Project portfolio management with Jira
Project portfolio management and resource planning with Jira
The project portfolio management board provides a complete overview of all ongoing projects and the most important key figures.

The results

Implementing project portfolio management and project management in Jira has led to significant increases in efficiency, both for users and at the management level. Acceptance and the associated use of Jira within EEX and ECC are also higher, so Jira has become an integral part of daily work. The existing Jira know-how of the users enables the joint further development of the project portfolio management tool and the coordination of work at the delivery level. These results summarize the advantages:

Reduced workload:

  • The planning effort for project managers has been significantly reduced by approx. 50%, as no double data maintenance is necessary to have the relevant data for portfolio management directly available.
  • By using automated workflows, manual effort is reduced and less error-prone.
  • Jira enables the evaluation of portfolio management data directly in the tool with the help of dashboards and thus reduces the effort of manually creating presentations.

More transparency and security for decision-makers:

  • Display the current project status in the project portfolio management overview board.
  • Integrating all information in the same system minimizes the risk of manual errors and improves data quality.
  • Possibility of coordinating cross-team project work by linking the resulting tasks to an individual team member.

Efficient resource planning based on up-to-date data:

The resource planning in Jira developed by TEAM XALT according to customer requirements offers

  • a clear presentation of the roles within a team that are assigned to specific project tasks, and
  • the recording of planned expenses per role.

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