Program and project control software applications will service a wide array of constituents, each with their own priorities. Understanding the factors involved in meeting these separate priorities collectively should be the main focus. From there, interdependencies will be easy to spot and can be highlighted in a dashboard format that will allow the making of good decisions that will positively impact multiple departments.

A good example is in the invoice approval process. Typically, payments to vendors are made through an enterprise resource planning or financial accounting system. Only after doing so is the data entered into the project cost system through an expensive post-implementation integration or time consuming manual duplication of data entry. 

This runs counter to the need by program managers to evaluate these expenditures against budget before cutting a check, thus preventing the potential for significant cost overruns. The right technology solution would conform to this process by ensuring that approving an invoice cannot be done unless a contract is in place and has budget available.

Test Your Business Processes Before Making Holistic Changes

Often times, program and project managers may not know all the levels of interdependencies for an initiative. This is particularly true for multi-year, multi-layered, complex bond initiatives and can be further compounded by compliance regulations. Configuring program control technology platforms is expensive and time consuming enough that it’s imperative all requirements be incorporated the first time around. Consider testing such changes on one or two new projects before going all in. Also consider migrating the raw data for historical projects to a central warehouse to avoid the costs of migrating it to the program management information systems. The data warehouse will enable integrated reporting on the whole portfolio. 

The benefits of evaluating processes first and technology applications second can significantly lower program costs. It also can ensure full transparency of efficient management to the public and, in the long term, foster greater confidence and acceptance of repeat bond measures at higher ratings and lower interest rates. It can also make you the standard by which other initiatives are measured.

About the author: John Turner is the Vice President of Marketing at Gafcon, a program management firm specializing in the program management of large scale education, government and commercial construction projects. He can be reached at