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22 06, 2016

Managing Constraints Effectively with the Right Resource Planning Software

By |2017-05-23T15:41:59-08:00June 22nd, 2016|Blog|2 Comments

Watch a three-minute overview of the Enrich Analytics features discussed in this case study.

Growth is a good thing—it means larger market share, more profit, greater reach. But it also brings challenges, as a company struggles to allocate resources to support growth without over-committing itself. A rapidly growing pharmaceutical company faced exactly this dilemma: the company was consistently missing project milestones due to chronic staffing shortfalls. Multiple project teams were competing for the same key staff members, and it seemed like people with the needed skills and expertise were always in short supply. Complicating matters further, a changing regulatory landscape meant project timelines were fluid, but schedules couldn’t be shifted easily because of the staffing shortages. Ultimately, this confluence of factors was negatively affecting the bottom line.

More staffing was needed, obviously, and the management team had plans to address it, by adding 30 percent more FTEs in the coming year. Even that, though, wasn’t as simple as it seemed: the project management organization (PMO) couldn’t formulate guidance regarding the key positions that should be hired first, because project schedules were maintained in individual MS Project files while FTE forecasts were in a separate cost-tracking system. As a result, it was hard to visualize the aggregate resource demand across all projects and across the different skill sets. Moreover, the resource availability data was located in a spreadsheet belonging to HR, structured at the individual FTE level.

All of this fragmented data storage meant the PMO couldn’t easily tell where resource shortfalls were developing. When development plans changed, the team couldn’t assess quickly whether the right FTEs would be available to execute the new schedule and how other projects would be affected.

To address these issues, and help clarify where and when additional staffing resources would be needed, the company turned to Enrich and the Enrich Analytics Platform. (more…)

9 03, 2016

From Data Scapegoat to Data Shepherd

By |2017-05-23T15:41:59-08:00March 9th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

cartoon goatIn most R&D organizations, the portfolio management team walks a narrow line between the project teams and the executives. The portfolio staff polls the project teams for information about each new and ongoing initiative, builds portfolio views, and shares the updated state of the portfolio with executives. In an ideal world, the portfolio team members are like data shepherds, ensuring that critical R&D information stays up-to-date and ever-available for executive needs.
But when all is not well in the portfolio pasture, portfolio teams hear comments like this from the project teams and the executives:

  • The review is tomorrow at 11? Oh, I’ll send you a project update tomorrow morning. Okay?
  • Project A must have a bigger market than that. Your numbers are incorrect.
  • We updated our project forecast yesterday–you aren’t using the latest information.
  • We are using a different cost of capital so your numbers don’t tie out with our spreadsheet.
  • I can’t use these data when over half the projects haven’t been updated since the last review.
  • Who changed these schedule estimates? Nobody asked the operations committee if a six-month slip in deliverables was acceptable!


12 01, 2016

When Gantt Charts Fail: Use Flag Charts to Show Upcoming Events

By |2017-05-23T15:42:00-08:00January 12th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

You’re probably familiar with Gantt charts, which show project tasks, their duration, and their completion dates. For a specific project, project managers and executives use Gantt charts to quickly review upcoming activities.

When reviewing a portfolio of projects, project managers sometimes continue to use Gantt charts, adding upcoming tasks for all projects to a single chart and sorting by task start date. These consolidated Gantt charts are sometimes referred to as ‘key event maps’, because they show key events across a portfolio.

Excerpt from a key event map; when key event maps go on for rows and rows, they are difficult to read.

Excerpt from a key event map; when key event maps go on for rows and rows, they are difficult to read.


20 10, 2015

Avoiding King Kong Projects

By |2017-05-23T15:42:00-08:00October 20th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

king kong“Hey Percy, what happened to the two medical writers who were supposed to start work with us this week?”

“Oh, you didn’t hear, Luke? They were pulled to work on project PDE_311 at the last minute.”

“Ugh, just like the bio-statistician that we were supposed to have last month!” said an exasperated Luke.

“That’s the law of the jungle, right?” Percy returned. “PDE_311 is the top-priority project, and we are out-of-sight and out-of-mind.”

“So, what did it mean back in June when our project was ‘funded’, anyway? We never seem to get the resources we request, and you KNOW they’ll be all over us when we slip our deliverable dates…”

This company is making a critical resource planning mistake; have you experienced it yourself?


16 08, 2012

Seven Warning Signs that You Need to Step-Up Your R&D Portfolio Management

By |2017-05-23T15:42:03-08:00August 16th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

When we engage with a client, our primary objective is to ensure that they are investing in the right projects: Those in closest alignment with their strategic goals. Without proper attention paid to project execution, however, you’ll never unlock the potential of your chosen projects. Last year we blogged about the distinctions between operational and strategic R&D portfolio management and the critical nature of both activities. The two terms have often been contrasted with a phrase like this:

Strategic R&D portfolio management ensures you are working on the right projects, while operational project management ensures the projects are done right.

It is a useful aphorism, but separating the activities into completely discrete tasks is illusory: insights gleaned during project execution always inform your chosen project set, and refinements to your strategy and resulting portfolio will always affect how and when you execute. So in reality the activities are inextricably linked in a healthy organization. All activities ultimately serve the same goal: Delivering novel products that delight the customer.


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