• Sarah Currid

Why your organization’s project controls need more than Excel

Have you ever managed a project where someone said to you, “Just put it into Excel”?

Excel is one of the most popular tools in United States and used by an almost 800 million people world-wide. Although Excel is a simple and useful tool in many business situations, today’s project controls require something more dynamic to keep critical projects on schedule and within budget.


Capturing project snapshots with visual aids (e.g., dashboards, graphs, and charts) can be created in MS Excel. However, they are complicated to build and even more difficult to maintain with up-to-date and accurate information. Project management teams often spend numerous hours compiling, organizing, and maintaining data. To add another layer of burden on the project team, collaboration and reporting to project stakeholders is rarely performed inside the Excel program resulting in difficulty analyzing the data and providing answers when questions arise. Yikes! Talk about waiting for the other shoe to drop!


As the volume of data created and maintained increases, it slowly but inevitably becomes difficult to generate insights and accurately analyze the data. Yes, you know this, but do your business leaders and project stakeholders realize it? Project teams need a real tool with integrated analytics (e.g., dashboards, graphs, and reports) that is accurate, in real-time and at the right amount of detail. Most importantly, being able to drill down into the data to locate and understand root causes enables you to take corrective action to keep a project on budget.


So, how can your organization increase value and demonstrate that projects managed by MATRIX PMO and an enterprise solution, like Oracle Primavera Cloud (OPC) will drive project performance? Let’s review the benefits of an enterprise solution and what MATRIX PMO can provide to your projects.


1. Collaboration

One of the most critical elements of a project is collaboration. If miscommunication occurs, it can result in errors and ultimately the project performance deteriorates. Having a centralized place to trace all communications allows for tracking and documentation that can be traced back to a task is critical to project success. Primavera P6 EPPM facilitates team-based collaboration to improve decision-making, streamline coordination, and improve efficiency with new business process automation capabilities. For example, it incorporates collaboration and communication, through graphical workflow modeling and interactive configurable forms, into the typical work process instead of requiring project team members to put work aside to communicate and collaborate.


2. Time-Phased Budgeting = Cash Flow Visibility

One of the challenges with a project budget which doesn’t utilize time-phasing, is that the project managers (PM) don’t know exactly when funding is anticipated to be spent on the project - and neither will the organizations finance department. For accurate cash flow management and establishing performance baseline needed for schedule performance index (SPI) calculations; time-phased budgets are critical. They deliver an accurate representation of cash outflow so that project financial planning can be done. Simply put, time-phased budgeting allows you to precisely know how much you’ve planned to spend to date and on what. Then you can compare that with what you’ve actually spent.


3. Dashboards

User dashboards are a fantastic way to see your individual projects and/or a portfolio of projects. They can be configured and customized so that users can see project updates, progress of projects and any risks or issues. Having access to this valuable information can provide insight to make educated decisions.


4. Privacy and Security

Security and data breach concerns are of great importance in our world today and cannot be comprised, at any cost. When data is distributed across multiple platforms and programs, keeping project data private can be challenging. This is especially true when storing, managing, and sharing data.


5. Graphs and charts

Can you show me labor, materials, and any project costs per month for the remainder of the project? What do the current projects risks look like? What is the project completion status? How much time do we need to accomplish activity “Y” within project “X”? Do you have the current forecast, budget, and actuals on a single chart or graph?

How nice would it be to say, “I can pull it right up and show you in real-time!”? An enterprise solution like Oracle Primavera Cloud (OPC) removes the challenges of manually assembling project data. This results in being able to swiftly answer questions and do so with confidence. Ask yourself, how long would it take you to generate answers to the questions above? Could you be confident in the data used to create the project graphs and charts if they were done? How would you provide access to project stakeholders that would allow them to focus on root causes with a click of a button?


Your organization can benefit from BETTER project controls.

Today’s project controls require a more robust tool for project to remain on schedule and within the allocated budget. A centralized location to store all project data significantly reduces the amount of time spent on “low-value” activities, while simultaneously delivering useful project insights, facilitating transparency and collaboration and ultimately driving project performance.


Oracle’s Primavera Cloud (OPC) is the most powerful, robust, and easy-to-use solution for prioritizing, planning, managing, and evaluating projects, programs, and portfolios. It provides a 100% web- based solution for managing projects of any size, adapts to varying levels of complexity across projects and intelligently scales to meet the needs of all roles, functions, or skill levels in your organization and on your project team. Features Include:

  • Idea (initiative) Management

  • Portfolio Management (Prioritization and Selection)

  • Business Case collection

  • Project Management, Planning and Scheduling

  • Resource capacity and demand management

  • Gated Governance and Approvals

  • Dashboard reports to support decision making

  • Cost and Financial Management

  • Scenario and options modeling

  • KPI reporting

Benefits Include:

  • Evaluate portfolio health and performance throughout the project lifecycle

  • Analyze project portfolio activity, status, and success metrics

  • Easily compare key project information and KPIs with robust dashboards

  • Share performance-improvement results across stakeholders

  • Gain faster agreement on project budgets with real-time collaboration

  • Standardized processes for solid basis for section and evaluation

  • Managed organizational portfolio to deliver strategy

  • Transparency, Visibility across organizational portfolio including dependencies

  • Benefits Management – Business case to Benefit Realization

Who is MATRIX PMO? MATRIX is your single source for project management, project controls and project oversight services. From initiation to closeout, MATRIX provides the industry’s finest project management staff with Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) certified project managers. At MATRIX, we believe in the power of a cohesive unit emphasizing teamwork and collaboration. Our goal is to provide the “complete package” by developing a team of professionals, hand-selected to provide the right skills and competencies to match the complexity of your project. While others provide just personnel, our Project Management Office (PMO) delivers results. With 15+ year of experience and over $600M in turnkey PMO contracts, we guarantee to improve your project predictability, project management, and project performance. We provide project management for several industries including: nuclear, electric, gas, and renewable utilities, defense, construction and transportation.