ServiceNow - Centralized Project Management with Project Workspace

Author by Bryan Schrippe

ServiceNow - Project Portfolio Management Series

Today in the second post of our Project Portfolio Management Series, I would like to discuss the ServiceNow Project Workspace.  If you have not yet had a chance to read my initial post on Demand Management, make sure to give it a read here. It will help you in understanding how our client went from soliciting demands, thru to creation of projects, and managing through this workspace!

Demand Process to Project Creation

Our client developed an internal process to have their demand managers work with the creators of those demands to fill out all requisite fields so that the determination could be made of whether to proceed into project creation or not.

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Once a demand has hit the approval stage and was approved, the demand manager converts that demand into a project, using a UI action from within a demand.

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Once the UI action has been triggered, the project is created, and a link given to the demand manager to begin working with project management on sourcing information for the project depending on roles and rights the demand manager may even have the rights to edit the project created.

(3)-Project-Complete.pngProject Managers can fill out all the information manually or apply project template which will fill out all the requisite phases and pertinent information for that team. Leaving the project team to gather information like cost plans, budget and resource information, as well as scheduling information in order to initiate the project. For the sake not making this blog post too long, you can read more about that process here.

Project Workspace

Once the project has been initiated, Project Workspace offers the project manager a centralized location in which to manage projects.

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As you can see from the above image, right out of the gate Project Managers have access to a multitude of information at a glance. 

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Each card allows Project Managers to see information about project status (Red, Yellow, Green), percent complete information, and current phase of projects.  Project managers also have access to view project risks, issues, action items, and task synopsis in each card.

If a project manager wants more information about a project simply click into a specific card and they are taken to the real star, the project workspace console.

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From here the project manager has access to various aspects of their project detailed below.

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  • Analytics
    • The Analytics tab provides analytics on project aspects such as open risks, open issues, and delayed milestones.
  • Details
    • The Details tab opens the project form and enables you to define important aspects of the project.
  • Planning
    • The Planning tab opens the project in the planning console. The tab also enables you to navigate to Project workbench and track your project in the workbench.
  • Resources
    • The Resources tab enables you to find resources and create and manage the resources plans for the project and project tasks. The tab is available only to a project manager.
  • Financials
    • The Financials tab displays breakdowns of cost components of a project: planned cost, estimated returns, allocated budget, cost plans, and benefit plans. You can create baselines and compare baselines from this tab to track changes occurring during execution of project or demand.
  • Status Report
    • The Status Report tab displays the project status reports.

 

Project managers even can create new projects from scratch using the project workspace.  For now, we will just discuss the benefits of being able to manage an existing project from within the console, just note that it can be done.

Analytics Hub

The analytics hub of the project workspace console houses all the current information about your project.  In the topmost area, you have the following information:

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  • Project Status
    • Shows the status of the project in Red, Yellow, or Green
  • Percent Complete
    • Shows the % complete for phases and tasks.
  • Issues
    • Shows a project manager the current issues from within the project.
  • Risks
    • Shows a project manager the current project risk.
  • Actions
    • Shows a project manager any action items that need to be accounted for.
  • Change Requests
    • This shows the project manager any change requests that have risen as a result of the project being implemented.

All those areas above are click through in that when you click on them, a project manager will be taken to the areas of note giving them quick access to issues or concerns on a given project.

Next down from the key project information area, is the Milestone and task reporting widgets.

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These two widgets give you instant access to any tasks or milestones that are overdue, as well as upcoming tasks that need to be completed within the next two weeks that have yet to be assigned to anyone.

Below that are time and resource information.  You have the ability within the PPM suite to not only put cost information associated to resources, but ServiceNow also offers the ability to track resource hours and timecard information should you require it. Now that could be it’s own blog post I may cover another time, but if you would like more information on the topic, you can find it here

Details Hub

The next tab in the project workspace is the details hub.  This is the actual project record where you can track, add, remove, and visualize all facets of your project.

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I happen to find this area great for efficiency, being able to see at glance how your project is performing, and if you need to make modifications, you can just hop over to another tab to adjust.  This makes working on a project exponentially more efficient.

Planning Hub

Now that you have adjusted a project, what if we need to change a project schedule.  Well ServiceNow makes that easy as well with the planning hub.  Just one tab over and the project manager can manage the project timeline in a manner that mimics Microsoft Project.

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From a new project perspective, project managers have the ability not only to add Agile Phases, but Waterfall Phases as well meaning they can have hybrid projects from the get-go! 

Not only that, but project managers can add tasks and move them directly from the hub itself.  This makes scheduling for new projects quick and efficient.

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Keen eyes will also note that you can also map dependencies for each phase/task.  This allows for seamless integration for critical pathing and ensuring that project tasks don’t collide with objectives.

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So, the planning hub is really a place that shines for our client specifically, as it means that they can manipulate project timelines right from the project workspace while not having to jump around to a different area of the tool.

Resource Hub

The Resource Hub is an area where project managers can manage all the resources on a project or find available resources.

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Project managers can see who is currently allocated to a project, their confirmed / planned allocations and search for resource members needed for the project and add them to resource plans.  Combine this with ServiceNow Resource Management and Timecard management, you can track timecard usage, as well as more detailed cost breakdowns. If you would like more information on the resource hub, you can find it here.

Financials Hub

I think back, and most conversations I have had around project management often revolve around schedules, tasks, and financials.  I think the financial conversation around projects is one of the most important aspects where management is concerned.  ServiceNow also helps with this and their Financial Hub.

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The Financials tab provides a detailed breakdown of cost components of a project. The total planned cost, budget cost, actual cost, and planned returns with their breakdowns are displayed in the form of read-only cards, while the cost plans, benefit plans, and their breakdowns are provided in an editable grid view. Using the grid view, you can:

  • Group the plan level columns; configure, sort, expand, collapse, and freeze both the plan level and breakdown columns.
  • Inline edit the breakdown values of a cost plan or benefit plan without opening the plan in a form. Inline edit is available only in the Monthly view.
  • Create a cost plan and benefit plan for the project.

If you wish to read more about the financials tab you can find that information here.

Status Reports

So, I know just a few paragraphs ago I mentioned how looking back most of the conversations around project management revolved around a few things, but the one thing I hear complained most about when talking about projects is creating Project Status Reports.  There is nothing that a project manager loves more than writing up status reports for management.  Don’t you wish there was an easier way?  Well ServiceNow has you covered with the Status Report Hub.

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These wonderfully created reports are easily created by just clicking for a new report and filling out a few fields about the project.  The report is automatically created and can be emailed out to your team or management group. I know our client specifically loves this feature for the bonus to time savings it affords them.  This alone saves them one two or more hours a every other day depending on the number or projects in the pipeline.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, an overview of the Project Workspace Console.  I hope you can see just as I have how incredibly efficient this console can be for a project manager.  I know when I first saw it, I could not believe how centralized everything was.  Our client is extremely happy as well knowing that they can do everything in one area, and it makes their day to day workflow extremely easy.

I hope that you join me again next month when I tackle the next area of our Project Portfolio Management Series Portfolio Workbench!  See you then!