Mencap Implements Powerful PPM Simplicity with Microsoft Project for the Web and Wellingtone
Since it was founded in 1946, registered charity Mencap has worked to achieve its vision of a world where people with learning disabilities are valued equally, listened to, and included. The charity delivers a complex portfolio of transformation and BaU projects, operating in an environment shaped by stringent, not for profit sector regulations, public scrutiny and – most importantly – beneficiary need. Historically, a lack of portfolio standardisation was challenging Mencap’s dedicated staff, who are typically managing projects with expertise, passion, and talent, but not always formal project management training.
Products and Services
Microsoft Project for the Web
- A simple, intuitive PPM interface for Accidental Project Managers
- Making project management easy via the native Microsoft interface
- The fast, effective path to project, programme, and portfolio consistency
- Pipelines, lifecycles, logs, and processes to manage resources, risks, dependencies and more
- Power BI reporting configurable to PPM priorities
Recognising the need for a powerful yet simple project management tool, Mencap landed on Microsoft Project for the Web as the ideal solution for visibility, consistency, and ease of use. Wellingtone was selected as the technology partner to get Mencap up and running with Microsoft’s reimagined iteration of Microsoft Project. The aim was to ensure a light-touch approach, setting the baseline to grow PPM maturity moving forward. Craig McDonald, PMO at Mencap, worked closely with Paul Lawrence, Enterprise PMO Lead, to implement the solution with Wellingtone’s support.
A Significant Step-Change towards Straightforward, Meaningful Portfolio Standardisation
Craig confirms that laying the foundations for future PPM maturity was the driver for selecting Project for the Web. “As part of Mencap’s future strategy rollout, we recognised that we needed to mobilise a number of initiatives, as well as delivering our core projects,” he recalls. “But we had no single reporting tool to establish a consistent portfolio view. Our project community includes colleagues in many diverse roles, for whom incidental project management is very much part of their everyday work. Project for the Web is a simple, self-intuitive app that enables tasks, milestones, risks, issues, and so on, to be captured in a standardised way. We also needed a better view of our overall portfolio, including resource capacity and allocation. We felt that Project for the Web would provide that consolidated insight across our pipeline and portfolio.”
That portfolio encompasses three directorates – Core, BaU, and the Strategic Transformation Portfolio, using a mix of delivery approaches, including Waterfall and Agile. Wellingtone examined Mencap’s requirements, configuring the app to provide optional features and fields depending on which approach each project demands. “We wanted to keep that differentiation between projects and methodologies, whilst also consolidating everything into an overarching portfolio view,” says Paul. “One of our priorities was to capture what impact our change activities might have on capacity and workload. By understanding that impact, we hope to phase transformation activities to achieve outputs without overloading colleagues. Project for the Web will allow us to slice and dice the data according to which functions the change impacts on, the scope of resources affected and whether the impact is high, medium, or low. Wellingtone also configured fields that will help us understand whether we are sufficiently mitigating organisational risks. That is powerful reporting information from both an operational and an executive point of view.”
We are pleased to have a partner in Wellingtone that understands our immediate priority, which is keeping rollout light touch and straightforward. Looking ahead, there is an appetite to explore the strategic role of Project for the Web.
Generating Project Intelligence and Insights with Microsoft Power BI
To support the reporting process, Wellingtone customised three Power BI reports illustrating key data across activities, resources, and project highlights. These are designed to relieve colleagues of cumbersome manual reporting, whilst providing insights in an executive-friendly format. Mencap’s PMO intends to build on this in the future, says Craig. “Our current priority is achieving the right quality of data around tasks, milestones, and resources. We recognise that Project for the Web has rich functionality. Despite its simplicity, there is much more data that could be analysed. Right now, though, our focus is on embedding use of the app, and moving towards a more sophisticated understanding of resource capacity for any particular project or portfolio of work.”
To support onboarding of Project for the Web, Wellingtone conducted training customised to Mencap’s needs, using live project data and supported by training companions and step-by-step visual guides. “The training was well received and professionally delivered, despite being carried out remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions,” says Craig. “We gave users access to the app beforehand so that they could experiment in a safe, mirrored environment. That supported Wellingtone’s training and helped to embed an initial level of knowledge. As part of the Office 365 suite, Project for the Web is naturally intuitive, so we found that users were quick to understand and adopt the tool.”
Gearing Up to Deliver on Future PPM Scope
Having gone live in March 2021, Mencap is still bedding in Project for the Web. But, according to Paul, early success is already inspiring future ambitions. “Whilst it is too early to quantify portfolio level benefits, this is something we’re working towards,” he says. “From a technical perspective we have rolled out, but we are still in the early stages of embedding the overall user journey and specifically managing the cultural element of users utilising the system. We recognise the future benefits of harnessing additional functionality – for example, managing finance, budgets, risks, issues, gateways, and dependencies. For the moment, though, we are pleased to have a partner in Wellingtone that understands our immediate priority, which is keeping rollout light touch and straightforward. Looking ahead, there is an appetite to explore the strategic role of Project for the Web, especially by customising further Power BI reports to monitor our transformation portfolio. We want it to be a golden source of information for our executives and trustees. Wellingtone has given us a great baseline to start from, and we are excited to develop that moving forwards.”
Craig agrees: “We found Wellingtone to be professional, knowledgeable and supportive. They understood our request to keep things simple and worked within our parameters. They educated us on what Project for the Web can do, and how we might maximise those capabilities. When we asked for requirements changes, their team was patient and accommodating. Their ongoing support package has also been excellent – we have a clear point of contact who answers queries promptly and manages our expectations well. Wellingtone acts as both a strategic partner and a technical expert. The core focus of Mencap is to support our beneficiaries. Gaining a holistic portfolio view of our activities – from funding to delivery – is vital. We are looking forward to seeing that capacity grow as our use of Project for the Web becomes more sophisticated.”