Win a FREE ProModel Deluxe Student Package

Big data and analytics are definitely hot topics in the Tech world these days.  University and college masters programs are springing up all over the place.  These programs are hoping to gear up business analytics, machine learning and other data analysis programs to train today’s undergrads.

Looking to fill the analytics talent gap by pursuing a degree in this field, or are you currently in a program?  Here is your chance to win a free ProModel Deluxe Student Package.  ProModel is a premier modeling and simulation tool with 25 years of success behind it.  This tool will help you familiarize yourself with simulation and modeling analytics.

To enter for your chance to win, simply subscribe to this ProModel Blog, and fill out the registration form linked below.  You can also enter by following us on Twitter and Facebook, or join us on LinkedIn and follow our groups: Predictive Simulation Solutions – ProModel ,  Predictive Simulation Solutions for Healthcare – ProModel, or PPM Solutions – ProModel EPS

Click here to register!

Simulation Game is Game Changer

Charley%20Harrell

Dr. Charles Harrell
ProModel Director and Founder,
Professor of Engineering and Technology – BYU

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) has emerged to become one of the most crucial ways of achieving strategic advantage in a business organization. In order to be competitive, business leaders recognize that they must be able to effectively plan and manage their project or product portfolio in a way that best achieves the financial goals of the organization. The question I would ask is: How well are university MBA programs responding to industry needs and preparing graduates who can effectively do PPM?

In the U.S. alone there are currently 214 graduate business or MBA programs offering either courses or emphases in PPM. But this number doesn’t necessarily reflect how many MBA programs do an adequate job of teaching PPM. Many programs treat PPM as just an extension of project management (PM), or they are content to treat it at a high, conceptual level rather than at an actual working level.

PPM is Not Just PM on Steroids

Traditionally, MBA programs have tended to focus on the management of projects, not the management of project portfolios. However, as universities have increasingly become aware of the fact that most organizations manage multiple projects rather than individual projects, PM courses have expanded to ostensibly address the issues associated with multiple projects. Unfortunately, in many of these instances the real issues associated with managing multiple projects are trivialized as though they are little different from those connected with managing a single project. One MBA program advertises that they provide an entire series of four courses on PM, yet only in the last course is the subtopic of “multiple projects” even raised. The mindset seems to be: if you can plan and manage one project, you can plan and manage multiple projects.

This practice of tacking PPM onto PM, as though it is simply a matter of planning and managing a bunch of individual projects, grossly underestimates the complexity of the decisions associated with competing projects vying for the limited resources of an organization, not to mention the strategic level of thinking that is required to make such decisions.

PPM is more than learning how to manage multiple projects. It is learning how to look at the entire portfolio of projects holistically with the goal of maximizing overall ROI. PPM blends strategy and decision making to allocate resources across competing opportunities for maximum value creation. These decisions are based on risk assessment and financial management and therefore go beyond the simple scheduling and cost estimating activities associated with PM. What this all means is that a good project manager isn’t necessarily a good portfolio manager.

PPM, a Learn-by-Doing Skill

Once an MBA program gets over the habit of treating PPM as simply an advanced exercise in PM, the next challenge is to treat PPM as a skill rather than simply a topic of discussion. Unfortunately, in many MBA programs PPM is addressed as simply one of many topics covered in a business strategy course where students are barely given enough exposure to it to know what it is.

Even where an entire course is dedicated to the topic of PPM, it is often treated at a high level with little attention given to the actual nuts and bolts of how it is done. It goes without saying that one can learn a great deal about PPM without really learning how to do PPM. I recently read one PPM course description in an MBA program that stated: “This course provides the basic concepts of portfolio management and differentiates portfolio management from project management, program management and the PMO. The course content defines the steps necessary to develop a project portfolio, including selecting portfolio components and applying financial and resource constraints. Portfolios have different risks than individual projects and programs, therefore an explanation of portfolio risk management is included.”

Such a course, if taught as advertised, could hardly give students a working knowledge of how to do PPM. While perhaps useful to someone interested in obtaining only a cursory knowledge of PPM, it is of little practical use to someone anticipating filling any kind of leadership role in PPM.

To develop a real working knowledge of PPM, students need to develop a sense of how project selection, prioritization and timing affect financial performance. They also need to get a good grasp of the way resource allocation over time and across multiple projects affects both cost and revenues. Gaining insight into the impact of uncertainty and risk on timing and financial performance is also vital. Especially useful is the ability to generate accurate statistical estimates of performance based on uncertainty. Such capabilities are best developed through actual experience in working with project portfolios.

EPS for MBA Programs

ProModel has developed a PPM simulation exercise using its powerful Enterprise Project Portfolio (EPS) product that is designed to take students through a realistic project portfolio planning scenario. It gives students an experience of what it is actually like to make portfolio planning decisions and helps improve their strategic thinking skills. Since this EPS module is hosted in the cloud, no software needs to be downloaded and students can work through the exercise at their own pace, usually only taking a couple hours to complete.

The EPS module provides both training and assessment so that students receive immediate feedback on the consequence of their decisions and are allowed to iteratively improve their decision making skills. Students come away with confidence in their ability to effectively plan a project portfolio.

ProModel is excited to be working with several MBA programs to pilot this EPS module. Preliminary results are promising, and it is definitely proving to be a bold move for professors to stretch beyond their comfort zone of classroom lecturing. Giving students this hands-on experience in PPM is sure to make them better business leaders. It is more than a simulation game; it is a game changer.

Please Visit the ProModel Academic Page:

http://www.promodel.com/academic/

 

In 2013 ProModel Celebrates 25 Years of Serving Customers!

Keith Vadas

Keith Vadas – ProModel President & CEO

The ProModel family would like to wish everyone a very joyous holiday season and a prosperous 2013!  We thank you for all your support and business in 2012.  As always, our goal is to help you meet or exceed your performance goals.  We hope that our people and solutions were able to assist you in that endeavor this past year.

2013 marks the 25th Anniversary of ProModel Corporation.  That’s a quarter century of providing solutions that improve performance for companies and organizations all around the world! It’s hard to believe how time flies, but it’s easy to see how ProModel has grown from a small company based on a single innovative simulation software product to an organization with a global presence and diverse solutions servicing virtually every industry from Government and Manufacturing to Healthcare and Academia.  It’s all due to the talented and dedicated professionals, both in the ProModel family and especially within our loyal customer base – so Thank You.

ProModel opened its doors in Orem Utah in 1988 thanks to Dr. Charles Harrell’s vision to provide an easy to use and affordable simulation toolset for non-programmers that could run on standard PC’s.  It has grown for 25 years because of strong customer support and feedback as well as innovative predictive analytic solutions.

We now provide an array of Rich Internet Application solutions like the ARFORGEN Synchronization Tool (AST) that helps the Army do all force planning for missions around the world, Decision Support Tool (DST) that helps Army Materiel Command source equipment for the troops  ensuring their readiness for the missions, The Navy Synchronization Tools (NST) help the Navy  optimize  F18  fleets and Enterprise Portfolio Simulator (EPS) which helps organizations optimize project portfolios with limited resources.

We also continue to improve upon our flagship ProModel, MedModel and ServiceModel suites as well as Process Simulator, our Visio Plug-In, based primarily on your feedback.

In 2013 and beyond we look to continue developing innovative collaborative predictive analytic solutions to help our customers make better decisions faster.  One example of this is Patient Flow Analysis, an application specific healthcare solution designed to make it easier and faster to solve hospital wide patient flow issues.   Keep an eye of for this solution in early 2013.

Here at ProModel we have plenty of good memories and valuable experiences to look back upon over the last 25 years, but we’d also like to hear about your experiences with ProModel.  What were some of the key decisions you were able to confidently make because of a ProModel solution?  Tell us about some of the most memorable and successful projects you’ve worked on with ProModel.

Thanks again, Happy Holidays, and we’ll see you next year!

Keith Vadas

President & CEO

ProModel Corporation

Join Our EPS Webinar and Learn How to Improve Your PPM Strategies

Kevin Jacobson – ProModel PPM Product Manager

Thursday, October 11 at 1:00 pm ET

Click here to see the agenda and to register

There are many discussions about PPM Maturity out there on the web.  All express a similar evolutionary understanding of the process.  Each discussion outlines the various steps to achieving PPM maturity and the complicated nature of what it takes to get there.  Most organizations have a tendency to get stuck somewhere between level 1 and level 2 of the maturity curve. A lot of the discussions try to match people, processes and technologies to the needs of the organization based on its industry culture and its current level of maturity.

But what happens as you move up a level, or as horrible as it may be, down a level?  What if its cost and time prohibitive to make a move?  Sometimes you need a tool that can take advantage of where you are right now. Something that isn’t so complex it takes months to implement and you have to change the way you conduct business in order to use it.  You need a technology that matches where you are now and where you might wind up in five years.

Join me, Kevin Jacobson, ProModel PPM Product Manager for a 45 minute webinar with David Higgins, Sr. Consultant for PPM related solutions, as we explain how you can use EPS (Enterprise Portfolio Simulator) to improve your PPM strategies RIGHT NOW!