Oracle’s Collaborate 14 Conference: ePM Project Management Consulting

Cari Stieglitz
Faithful+Gould was invited to speak at the Collaborate 14 conference that took place in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Collaborative 14 is one of the largest Oracle annual conferences in the U.S. and is produced by three independent user groups: the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG), Oracle Applications Users Groups (OAUG) and Quest International Users Group (Quest). 

The conference provides a platform to share case studies, successes and lessons learned with a group comprised of owners, partner consultants and colleagues. Faithful+Gould is an Oracle Gold partner that has been implementing Primavera solutions, especially Unifier for more than eight years. I presented along with senior project managers Diana Kennedy and Richard Tregaskes at this industry-leading conference.

As a project and program management firm, we have a unique approach and point of view that allows us to implement our industry experience with software tools. The presentations focused on software utilization and configuration in business process consulting.

Project Controls Improved by Owner Systems

Streamlining efforts in today's construction climate and the need for consistency has never been more vital. Richard discussed cost forecasting, schedule management and cash flow. He emphasized the point that accurate cash forecasting, particularly for capital projects, is essential. Historically, contractors owned the cost data, but today the growing trend is for project owners to control the cost data, which has many business advantages.

Historically, contractors owned the cost data, but today the growing trend is for project owners to control the cost data, which has many business advantages.

By tying the schedules and costs into a unified system, like Primavera Unifier, the project management office has an overview of cash forecasting for both actual and proposed projects, allowing them to make well-informed decisions about cash resource allocations. As capital projects are completed, the same suite of tools should be used to manage its lifecycle to track maintenance and operational costs. That data can then be used to inform future planning efforts.

Configuration not Customization

Diana and I co-presented Beyond Customization – Increasing User Adoption with Unifier’s Functionality. This presentation sought to answer the question: How do you balance the power of software with the threat of over customization?

Unifier is the tool of choice for Faithful+Gould because it is so highly configurable. This supports our core strength as a firm to build the tool around the process – not the process around the tool.

Unifier is the tool of choice for Faithful+Gould because it is so highly configurable to build the tool around the process – not the process around the tool. Without the right planning, when using sophisticated software, processes can become overly complicated and customized, leading to confusion and lost time.

In our third presentation entitled, Beginning at the End – Requirements Gathering Lessons from a Flow Chart Junkie, I answered the question: Why is robust requirement gathering so important? Requirements need to be discovered before they can be 'gathered' and this requires a robust approach to analyzing the business needs.

While working to discover requirements, the forward pass in the visual process flow establishes the basics – defining what steps are taken during the action. The backward pass forces the customer to consider each step individually without jumping through the list from memory. Through this, critical information can be discovered, which can result in such tangibles as better post-project ROI, training and documentation for the customer.

Requirements need to be discovered before they can be “gathered” and this requires a robust approach to analyzing the business needs.

Software solutions are becoming part of our daily lives and more sophisticated tools like Unifier are being used more frequently. Unifier, used as a project management system, is a pertinent component to Faithful+Gould's core services – and to the electronic project management (ePM) services provided to our customers.

Our Methodologies at Work

Faithful+Gould integrates all of our methodologies into every ePM project we touch. Customers are moving toward using tool components and streamlining their efforts. Recently, we were awarded a five-year contract to provide project management services on a series of upgrades to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York, for the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA).

In a supportive role, our ePM team will utilize Unifier to help our customer capitalize on the large program effort to create standards for tracking and managing its project portfolio.