Portfolio & Project Management in R&D – How it Works with Proven Microsoft Solutions

In the context of portfolio and project management, Research & Development comprises the entire process of idea generation, research for new technologies and products, and the development of new products for the mass market. In contrast with product development projects, where development and manufacturing are based on concrete customer requests, R&D projects are usually under much higher risk and require significant capital investments.

The key project and portfolio management topics in Research and Development are:

  • Portfolio management and prioritization against business strategies
  • Management and controlling of R&D budgets
  • Risk management
  • Management of R&D programs
  • Collaboration of the usually distributed teams
  • Resource requests and commitments.

Expand the following text modules and read about the proven components of project and portfolio management solutions in the R&D area based on Microsoft technologies.

Microsoft Project Server / Project Online is a well-suited, commonly used platform for R&D project management. It facilitates central project and portfolio management, risk management, resource management and team collaboration.

In the context or portfolio management, market trends and strategic objectives are decisive for the selection of the most promising research projects. Microsoft Project Server can help to align projects and programs with strategic business drivers and to discover the skills needed to execute the selected R&D project portfolio.

Microsoft SharePoint can help to manage risks, build workflows and perform team collaboration. The latter has become extremely important for R&D lately, since teams are more and more distributed across multiple sites and geographies.

More about Microsoft Project Server or Project Online.

The R&D business requires high investments. Companies usually allocate R&D funds to their R&D departments, which at their end have to distribute R&D budgets to the programs and projects. This top-down budget allocation approach is supported by a bottom-up budget request by the projects.

The integration of the PPM solution with the ERP system can help with the budget request process. Once projects have been selected and the budget approved, the integration will help to periodically transfer cost forecasts of all projects to the ERP system and enable a reliable budget control for the entire R&D budget.

Internal costs are usually a significant portion of the total costs in R&D projects; hence, time tracking is important for controlling. In most cases, time tracking is done in the PPM tool and transferred to the ERP system.

Middleware products can help to integrate Microsoft Project Server / Project Online, SharePoint and others with ERP systems seamlessly and at reasonable cost.

More about TPG PSLink®.

In many research and development projects, the complexity and interdependence of the results require the creation of programs consisting of several projects.

Top-down and bottom-up program communication will help to set the program targets for single projects, track the key milestones and results of the single projects, and gain visibility.

Microsoft Project Server / Project Online along with proven add-ons can help with managing multi-project-interactions as well as program management.

More about TPG ProjectLink or TPG MultiProject(QS).

R&D activities are often performed in special competence teams, laboratories or a similar type of knowledge groups in the organization. These teams usually work for many projects simultaneously and team members have to be allocated to projects by their team leader.

Project managers will request skills from the competence teams, which in turn will plan their team members across general tasks and projects. Team leaders will commit people to project managers for certain time periods.

Microsoft Project Server / Project Online along with proven add-ons can help with requesting team members and committing them to projects.

More about TPG TeamManager.

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

“We can foresee if there is likely to be a delay or a potential bottleneck and act quickly to prevent it. This helps us to ensure that even very complex international R&D projects are completed on time and on budget.”

Jörn Fritsche, Project Manager, Vaillant Group R&D Support