Use Cases for a Project Management mobile app

In my last posts I tried to explain why there are usually 10 roles to manage projects in organizations, why these people need a mobile PPM app to manage projects with their smart phones and some of the requirements this kind of apps should meet. In this post I aim to elaborate some use cases to explain in practice how these roles should collaborate in projects on a day to day basis.

The following RACI matrix matches 25 use cases to the 10 project management roles, to figure out how they need to collaborate to manage the projects of the organization, showing who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted or Informed in each case:

Use Case #1. Initiate a Project Portfolio

In the PPM mobile app, any portfolio should be a simple set of projects and programs. The person accountable is the Portfolio Manager. He or she needs to manage all these components as a whole, updating the portfolio management information. The app should keep this management simple, just focused on items navigation. The deep details as described in the standards are better managed in the web version.

Any Portfolio Manager should easily create a new portfolio using the mobile app, just by choosing some projects of the organization (each project belongs only to one business unit, but they can belong to zero, one or many portfolios). Removing a project from a portfolio should be simple as well.

The person accountable for this use case is the Portfolio Manager. He or she is responsible for setting up the portfolio choosing the components (projects and programs). PMO role could also be responsible. Project Managers and Program Managers affected have to be informed they are included in the portfolio. Be informed in a mobile app usually means be notified and/or have a data field showing that the program or the project belongs to a given portfolio. Functional Manages should be consulted and informed if some projects of their business units are included in an organization’s portfolio.

Use Case #2. Initiate a Program

Any program is a set of related projects that needs to be managed as a whole. The Program Manager is accountable for setting up the components. PMO can help. Project Managers whose projects are included in the program are informed. Functional Managers and Portfolio Managers are consulted and informed.

Use Case #3. Initiate a Project

If a project is initiated from the demand management side, quite usual, then the Requester is accountable. If initiated from the supply management side, then a Project Manager is accountable. These roles are responsible to elaborate the project data and the business rationale. The PMO can create projects too. If the project is included in a program or in one or many portfolios, then Program Managers and Portfolio Managers need to be consulted and informed. From the demand management side, Sponsor has to be consulted/informed in orther to authorize the project, and Functional Manager is also consulted/informed because the business unit resources needed to apply. From the very beginning, some Stakeholders could be engaged (informed).

Use Case #4. Plan a Project

Project Manager is accountable/responsible for breaking the project down into control accounts, work packages, deliverables, activities, milestones, etc. in order to produce the schedule baseline, the cost baseline, and other planning artifacts like follow-up dates and project calendars. Team Members assigned will be informed of work dates. Usually, Team Member assignments have to be authorized by a Resource Manager. Related Portfolio Managers and Program Managers, and also the PMO, can help Project Manager updating the planning information. Every demand management roles related to the project need to be informed as well.

Use Case #5. Control a Project

Project Manager is accountable/responsible for updating the information on control accounts and deliverables progress, actual start and finish activity dates, actual milestone dates, actual costs and the budgeted cost of work performed. They are also responsible for approving/rejecting hours and expenses by Team Members. Related Portfolio Managers and Program Managers, and also the PMO, can help Project Manager updating the controlling information. Every demand management roles related to the project need to be informed as well.

Use Case #6. Close a Project

Mobile application should distinguish two closure states: closing and archived. A project in state closing is no longer accepting Team Members hours and expenses because everything technical is done. Project Manager needs to close the project documents, lessons learned, closure report, etc. When the project is archived, no further changes are allowed.

Use Case #7. Request a New Project

Any Requester can create a new Request –information is also stored as an initiating project, see case #3–. If needed, the Requester can assign the Project Manager, include the project into one program, and one or many portfolios.

Use Case #8. Change the State for a Request

Requester can promote the Request from state proposed to state in progress when the Sponsor authorize the project. When the project is completed, the Requester can change the Request from in progress to closed. State on hold means the Request approval decision is being delayed. State rejected means that Request was not approved eventually.

Use Case #9. Change the State for a Project

Project Manager can promote the project from state initiating to state planning when the Sponsor authorize the project. When planning is finished, the project is promoted to state executing, meaning that project can use budget and resources until state is closing –see use case #6–.

Use Case #10. Invite Stakeholders

Project Managers can include a new Stakeholder in the stakeholder register, so that this person can see the project progress, submit comments and change requests.

Use Case #11. Manage Human Resources

With the mobile application, Project Managers can easily update Team Member’s assignment data, approve/reject hours and expenses, attend Team Members’ comments, etc.

Use Case #12. Manage Resource Pools

It is sometimes very convenient at organizations if every Team Member belongs to a resource pool administered by a Resource Manager. This way Resource Managers can specialize in capacity planning, project assignations, operations approvals, absences and leaves, etc.

Use Case #13. Manage Hours and Expenses

Team Members are responsible to register on time incurred hours and expenses. Project Manager decides if approve or reject this costs against the project budget. These registering and approval workflows implies lots of ineffective effort when done in batch mode. Mobile interface could result quite useful in this use case.

Use Case #14. Manage Project Procurement

Many projects subcontract some works to third parties. These contractors need to manage their parts as projects again. A PPM mobile app could provide a great value when tracing and monitoring the procurement statements of work. If the procurement project is also managed with the tool, then the Project Manager could control the main part of the contracting relationship online, under a real project management 2.0 paradigm.

Use Case #15. Manage Project Risks and Issues

When potential problems are identified, good practice is to write them down in the mobile app to start tracking them as risks. When unexpected problems arise, they need to be managed in the mobile app as project issues.

Use Case #16. Manage Comments

Project stakeholders –all but the Resource Manager– should be able to express their concerns with their mobile, anonymously if they prefer so. The Project Manager can see these comments online. We don’t need here the kind of instant messaging interactive communication supported by others collaborative tools. For a mobile PPM app it is enough some kind of comments formal registering.

Use Case #17. Manage Change Requests

A change management log would be of high value if we can interact online with stakeholders, resembling use case #16 with comments, we need something similar with change requests. Any project stakeholder may request change –with the exception of Team Members and Resource Managers.

Use Case #18. Manage Programs

Program Managers will manage the program components –projects– but they need also to update some specific program high level information in the mobile PPM app.

Use Case #19. Manage Portfolios

Portfolio Managers will manage the portfolio components –projects and programs– but they need also to update some specific portfolio high level information in the mobile PPM app.

Use Case #20. Manage Non-Project Work

For instance, using the PPM mobile app, Resource Managers can approve Team Member’s vacation requests, training, absences and leaves, etc.

Use Cases #21–24. Manage Dashboards

The Project Manager** can show everyone the project global status with a semaphoric color –green, amber, red– and a short explanation. The same status code could apply to each project control account. Something so simple could help a lot when communicating project governance information online. The same is applicable to requests, programs and portfolios. Additionally, at the project and control account level, it is quite meaningful the short summarized information on scope, schedule and costs.

Use Case #25. Use Collaboration Tools

It will be prohibitively expensive one PPM tool covering all needed project collaboration features. The PPM mobile app should integrate with other mobile apps to get the 10 roles managing conversations, tasks, documents, changes and sales activities. The Project Manager should be able to configure which tool to integrate per project.

This article is also available in Spanish.

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