This article will show you around our software and highlight some key features.
- Video: Get Settled In With Meisterplan
- Key Features for Project Portfolio Management
- Key Features for Resource Management
Video: Get Settled In With Meisterplan
In this video, our Lean PPM Expert Karoline Holicky walks you through the Portfolio Designer, Meisterplan's main planning view. You'll also learn how to navigate through the tool and use other important views.
You can learn more about Meisterplan's navigation and views here:
- Navigation, Menus and Views
- Portfolio Designer - Overview
- Collect New Project Initiatives Using the Board View
- Get a Quick Overview with the Project List
- Share Your Plan Using the Roadmap
- Goals View
- Reports View and Integrated Reports
Key Features for Project Portfolio Management
Effective project portfolio management is crucial for organizations to make better decisions, mitigate risk and move forward. Meisterplan is a software solution that helps portfolio managers build plans and ensure the right people are working on the highest priority projects at the best possible time.
With Meisterplan, you can achieve:
- Project Prioritization – Ensure your organization works on what is most important to your business. Use Project Scoring to determine what the highest priority projects are, and ensure they're aligned with corporate strategy. Quickly see which projects are the highest priority within your portfolio and how your plan would be affected if a new project were added.
- Portfolio Visibility - Get a view of your data from multiple perspectives through the interactive portfolio designer, project list, roadmap, scenario comparison and internal reports. See the impact of changes to the plan on all projects, resources and finances.
- Tactical Portfolio Management - Answer high-level “what-if” portfolio planning questions and immediately find alternatives with Meisterplan Scenarios. When things change, adapt your plans in real time to accelerate growth.
What is Project Portfolio Management?
If you are unfamiliar with the term "Project Portfolio Management" (PPM), check out our blog post What is the Difference between Project Management and Project Portfolio Management?
These are Meisterplan's key features and benefits for project portfolio management:
- A Single-Screen View on Priorities, Timing, and Staffing
- Identify Critical Projects at a Glance
- Anticipate Deadlines with Milestones and Dependencies
- Focus on the Most Important Projects
- Filter Projects with Portfolios
- Answer What-if Questions with Scenarios
- Strategically Align Management and Teams Using a Roadmap
- Streamline Project Intake with the Board View
- Align Stakeholders with Reports
- Compare Project Plans with Actual Performance
A Single-Screen View on Priorities, Timing, and Staffing
The Portfolio Designer is an interactive, one-stop-shop for visualizing your portfolio in respect to timing, prioritization, and staffing. The Must-Have and Cut-Off lines help you visualize which projects are the highest priority and which projects cannot realistically fit into your portfolio. The resource histogram below gives you an accurate overview of employee availability and capacity.
Find out more in the Portfolio Designer - Overview article.
Color the Project Timeline for Quick Insights
You can also color the Gantt chart by project field. For example, by coloring your projects by status or risk, you can easily see which projects need attention or require action. Coloring your projects by project phase can help you identify when each project will be in what phase.
You can change the Gantt color scheme in the portfolio designer settings at the top of the page. To find more information about Portfolio Designer setting options, visit the Portfolio Designer Settings article.
Identify Critical Projects at a Glance
Sort by Status in the Project List
The Project List is a helpful view for portfolio managers looking to sort projects on the fly or quickly identify critical projects before their next meeting. Sorting the Status column sorts the list so all projects labeled “critical” are moved to the top. You can also customize the list to your liking by clicking “Configure Columns”.
Read more about the Project List view in the Get a Quick Overview with the Project List article.
Anticipate Deadlines with Milestones and Dependencies
Milestones and dependencies help portfolio managers anticipate project deadlines and identify at risk projects. For example, if your social media strategy project cannot start the implementation phase until the corporate design is finalized in a rebranding project, you might want to use milestones and a dependency to visualize this. When a project’s milestone is scheduled for a date later than a dependent milestone, the dependency will show red, indicating a conflict.
To quickly see all milestones and dependencies for multiple projects, click a project, hold the control key and select another project. In addition, simply clicking on a program will display all milestones and dependencies for projects within that program.
Learn more about milestones and dependencies in the Milestones, Project Phases and Dependencies article.
Focus on the Most Important Projects
Manually Prioritize via Drag and Drop
Prioritizing your projects is as easy as it gets with our drag and drop functionality. Simply move a project up or down to denote its rank in the portfolio. Anything above the Must-Have line is crucial to your portfolio. Any project below the Cut-Off line is not included in the portfolio and does not count against resource allocations.
Read more about drag and drop prioritization in the Must-Have Line and Cut-Off Line article.
Automatically Prioritize via Project Scoring
While you can manually prioritize your projects with drag and drop, you can also objectively rank your projects with project scoring. You can use custom criteria to create project scores.
For more information on ranking projects with a project score, check out the Project Rank and Project Score article.
Filter Projects with Portfolios
Use a portfolio to narrow down which projects you see within your Meisterplan system. With a portfolio enabled, you can filter for projects by both project and resource meta data. For example, you may want to see only projects managed by a specific project manager (like Danielle West in the image below) or maybe all projects within a particular department.
To use a portfolio, click Portfolio in the black header bar and choose the intended portfolio from the drop-down. Learn more about portfolios in the Portfolios in Meisterplan - Overview article.
Answer What-if Questions with Scenarios
Sometimes you may want to test out different project timings or rearrange your portfolio to account for a new project, without damaging your current portfolio plan. With scenarios, you can make changes to all project staffing, timing, and prioritization without affecting the plan.
In this video we give you an overview of the possibilities that scenarios in Meisterplan offer you:
After making changes to a scenario, you can always submit the changes back to the Plan of Record. Learn more about Scenarios and how to use them in Scenario Basics article.
You can also compare two scenarios by entering the Scenario Comparison view. When you enter this view, the project timeline will now display smaller grey Gantt bars that represent the projects in the compared scenario, in addition to the initial scenario projects.
Read about Scenario Comparison and how to use it in your instance in the Scenario Comparison article.
Strategically Align Management and Teams Using a Roadmap
Our Roadmap view gives you a strategic overview of your portfolio, and the ability to align everyone on the path forward and communicate decisions. This view groups projects on a timeline by project field, OBS unit or Business Goal. Grouping this view by Business Goal allows you to see which projects contribute to reaching your goals, and when the goals can be reached.
To understand what projects make-up each goal, click the arrow next to the goal. When you are ready to share the roadmap with others, simply download the view as a png image.
For more details on using our Roadmap view, check out the Share Your Plan Using the Roadmap article.
Streamline Project Intake with the Board View
Project intake is made easy with our Kanban-style Board view. This view helps you track project ideas as they move through the approval process and easily add them to the portfolio. Drag and drop the project cards into a new column to move them through the intake process. Details on how to set this up can be found in the Turn Project Ideas into Successful Projects with the Board View article.
To see the project intake process in action with our Board view, check out the Collect New Project Initiatives Using the Board View video.
Align Stakeholders with Reports
Between our Reporting API and Integrated Pivot Reports, Meisterplan has many reporting options that can help align all stakeholders involved. Compare scenarios, track resource costs per project, align your portfolio to strategy, visualize the net value of projects and more. Whichever option you choose, you can use one of our premade templates or build a report from scratch.
Get an overview of all reporting options with Meisterplan in the Harness the Power of Your Data video.
Compare Project Plans with Actual Performance
Meisterplan enables you to compare your project plans with the project's actual performance directly within the application. Simply import Actual Time Worked from your time-tracking tool regularly to get a comparison between Planned Allocation, Approved Total Effort and Actual Time Worked on your projects. Understanding this comparison can be crucial to the success of your projects and greater portfolio.
For more details on Actuals and available key figures, check out the Actuals - Time Worked article.
Key Features for Resource Management
Resource management is a key factor in executing a successful project portfolio plan. Meisterplan is designed to provide you real-time capacity insights and helps portfolio and resource managers gain resource visibility to accurately accomplish capacity planning and tactical resource management.
- Accurate Capacity Planning – Get a complete view of capacity to match the right people to the highest priorities. With Meisterplan, you can quickly react to changes by reassigning available resources and maximizing resource utilization.
- Resource Visibility – Ensure you have the resources to realistically commit to your plan by seeing the whole picture. With the calendar functions, accurately anticipate resource availability including vacation and other leaves. Easily determine who is available when and what skills they have.
- Tactical Resource Management – Adapt your resource plans when things change and resolve resource conflicts in real time to keep your company moving forward. With Meisterplan Scenarios you can answer high-level “what-if” staffing questions and immediately see the impact on resource utilization.
What about task management?
Meisterplan is not optimized for task management. Resource management in Meisterplan is done on a high level and intended to provide an overview of all projects and relevant allocations within a portfolio.
These are Meisterplan's key features and benefits for project portfolio management:
- Estimate Capacity Demand with Roles
- Staffing a Resource
- Visualize your Data by Organizational Structure
- Test Staffing Configurations with Scenarios
- Report on your Resources
Estimate Capacity Demand with Roles
When you are in the definition stage of a project, Roles can be used as an allocation placeholder to ensure your capacity needs are accounted for before you know exactly who is working on the project. Staff a role to a project by clicking the plus icon next to the project name and search for the role you would like to allocate. When you are ready to substitute the generic role for a named resource, simply fill the allocation by using the Staff Role Function.
Learn more about staffing or unstaffing a role in the Replacing or Removing Roles or Resources article.
Staffing a Resource
To assign a named resource to a project, simply click the plus icon next to the project name and search for the person you would like to staff to the project. You can search for the resource based on their name, skill or primary role. Once you have selected the person, enter the amount of their capacity that will be allocated to the project.
Learn more about resource allocations by visiting the Assigning Employees to Projects article.
More Detailed Planning with Time Grid & Zoom Level
You can simplify the time segmentation when staffing resources by using the allocation Time Grid. This setting allows you to segment your allocations based on the selected Zoom Level. Instead of estimating the required effort needed for the whole project, estimate work by weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly segments.
Use the Zoom Level to quickly navigate between detailed and high-level views. With this feature, you can enter your allocations on a detailed weekly basis and then view the impact of those allocations on a yearly level.
Visualize your Data by Organizational Structure
Organizational Breakdown Structure, or OBS, is a way to classify your projects, roles, and resources in Meisterplan for optimized filtering and reporting. Aggregate the histogram in the Portfolio Designer resource section by your OBS structure to get a transparent overview of capacity in specific organization units. Click into the histogram to see how your project allocations stack up in comparison to the total capacity of that unit.
To aggregate your resource section by your OBS structure, click Settings at the top of the Portfolio Designer and, under Aggregation, select OBS.
Test Staffing Configurations with Scenarios
With scenarios, you can test a variety of different staffing configurations to find the optimal plan moving forward:
- What would be the impact of hiring more internal and/or external people?
- What team members can take on additional work from overallocated employees?
- What happens when you delay a project to account for a resource bottleneck?
- What is the earliest finish date of a project with your current resource base?
You can answer these questions and more by using our Scenario planning functionality.
Learn more about scenarios in the Scenario Basics article.
Report on your Resources
Visualize Utilization with the Allocation Heatmap
With the Allocation Heatmap, get a quick overview of all over and underallocated resources. With this report, the overallocated roles and resources are highlighted in red, while the underallocated roles and resources are highlighted in blue. Use this report to easily identify who can take on more work, and who is overbooked.
Read more about how to set-up and use the Allocation Heatmap in the Allocation Heatmap in Reports article.
Integrated Pivot Reports for a Resource-Centric View
Use our integrated pivot reports to create a resource-centric view of your portfolio. With this view, you can see what each person is working on and where they are focusing their time. Customize the report to show meaningful visualizations with timing and allocation units that are relevant to you.
Learn more about customizing your pivot reports in the Pivot & Charts: Projects, Allocations and Capacities article.