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Microsoft Improves Project Portfolio Selection

Business Case Study

Published: November 28, 2007

Microsoft® Office Project Portfolio Server2007 is a top-down portfolio management solution that Microsoft Information Technology (Microsoft IT) uses to identify, select, and deliver a set of investments that align with IT business strategy. The Human Resources (HR) department at Microsoft and the HR Solutions Delivery (SD) team within Microsoft IT piloted the Office Project Portfolio Server solution and experienced better decision making and savings reduction. The projects selected are on track to deliver significant business impact this fiscal year.

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Customer Profile

Situation

Solution

Benefits

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is the world's largest software company, with more than U.S.$44 billion in annual revenues and 78,000 employees worldwide.

The Microsoft Human Resources (HR) department needed to find a better way to prioritize projects because the existing process was inefficient and lacked collaboration and communication between groups.

HR worked with Microsoft IT to implement and pilot a project portfolio tool that HR used for its fiscal year 2008 project selection process.

  • Improved teamwork
  • Increased communication
  • Better ability to staff appropriately
  • Enhanced accountability for greater success

"Without using Office Project Portfolio Server2007 to support our initiative — we would not have known whether those were the right projects to take on."

Bruno Lecoq, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Human Resources Operations Excellence

Situation

Microsoft is committed to hiring and retaining the world's best and brightest people for everything from software development to strategic planning. Microsoft HR plays a large role in finding qualified candidates for employment, providing programs that make Microsoft a positive place to work, and organizing and communicating benefits and compensation information for the company's 78,000 employees.

However, HR faced an issue with the sheer volume of projects that it undertook in a specified year. Those projects could range from the creation of an assessment tool for measuring job performance to the restructuring of the entire compensation system. HR found that it did not have enough human and financial resources necessary to deploy all its potential projects, and yet some of the projects that it did complete did not deliver the services that Microsoft employees most needed.

Part of the problem was that HR had no clear way to prioritize its projects at an integrated HR level. Historically, HR had four main areas—called Centers of Excellence—that operated separately, each with its own budget and goals and with little cross-over among them. Because the four areas in HR had no common taxonomy to communicate project significance and strategy, they lacked the stakeholder buy-in and dedicated time and commitment to prioritize all the potential projects. Nobody had clear visibility into relationships among projects or which projects would most benefit the overall health of Microsoft. "Before, if you had the funding, the seniority, and the right timing, your project would probably happen," says Bruno Lecoq, senior program manager for Microsoft Human Resources Operations Excellence.

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