The Project Notebook

New PM Tool: EPM Live

For those of you local to San Diego, you may be familiar with one of our local companies, LMR Solutions. LMR recently “branched out” and launched EPM Live. I’ve made myself a commitment to take a closer look at this tool over the next weeks and months as I believe it has a lot of strengths for those who aren’t hosting a full SharePoint and MS Project Server.

The hosted solution is SharePoint based. Using a proprietary MS Project ad-in, Project Publisher, MS Office Project plans can be pushed to project team collaboration spaces. There the team can review tasks and make updates to their work. Project status reports and hundreds of other reports can be generated from dashboard and portfolio views. The resulting updates can also be imported back into MS Project. EPM Live becomes a stand-in for Project Server while providing all the benefits of a full SharePoint implementation.

One use I’ve discovered is I can create a time model in Project, publish to EPM Live, and let team members update their progress. They are focused on the tasks and assignments and not on the overall timeline. When they make substantial updates to the tasks (e.g. change delivery dates, add effort), I import back into the MS Project model where I now get a new project end date computed. If I change the time model, I can push the updates back to EPM Live.

There’s a 30 day free trial offer on their web site, so if you are inclined, you may want to check out the site. I found just the full SharePoint features alone to be valuable, while the addition of Project Publisher technology helps me refine my management of time and resources. Its not immediately obvious on the site, but I did find if you are already hosting MS SharePoint, you can host EPM and Project Publisher technology yourself.

If you try it out, please leave me a comment regarding your experience.

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