Clarity PPM Solution Spotlight: Top-Down Funding and PO Management at UCLA
By: Doug Kalkowski, Baglan Rhymes
Annual planning can be an exciting time, filled with visions of how to revolutionize your organization’s future. However, for those stuck in traditional project and portfolio management methods, it can be a grueling process of estimating costs for numerous investments in painstaking detail. Many organizations face this challenge, but there’s a better way. In this Solution Spotlight, we’ll explore how Winmill PPM partnered with UCLA to implement a top-down funding model using Clarity PPM, along with an innovative approach to fund management.
Defining the Top-Down Approach at UCLA
To implement a top-down approach, you first need to define what “the top” looks like. In this case, UCLA established Parent Investments, which encompassed six unique campuses within the university system. Custom Investment Types were created in Clarity PPM to represent these investments.
Clarity’s Cost Plans were then used to allocate funds to each parent investment for the planning cycle, totaling just six cost plans. Once the planning process was complete, these cost plans were submitted for approval and became the budget plan for the campuses. This approach eliminates the need for meticulous year-long planning to secure funding, allowing campuses like UCLA to maintain flexibility in resource allocation and minimize administrative burdens associated with endless change requests.
Managing Finances at UCLA’s Highest Level
Now, the question arises: How does UCLA manage finances at such a high level? Winmill PPM developed a system in Clarity PPM to help UCLA campuses manage their funds effectively. When a campus is ready to utilize approved funds, a Purchase Order (PO) is created in a custom sub-object of the Parent Investment. This PO sub-object tracks the distribution of funds and additional metrics, such as hours used and aggregate cost, for each initiative.
Once a UCLA initiative is funded, the POs can be further divided to meet specific needs, such as paying vendors, purchasing hardware or software, or covering employee salaries. Within the PO sub-object is another sub-object called PO Detail, where funds are broken down to apply to individual work items. Winmill developed a process to generate Charge Codes when these PO Detail items were ready to be used. These charge codes can then be assigned to individual tasks within any investment in Clarity, appearing on project plans and timesheets for resource tracking. An additional interface was created to import non-labor costs from the financial system and track them against POs.
Flexible Funding for Diverse Work Methods at UCLA
By utilizing Charge Codes to track costs associated with these POs, UCLA campuses can spend funds according to their preferred project management methodology, whether Agile or Traditional waterfall. Reports and portlets within Clarity PPM were developed to help UCLA investment managers monitor approved funds and enable chargebacks, completing the planning-to-execution cycle.
Unlocking Top-Down Planning Potential at UCLA
Top-down planning might sound too good to be true for some organizations, but with creativity and a powerful project and portfolio management system like Clarity PPM, it’s well within reach for institutions like UCLA. If you’re interested in breaking free from the intricacies of detailed annual planning and rigid investment management, Winmill PPM can help. Reach out to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how we can streamline UCLA’s planning and funding processes.
While frustrating, timesheets are an integral component of successful management. A typical resource manager oversees a team working on multiple projects simultaneously. The manager needs to ensure that the right people with the right skill sets are assigned to the appropriate projects as they arise, so a clear understanding of current and future capabilities and capacity is essential. For this, the manager needs to have a degree of certainty that the team is entering project time regularly and reliably.