Most deploying organizations identify and develop custom outline codes that meet their reporting needs. Although each organization has specific requirements, a significant number of custom outline codes are used by companies regardless of their field of activity. Among those codes are Project Location, Project Status, and Project Type.
It is important to remember that these outline codes are provided here as guides and not as "must haves." It is up to the EPM deploying team to decide which codes should be used.
As discussed in Chapter 3, "Knowing Product Limits and Overcoming Them," each organization must carefully consider which codes are relevant and what the reporting requirements of various stakeholders are. It has been our experience that most organizations that want to deploy an EPM solution will most likely have a need for certain outline codes that are common across industries.
Project location was discussed previously, and it is always a good idea to have projects grouped by their geographical distribution. Grouping projects by location helps not only the executives and portfolio managers but also product development, sales, and marketing managers. For example, grouping projects by location can help identify the workload for various locations, help analyze the proximity of vendors and suppliers, and help an organization balance the financial burden represented by each project.
An enterprise project outline code, which we recommend using, regardless of industry, is the Project Status. Project Status represents an important classification for a project portfolio because it provides important information with regard to project pipeline loading.
For example, a project pipeline that has many projects in the execution phase but few that are closed or canceled is a sign of an unbalanced pipeline and that these projects may be lingering in the execution phase when they should actually be closed or canceled.
Examination of the project pipeline loading is also the first indicator of the resource needs, and it is an important tool for future balancing and synchronizing the projects and resource requirements with organizational availability of all resources (human, financial, material).
The following is an example of a Project Status outline code:
Grouping Projects By Project Type
Often organizations initiate projects to address an issue or a change that has been legislated by government or mandated by a professional organization or a certification agency. Most of the time, these projects face tight deadlines that cannot be modified. Alternatively, organizations initiate projects as a response to a business need discretionary to the organization. In such cases, it is useful for portfolio managers to group the projects into the following three major categories:
Grouping Projects By Sponsoring Division
Project Sponsoring Division is a particularly useful outline code for organizations in which projects are executed by a different division than the sponsoring division. This gives portfolio managers the necessary tools to group projects by various sponsoring divisions within the organization. When organizations decide to employ the Project Sponsoring Division outline code, it is advisable to employ a second code as well: Project Performing Division.
Project Performing Division
Project Performing Division is an outline code that allows functional and portfolio managers to identify project workload by performing organization. In many cases, the sponsoring and the performing organization value would be identical. In this case, we suggest using the sharing feature of the two outline codes.
Almost all deploying organizations have a need to group projects by their respective business priority within the company. Most common values for this outline code are represented in the following list, in three different approaches: