Developing Custom Workflows for Project Portfolio Management

Location: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Industry: Higher Education & Research

Project Summary

The client is a large education and research university that offers scientific, technical, and management education. The university also manages several undergraduate colleges that offer electrical, mechanical, industrial management, and computer engineering degrees. The expansion in the scope of education, research, and collaborative projects put a strain on the client’s existing ICT (information and communication technology) processes. Being a fully serviced and forward-looking institution, the client has several on-going projects that need the implementation of an integrated project & portfolio management solution.


With a significant increase in the number of projects across the university’s undergraduate colleges and post-graduate school, the client felt the need to adopt an integrated portfolio management solution. The client chose to implement Microsoft Enterprise Project Management (MSEPM) 2013 solution for project and portfolio management at the ITC department of the university.


Allied Consultants implemented both custom as well as OOTB workflows in the MS Project Server 2013. The team developed a customized control called the ‘People Picker’ for the project sponsor field as it was not offered as an OOTB function in MS Project Server 2013.

People Picker allows the portfolio manager to assign tasks for particular projects and manage the flow of information to relevant people only. One way is to type the name and the contextual search feature helps to populate the names of project related people. Especially, the large organizations  face this issue when there are several employees with the same name. The people picker makes data entry easy that results in task assignment to the right person.

The project involved significant customization of forms and actual workflows. Although, the OOTB functions of the Project Server 2013 were swiftly implemented, the off-the-shelf solution (MEPM 2013) did not deliver any consolidated view of portfolio related document approvals, change request approvals and project closure approvals. This was overcome by developing custom libraries and controls such as:

This allowed the client’s portfolio managers to obtain an aerial view of their whole portfolio. Instead of visiting each project site, the portfolio managers just had to open one consolidated window that now provided an overview of all projects where all documents/artifact status was listed along with risks and issues. Following is a screenshot of the customized controls. A separate central library was developed for all documents for which client required a consolidated view. Customized central libraries were developed for:

The customized libraries for each category fetched the relevant information from each project site. Following are the screenshots of customized workloads.


The major benefits of developing customized workflows & controls in Project Server 2013 were:

Allied Consultants also implemented the BI (Business Intelligence) module of this project. The BI solution for the client’s portfolio management needs shall be covered in another case study.

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