No-Code Mobile Apps Provide Right-Fit Functionality for Projects, Without the Overhead

As more and more organizations look to mobile apps to distribute enterprise business application functionality to their employees, they face an all new challenge. Enterprise mobile apps are seemingly simple, yet often require more development effort than their desktop/laptop counterparts: functionality, UX, platform support, and integration with secure data sources can add up to much more time than any organization can afford. Gartner anticipates that by the end of 2017, market demand for mobile app development will grow five times faster than IT organizations can deliver them.

The alternative has usually been relying on enterprise software vendors to provide pre-built mobile applications for the organization’s users. The problem there is that each organization has its own unique preferences, business rules, and priorities. What makes mobile apps effective is often their simplicity, and it’s unlikely that an organization will find an off-the-shelf app that caters to every single item on their wish list.

But a new approach to software development, low-code platforms, creates an opportunity for organizations to create their own software with little or no coding expertise. As Fortune reports, “opening an app’s development to the non-techies who need the app removes misunderstandings between the IT department and other employees about what the end user needs”. Allowing the user to play a role in developing the app can greatly reduce development time and also ensure that the app fills the appropriate need for any given organization.

Considering the McKinsey estimate that 9 out of 10 large-scale projects face cost overruns or delays, EcoSys understands that improving project performance means improving connections and communication, and that in turn means effective mobile apps. Our Mobile Application Platform is designed so that specific business needs can be met with no “programming” involved, no data integration effort, and no need for updates. Time to release an app takes days instead of weeks. The only real effort involved is deciding what the app should do.

EcoSys CTO Noah Parker says the mobile app platform is really just a logical continuation of what EcoSys EPC has already enabled. “We want business users to be able to independently create right-fit workflows with easy interfaces. It’s good for our customers because they get exactly what they need, and it’s good for us because we can focus on producing new capabilities.”

4 Persistent Myths About Earned Value Management

Myths are great material for the movie screen. The lost kingdom of Atlantis, bloodthirsty vampires, or fire-breathing dragons: these are all the “good” kind of myth and will fill theaters. Of course, everyone usually knows that these myths are just that. The danger is when myths are confused with reality.

When large amounts of money, reputations, and even careers are at stake – such as in the execution of large-scale projects – risk aversion can easily blur the line with fear, and fear is where the “bad” kind of myth can take hold. Even when large-scale projects are failing at an unacceptable rate, change of any kind is intimidating, and the various myths that pervade business thinking can hold back progress.

Consider Earned Value Management (EVM) as an example. It’s proven time and again to be a highly effective forecasting tool, it makes for clear visualization of progress, and it reliably leads to better scope definition. So why isn’t it more widely adopted? Let’s debunk four myths about EVM.

It’s too complicated! Probably the most rampant misunderstanding about EVM is that it is synonymous with the EIA-748 guidelines for compliance with large US government contracts. Interested parties assume that EVM requires a complex and rigid set of processes for all projects, and so they avoid implementing EVM altogether.

Reality: EVM is a highly adaptable methodology. Outside of projects where the EIA-748 guidelines are specifically mandated, the level of effort applied can be tailored to fit the needs of a project. An organization can – and should – apply entirely different EVM processes to the construction of a power plant and a maintenance shed. Apply vigilance where it’s needed.

It’s too costly! The overhead expense – in both financial and labor resources – stemming from the implementation of an EVM system is an understandable concern for any kind of organization. Undertaking an added (and potentially very costly) expense for performance measurement is often looked upon as an unwelcome additional cost, rather than an investment leading toward cost reduction.

Reality: An entry-level EVM process can leverage information provided by systems most organizations already use for project management and project controls. If you can provide a well-defined scope, a linear time-phased budget, and actual costs, then you require no additional investment to get started.

It’s not sustainable! Again, the requirements of an EIA-748 compliant system imply a laborious level of detail that must be recorded and tracked to ensure an accurate measure of earned value. Organizations new to EVM, or with immature processes, would find this level of detail very burdensome. An EVM system relies on employees to accurately indicate times of productivity to measure progress. Within this data capturing struggle, many find themselves in a minefield of information, having to record data from different sources. Human error becomes a greater risk with this type of reporting.

Reality: At the most basic level, progress measurement can be captured as a basic percent complete from each person responsible for their part of the work. While it is subjective and vulnerable to those notorious “stuck at 99%” situations, it’s an easy way to wade into EVM with no additional work required in the project planning.

It’s not accessible! Another obstacle voiced by many is the unfamiliar terminology and formulas necessary to execute Earned Value (EV) metrics, making it difficult to train employees and difficult to translate findings for executive consumption.

Reality: The workers assigned to specific EVM calculations need only learn a handful of terms, and the formulas in question involve rudimentary math. “How much did we do?” compared to “How much did we think we would do?” is the fundamental question EVM asks. The answer translates quite easily into more descriptive “productivity” language, which is sufficient to capture the attention of stakeholders.

With even the most rudimentary implementation of EVM, organizations can achieve a number of benefits, including comparison against performance baselines, better forecasting, and scenario impact analysis, to name a few. It is a highly flexible, highly adaptable approach to project controls that can lead directly to improvement over time. To achieve the best performance, don’t rely on anecdotes. Do the research. EVM is legitimate.

For more information on implementing EVM that best fits your organizational needs, please refer to our white paper, “Adopting Right-Sized EVM to Drive Project Performance.”