ServiceNow recently announced the general availability of the Quebec Release. If you are an existing or prospective client and thinking about what ITBM has to offer in this version, then you are in the right place. We had been playing around with all the new features that ITBM has to offer to the customers in Quebec. We did the homework so that you do not have to.
Read along to check out the most important features for PPM in this release. I will shortly release the Agile and APM features in separate articles, so make sure to come back for the updates. Let's get started!
It's all about the roadmap!!
The Alignment workspace is finally here! And the first product in this workspace is the Roadmap Planning app (store app and is not backward compatible). We had seen many organizations and planners at different levels require a flexible way to plan and visualize their work.
Some typical use-cases below:
- A Portfolio Manager wants to manage a roadmap of all incoming demands coming from a particular business unit.
- A Product Owner wants to manage a roadmap of all the Epics belonging to his/her product.
- An Application Owner wants to manage a roadmap of all the investments for his/her Business Application.
In previous versions, based on the use-case, users would have to navigate to different screens to view the roadmap (CIO roadmap, Portfolio Planning Workbench, Investment Portal, Business Application Roadmap, etc). In most of the cases, the time-line view was read-only and didn't allow much control for the user. The Roadmap Planning app consolidates all the alternate pages and use cases and provides a single, highly configurable experience to roadmap planners.
Watch the below video from ServiceNow to see this in action.
As an admin, you can control which tables are allowed to be available for roadmap creation. Navigate to Alignment Planner Workspace --> Roadmap Preferences to create or update definitions.
!!Pro Tip!! Want your users to create a roadmap combining Epics and Projects? Then create a roadmap definition based on the Planned Task table. The current version doesn't allow to combine Projects and Demands in the same roadmap, hoping to see it in the next version of the app.
We got you covered for collaboration!
With most of the project teams working from home and remote locations, improving the project team productivity is more important than ever. This is where the PPM Collaboration plugin comes in.
After the initial set up is complete, the plugin allows to:
- Enable MS Teams or Slack Collaboration for each individual project (can be enabled only by the Project Manager).
- Team members are added to the MS Teams or Slack channel.
- As part of the Project team, receive Project Status notifications and Project update notifications. These notifications can be modified as required.
An alternate way to interact with PPM!
Virtual Agent for PPM: In Quebec, ServiceNow has released a pre-configured Virtual Agent conversation for PPM. As a Project Manager, you can access it from any of the Virtual Agent Integrations - MS Teams, Slack, Portal, etc (depending on how Virtual Agent has been rolled out in your organization).
Why this is important you ask?
Chatbots are quite common in a modern platform
and when designed well, provides a very intuitive option
for users to interact with the system.
We have worked with this feature in the platform related to ITBM and see a value in pursuing this forward. If you are interested in this topic and want to discuss it further, drop us a note.
The following topics are available OOB and can be enhanced/configured as needed.
Depending on what the user has chosen, VA returns the appropriate result back to the user.
Spread across different countries?
We got you covered for your local currencies!
In Paris, ServiceNow introduced PPM Multicurrency plugin. It is a great feature for organizations that are spread across multiple geographies, allowing them to manage Projects in the local currencies. In Quebec, this is now extended to Demands and Resource Plans too. There are multiple options to set this up:
Follow Functional Currency: In this option, Demand Currency will always be the same as the platform/functional currency. You could choose this option if you want all the demands are captured, planned, and approved centrally (a centrally managed PMO for example). The currency of the project itself can be chosen based on the region where the project is executed.
Drive Project Currency: The Demand manager can choose the local currency to manage the demand. When the demand is converted to a project, the project inherits the currency of the demand. This option would be mostly used in a distributed and siloed organizations where demands are managed and projects are executed locally.
Flexi Option: As the name suggests, this option provides the most flexibility. The Demand Manager can choose the local currency and the Project Manager can chose a completely different currency to manage the project. Consider this for a matrix organization where the demand and project execution locations are different.
Let's talk Projects!
Now let's talk about a number of smaller enhancements in the project space.
Detailed Status: There are times when you want to maintain the status of each task of a project. That provides a more granular level of maintaining the status of each packet of work execution - particularly useful if you delegate the management of individual tasks to the task assignees. The logic of these statuses is simple:
Green - If project task is more than 3 days (the offset is configurable) to due date
Yellow – If project task is 3 days (the offset is configurable) or less to planned end date
Red – If project task is past planned end date
Note that the individual statuses do not rollup to the parent - so it is up to the project manager to apply judgment when filling in the overall project status in the status reports. Also, the individual status of the task can be manually overridden if required.
Carry Over Description Field: In Quebec, the description field is now carried over from Idea to Demand and so on (customers used to implement this as a custom flow/BR and now this is OOB).
Project Calculation can now be set the Demand level. Check the Preferences tab of the Demand (for Demands of Type Projects).
Project and GRC Integration: If you want advanced risk assessment features in PPM or want to elevate project risks to the enterprise risk team, then this integration is for you. This integration allows you to perform:
- Advanced risk assessment
- Add risks from risk library
- Elevate to enterprise risk
- Provides Advanced risk dashboards
GRC Audit and PPM: GRC customers sometimes request the ability to manage resources and financials while managing audit engagements. This integration is yet another "better together" (Paris introduced customer project management for CSM) story of the platform. This integration provides a matured project management functionality for GRC customers.
The other way to look at this is to manage audit engagements as part of PPM programs and or PPM portfolios.
To create the project, first Validate and Plan the audit engagement and then Enable Advanced Planning.
After the project is created, expenses and resource can be planned and the project planned for execution.
It's all about our resources!
In Quebec, enhancements have been put in keeping the Resource Manager in mind. These smaller features (as explained below) improves the quality of work and helps the resource manager to be more productive while using the platform. Check the below overview.
Taking it to the next level - Applying Machine Learning to PPM!
Similarity solutions were introduced in Paris. Check my below blog where I explain how it works behind the scene.
Blog Predictive Intelligence Idea Portal
In Quebec, the Machine Learning Solutions have been enhanced to include description field of Demand and Projects. This means that if customers want to use the updated Similarity definitions, then customers have to retrain the model.