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Case Study: Keeping Project & Portfolio Management Running Smoothly for Celgene

In the world of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, smooth launches of new therapies and drugs are extremely important. A mistake or delay can easily cost a company millions in sales – and much worse, negatively impact the lives and well-being of patients.

With such high stakes, companies like New Jersey-based Celgene require the absolute tops in project and portfolio management to keep efforts running smoothly. To serve the needs of cancer and inflammatory disorder patients worldwide, they need the best people, the best processes and the best technology. Fortunately, they appear to have found all three.

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Sarosh Effendi, Pharm.D., is Celgene’s Senior Manager for Portfolio Operations. He’s primarily responsible for portfolio reporting – updating both management and employees on the status of development and approval projects. Additionally, he’s tasked with ensuring the data integrity and accuracy of the Celgene portfolio. Neither is a small task at a growing biotech company with some three dozen project managers and more than $6 billion in annual revenue, but Effendi and the rest of the Celgene PMO have found the solutions they need to succeed.

Until a few years ago, individual project managers stored their respective project plans on
their own hard disks. When they needed to present the plan or share information in an easy-to-consume format, they drew Gantt charts and timeline summaries by hand in PowerPoint. Seeing portfolio-wide information was difficult, and the lack of a proper data visualization solution was costing PMs hours of valuable time. There had to be a better way.

There was. Celgene migrated project data to Microsoft Project Server, a centralized project portfolio management (PPM) solution added on to the SharePoint platform. Seeking to improve reporting efficiency, Portfolio Operations Executive Director Anne Clewell, MBA PMP, spearheaded the efforts to bring on OnePager, an integrated Gantt chart creation and customization solution. The results have been impressive.

"In terms of project and portfolio management, we’ve made two leaps in the last few years. The first was getting data onto the server; that’s given us one source for portfolio reporting. The other was bringing in OnePager, which has significantly increased our capabilities for creating accurate timeline views from a variety of data sources."
- Sarosh Effendi, Pharm.D., Senior Manager for Portfolio Operations at Celgene

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Meeting the Needs of Different Audiences

Different stakeholders within the Celgene organization have different needs when it comes to portfolio data. Thanks to the new server methodology and OnePager, Effendi and his team can provide just about anyone with just about anything they need.

Scheduled reports go to various governance committees each month like clockwork. Different therapeutic areas receive project reports containing only their data. Ad hoc portfolio summaries and granular reports can be created in minutes, rather than hours. And individual project and program mangers can use OnePager to summarize and deliver any information they need as they oversee the drug development process.

OnePager project timeline graphics are clear and easily understood, no matter the background of the viewer. There’s no need to interpret hundreds or thousands of lines in Microsoft Project or Excel; the status of the project is easily ascertained. Extraneous data is left out, and what’s included can be styled to meet the preferences of the audience.

"OnePager is very versatile in terms of addressing any aspect of visual aesthetics," Effendi said. "One executive called a summary timeline ‘precise and presentable.’ Even more important, though, is OnePager’s focus on data integrity. You can always trust it. You can’t accidentally manually override source data. You can move a swimlane or row vertically, but not horizontally. There’s essentially no way to depict an incorrect timeline based on visual editing."

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Combining Multiple Data Sources

At an organization as large as Celgene, it’s inevitable that multiple project management systems will be in use. To account for this, the portfolio management group has deployed both versions of OnePager – one directly integrated with Microsoft Project, the other with Excel. By leveraging the industry-standard integration capabilities of these solutions, Celgene’s portfolio management team is able to tap nearly any source, without worrying about data integrity or normalization.

"OnePager isn’t a database. It’s an accurate reporting tool," Effendi said. "That’s key. If users think creatively, they can combine multiple reports with unique attributes to throw some really powerful things together. It’s great at collating all the portfolio information together for us, and producing actionable, understandable finished products."

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About OnePager

Developed and sold by Colorado-based Chronicle Graphics, OnePager is the timeline presentation software solution that empowers project managers to turn project files and spreadsheets into beautiful summary graphics in seconds. No matter the size of a project or the application used to create the original plan, OnePager turns real data into concise, instantly understandable visual project plans, suitable for PowerPoint presentations, emails, web pages, wall charts and more. Want to be a project management superhero? OnePager makes it possible. Click here to start your free 15-day trial today.

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