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PM3 elevates Whitbread’s Project Portfolio Management to five-star status

Premier Inn owner Whitbread plc has centralised data to run consistent projects using PM3 Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software by BestOutcome, which is now part of Elecosoft.  

PM3 has enabled Whitbread to:  

  •  Achieve a single source of truth across all its projects
  • Gain an end-to-end view of its annual IT work plan  
  • Report on project progress at a high level and in granular detail  
  • Internally configure its PPM processes to meet the company’s needs 

“We now have one source of truth.”  

Whitbread plc, the owners of Premier Inn, the UK’s biggest hotel brand, must maintain consistent standards across its projects. The company is responsible for over 1,700 hotels with 83,500 rooms, serving more than five million customers monthly.  

Historically, Whitbread used spreadsheets and basic planning and reporting tools for project and portfolio management (PPM). Milestone planning was manual, as project information was frequently stored across multiple systems.  With PM3, project information was centralised in order to run a cohesive annual IT work plan. 

“Before we used PM3, project records were in a number of different places. We now have one source of the truth.” 

– Lynne Clark, PMO Portfolio Reporting Manager, Whitbread 

“PM3 is an intuitive PPM tool.” 

Recognising that some of its workforce would feel apprehensive about change, Whitbread began the transition to PM3 by getting buy-in from its Project Management Officer (PMO) team.  

BestOutcome provided extensive training to familiarise PMOs with the new PPM system – starting with PM3 overview sessions to show them what the software was capable of. 

“PM3 is an intuitive PPM tool, and this helped with the onboarding progress.”  

To embed PM3 in company workflows, project managers received a weekly email during the onboarding process, reminding them to update PM3 each week.  

Whitbread then ran a weekly report to see which projects hadn’t been updated in PM3 so they could chase the relevant team members. If a project manager missed more than two consecutive weeks, the issue was escalated to their line manager or programme manager to ensure they caught up. 

“It’s easy to configure.” 

Whitbread initially focused on PM3’s stage gates, governance reports, and traffic light reports to simplify the deployment process.  

The PMO team began using BestOutcome’s vanilla configuration, which it tweaked to fit their specific requirements at a later stage.  

“What helped our implementation was that BestOutcome PM3 comes with an initial configuration that can be tailored. It’s easy to configure, so we tweaked it ourselves.”  

“It doesn’t take a huge amount of time to complete reports.” 

Whitbread now has a PMO Manager supporting each major programme, and it’s their responsibility to: 

  • Guide new recruits through the Project Portfolio Management (PPM) onboarding process 
  • Track high-level milestones and their dependencies in PM3 
  • Manage risks and issues within the system (which Lynne says is “a very straightforward process”)  
  • Provide progress updates with RAG Status 
  • Manage stage gates – only administrators can close stage gate milestones to avoid governance issues  

The company also analyses its performance using the out-of-the-box reports provided in PM3. Automated reports are sent every week to delivery managers and stakeholders. 

“It doesn’t take a huge amount of time for the Project Managers to complete their reports as PM3 is very intuitive.”  

BestOutcome PM3 reporting

Summary level and portfolio reporting is run through PM3BI, which integrates with PM3’s back end and queries the data. The Whitbread team can then produce Excel reports using the data provided by the software.  

“Our Excel/PM3BI linked reports are all created, so it’s just a case of refreshing the data to ensure the latest updates are pulling through from PM3.” 

Whitbread’s reporting suite includes a risks/issues dashboard with multiple reports built underneath, plus a dependency dashboard to drill down into the details of specific dependencies.  

The company regularly meets with BestOutcome’s PM3 team to receive updates on future releases, continually expanding its PPM functionality.  

“We have an end-to-end view of our annual IT work plan.” 

For Whitbread, the most significant benefit of using PM3 PPM is a central, accurate data source. Project managers can now extract data through a single piece of software and easily report on their progress.  

“We have an end-to-end view of our annual IT work plan, and the functionality in PM3 allows us to successfully manage the delivery of all these projects.”  

And while the PM3 customer support team are always on hand to answer queries, Whitbread values how intuitively it can operate BestOutcome PPM software. 

“One of the most useful things about PM3 is that we have the ability to configure the application ourselves. We don’t need to keep requesting changes.”  

Try the only outcomes-driven PPM software in your company: book your PM3 demo today.  

 

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