HealthNow New York Inc. is a premier and diversified health benefits and information company that provides innovative products, services, and technologies to improve the availability, quality, and cost of health care. Since 1936, it has been a pioneer in providing quality health care services to companies and individuals in the region. HealthNow New York, provides the full spectrum of health care services and innovative funding arrangements. Product offerings are enhanced by value added healthcare services.

Case Study

HealthNow® is a leading healthcare company in the Northeast United States. Since the early 1900s, HealthNow®, Inc. has been a pioneer in providing quality healthcare services to companies and individuals in the region. HealthNow® provides a full spectrum of innovative healthcare products and services. The company has always had an outstanding reputation for products, services, and member satisfaction. It has been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) with an “Excellent” rating.

Recent high visibility failures in the Program Management Office to meet project timelines and budgets on large scale initiatives had brought about an increased awareness, at the corporate level, of the need for more mature and capable organizational project management.

In the pursuit of organizational project management excellence, HealthNow® contacted Triple Constraint and initiated an Organizational Project Management Maturity (OPM3) Assessment to evaluate its state of project management maturity. An OPM3® ProductSuite Desk Assessment was conducted covering all standard Organizational Project Management Domains and Organizational Enablers.

The OPM3 ProductSuite® Desk Assessment revealed that HealthNow® had made strides in the last 18 months to bring some order to the chaotic project management environment. Through the establishment of the PMO, Project Governance Board (PGB), and a few formal project management processes and templates, HealthNow® was more mature in project management practice than in previous years.

However, the organization continued to suffer from common project pipeline problems inherent in a multi-project environment. The incomplete implementation of project management processes and governing bodies had not mitigated poor project prioritization and resource contention: Poor prioritization of project work and resources results in an overloaded project pipeline, overstretched resources, missed deadlines, with an insufficient focus on quality. Resource contention causes project disruptions, poor project quality, and poor project execution. The effects of resource contention cascade throughout and across the enterprise (multiple SBUs).

The Project Management Assessment findings revealed that the organizational structure was not sufficient in supporting the project management environment, specifically in IT. Resources working on projects were not protected from non-project distractions (e.g. Small Change Requests, Bug Fixes, other projects, etc.) Resources can and should be able to work on multiple projects at one time, however it is imperative that resources not be assigned multiple tasks at one time (putting their allocation over 100%).

Project prioritization was not feasible at HealthNow® without a published list of strategic objectives that the entire organization saw and understood. There was no 2012 Strategic Plan that had been completed, institutionalized, and understood by the organization. HealthNow ® also had not developed SBU-focused tactical plans that laid out a roadmap for how and when the strategic objectives would be developed along with a resource plan to support it.

Assessment Findings also revealed that there was a lack of formal governance over the entry of projects into the project pipeline. Many projects entered the project pipeline without due diligence or recognition of resource limitations. The problem was so extreme that, from an SBU viewpoint, project management processes only seem to exacerbate the poor project execution.

There was a governing body at HealthNow® that oversaw the initial approval of projects called the Project Governance Board (PGB). However the PGB was not formally chartered with procedures driving its activities (as well as inputs, process steps, and outputs). It was viewed by project management personnel as an “open gate”.

Organizational project management processes consisted primarily of flow charts with limited Step-Action definition. There was no overarching process framework for project work in the organization. The processes had been described as an “assembly of disparate templates and flowcharts”.

Triple Constraint developed an improvement roadmap with a number of key recommendations to HealthNow® in the categories of Process, People, Technology, and Governance. The improvements were essential in improving organizational project management meeting client needs to maintain the organization’s position as market leader.