Mission Control Portfolio Management GanttAprika has announced the latest release of Mission Control. Version 1.65 of the Salesforce base PSA solution adds many new features, the key part of which is Portfolios.

Portfolios add another layer to the hierarchy of Mission Control, which now includes Portfolio, Program, Project, Phase, Milestone, Action, and Checklist Item. The improvement resulted from customer demand and indicated the growing size of Mission Control customers. Colin Johnson explained the new feature to Enterprise Times, saying.

Colin Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO of Aprika
Colin Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO of Aprika

“The portfolio is adding that extra layer of being able to manage more complex programmes of work. Portfolios is the main new feature. We’ve added a lot of productivity and scalability enhancements and other features within the system, really just factoring in customer feedback. We see customers use it in various ways. While we focus on professional services, it’s a very, very horizontal solution used by clients in many industries. We’ve enhanced the productivity of these features to help them maximise their use of the tool.”

Users can add programs and projects to portfolios, though they can only belong to one portfolio. The update includes the ability to view related projects and programs within a portfolio, enabling users to see the connections between them. There are also enhancements to dependencies, including cross-project dependencies and the addition of phase dependencies.

The addition of portfolios has led to several other related improvements. Gantt charts now support both programs and portfolios. The PDF/PNG export of the Gantt chart will also include portfolios.

Other enhancements

Johnson also highlights some of the other improvements in the release, noting that improvements to productivity and scalability were included. He stated, “From a productivity point of view, we looked at existing features that are heavily used by customers and made it far more productive to use them. For example, inline editing of multiple records within the Create Actions page.

“We’ve added several enhancements to the resource planning tool that we refer to as the scheduler, like the visibility of actions and the hours assigned to them. You can see a heat map on the same page as the actual work that’s assigned. On scalability and optimization, we can cater to larger volumes of data we’re seeing.”

There are also several other minor updates and fixes in 1.65. Customers can upgrade to the new release manually from the 22nd of September. On the 30th of September, 1.65 will roll out across Sandbox orgs and on the 7th of October, it will automatically update production.

In the future

In the future, Mission Control will further enhance portfolios. Johnson believes that these will be driven by customer demand. Still, he believes it will include the provision of a status report for portfolios, similar to what the solution already has for projects. Other things on the roadmap include integration to Slack.

Enterprise Times also asked Johnson what users can expect in 1.66. The Assignment Wizard, originally slated for this release, was deferred to 1.66 as the team focused on portfolios. Johnson explained this feature, noting, “Rather than having to go through and work out which resources from your team are the most suitable, the most available, the most proficient, you’ll be able to run an entire project through a set up an auto-assignment process. That will factor in things like your team membership, your skill set, your skill proficiency, and your capacity.

“You’ll be able to apply different weightings. For example, you might prioritise skill sets over team membership or capacity. You’ll either be able to have a recommendation of who you should assign it to, or you can automatically assign it. It’s going to be far more efficient for people who are trying to resource large pieces of work when they have a large pool of resources to pick from.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Adding Portfolios to Mission Control indicates the size of the customer the software supports. While this is not a fully functional strategic portfolio management solution, it is a first step. It will be interesting to see how Mission Control develops it in the future and how customer requests steer it.

Mission Control launches phases and rate cards in latest release



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