Portfolio Project Management

Are you struggling to find a repeatable way to…

  • gain consensus on the most valuable projects
  • allocate resources to the most valuable initiatives to support your strategy
  • ensure delivery in terms of time, quality, and budget
  • report statuses and summaries that are meaningful to executive management

In other words, are you struggling with Portfolio Project Management (PPM)? If so, you are not alone.

PPM is one of the most difficult management processes to “get right”. In fact, there is no “right” there are only degrees to which you may get closer to an ideal solution.

PPM solutions take many forms and success in this area is most highly dependent upon the…

  • …maturity of your organization and business processes
  • …value to which executive management holds for PPM
  • …amount of resources in positions dedicated to maintaining the related processes

You may have noticed the technology solution was not mentioned in the points above. It is a common misconception that success of PPM is dependent upon the technology; this is a myth sometimes perpetuated by firms trying to sell you a solution.

I will tell you a secret… there is no good technology solution for PPM …and we’ve had experience with all of them including SAP-PPM, Primavera Enterprise PPM, HP-PPM, Portfolio for Jira, CA-PPM, and Microsoft PPM to name a few.

Why is this? At a high level, PPM tries to align a resources that are creative and abstract, whether it be software developers or R&D scientists & engineers, with resources and processes focused on black and white finances, deadlines, and targeted ROI.  This is a hard task for the best humans to achieve never mind a software solution.

The products mentioned above are fine solutions, in-fact some are best-of-breed, the point is for PPM the notion, a technology solution is only as good as the people dedicated to using it, is never more relevant than in the area of PPM.

So how do you start implementing PPM or revamping your current processes? Start manual.

If you were the technology solution what would you do and how would you do it? In other words, first define the business processes. If you engage a PPM software vendor to facilitate this activity they may introduce a subjectivity that is not right for your business. The process of defining your business processes should be software agnostic.  It is true, once you have settled on a technology to assist with PPM, you will have to look for compromises that reduce software customization that can be harmful in the long-run however, it’s best to facilitate business process definition without a particular software in mind.

Once business processes are defined, see if you can introduce some of these processes manually to work out any kinks… hire temporary admin personnel to assist if needed, the cost will be far less than the cost of implementing a technology solution that fails.

Start writing business requirements for a software solution ensuring you have a dedicated cross-portfolio-project-managmentfunctional core team engaged in the process.

Ask PPM vendors to provide a presentation showing how there solution maps to your business requirements. Do NOT be dazzled by fancy reports but focus on how they plan to source the data for the reports; specifically what system provides the source data, what custom integrations are needed, and what data transformations would need to occur. Then sit back and ask, "Is it reasonable to think this can be achieved?".

Once you have settled on a software be sure to structure an implementation agreement with milestones and include a proof of concept phase using your own servers and equipment (not on their “sandbox”).

RoadmapMetrics has assisted clients in all of the actives above from concept to post go-live support. We offer flexible engagements that are customized to your needs.

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