What Does a PMO Do?

A Project Management Office (PMO) is a group or department within an organization that establishes and implements best practices and maintains standards for project management, planning, and execution. The PMO strives to standardize best practices and introduce economies of repetition in the execution of projects. It also is the source of documentation, guidance and performance metrics.

As a Project Portfolio Management Software company,  we just might be the world’s biggest fan of the PMO! We think methodical project management, planning, and execution is an absolute necessity for project success.

Inspired by research by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the infographic below contains a summary view of relevant facts and figures concerning the Project Management Office that support the importance of the PMO in your Project Portfolio.

The infographic includes information on:

  • Percentage of firms with PMOs
  • How greater PMO capability leads to greater performance
  • The average number of projects worked each year by organization size
  • Top five PMO priorities and challenges
  • The difference between low and high performers’ effectiveness
Source: PM Solutions, State of the PMO 2016 Research Report

Read our Definitive Guide to Project Portfolio Management to chart the course to more successful projects.

If you’re interested in learning about our solutions, contact us, or request a free demo.

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    Quick Take:

    • Emerging technologies can make your products and services obsolete
    • Digital Transformation (DX) means using current technologies to rework an organization’s products, processes, and strategies
    • The biggest trends driving Digital Transformation are:
      • Mobile technologies
      • Artificial Intelligence
      • Machine Learning
      • Internet of Things
      • Cloud Computing
    • You can utilize Project Portfolio Management (PPM) best practices to support your Digital Transformation goals and increase the chances of successfully leveraging not only the current new paradigms but future changes as well

    We Live in a Rapidly Advancing Technological Landscape

    We’re sure you understand how quickly technology is changing. What was impossible last year becomes commonplace this year. For example, let’s look at one fast-growing technology: the Internet of Things (IoT):

    • Worldwide technology spending on IoT is forecasted to attain a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.6% by 2022
    • Cellular IoT connections will reach $3.5 billion in 2023, with a CAGR of 30%
    • With mass adoption of 5G still a few years away, the market for IoT middleware will rise from $7.71B in 2019, to USD 22.36B by 2025, a CAGR of 19.72%

    Even if your organization is not in the IoT/5G space, chances are good that the availability of these evolving technologies will offer opportunities for organizations that shouldn’t be ignored. Like it or not, your organization must adapt to changing market forces. You must anticipate how emerging technologies could make your products and services obsolete.

    Embracing Digital Transformation is necessary for any business, nonprofit, or institution that seeks to survive into the future. Evolve or become extinct.

    This post focuses on the impact of global changes within the IT department, specifically the Project Portfolio Management process (PPM).

    What is Digital Transformation?

    Digital Transformation (DX) is the reworking of the products, processes, and strategies within an organization to leverage current technologies. Implementing DX requires the examination and reinvention of most, if not all, areas within an organization, from supply chain and workflow to employee skill sets and board-level discussions, to customer interactions and stakeholder value.

    Effectively implementing a Digital Transformation strategy enables an organization to better survive and compete as technology evolves in a constantly changing economic landscape.

    According to the MIT Center for Digital Business companies that have embraced digital transformation are 26% more profitable than their average industry competitors and enjoy a 12% higher market valuation.

    Gartner characterizes “top-performing businesses” as those that have already embarked on digital transformations or where digitization is built into their business model.

    What is Driving DX and What is its Impact?

    Wikipedia defines Digital Transformation as the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, by replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology. The major forces currently driving Digital Transformation evolution are:

    • Mobile technologies
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Machine Learning
    • Internet of Things
    • Cloud Computing

    These technologies have drastically changed how quickly customers can get information, thus altering their expectations of the quality of products and services from businesses and other organizations with whom they interact. Similarly, this same collection of digital tools has changed what employees and stakeholders (business partners and investors) expect from organizations.

    Why Do I Need to Take Action?

    The new digital normal has led to mounting pressure to deliver faster, better, cheaper on an increasing number of DX-focused initiatives as organizations scramble to maintain their competitive positioning. To help their companies compete in the new digital marketplace, CIOs are tasked with developing an increasing number of customer-facing applications and nimble platforms.

    At the same time, Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.1 trillion in 2021, an increase of 8.4% from 2020, according to the latest forecast by Gartner. Gartner also says the source of funds for new digital business initiatives will more frequently come from business departments outside IT and charged as a cost of revenue or cost of goods sold (COGS).

    Despite the potential growth in funding, CIOs are being asked to do more with less—and a lot of that “less” is going to maintain the status quo, not to digital transformation. As a result, IT resources are scarcer than ever.

    How Will This Benefit My Organization?

    Without a robust PPM methodology, organizations risk overwhelming their IT departments by investing in the wrong projects, failing to transform the business, and ultimately falling behind the competition or going out of business.

    Utilizing PPM best practices to support your Digital Transformation goals increases the chances of successfully leveraging the new paradigm by ensuring that your IT department is aligned with your corporate strategy.

    Project Portfolio Management Action Plan for DX

    The preceding may have increased your anxiety, but rest assured: There are ways your organization can use Project Portfolio Management to survive, and even thrive during the DX transformation.

    Here are three key areas of the Project Portfolio Management process to consider to ensure your DX strategy is successful without sacrificing delivery of ongoing projects.

    Project Selection

    Digital Transformation affects all areas of an organization, from sales and marketing to supply chain to management to HR. But its impact will probably be the biggest on your organization’s IT department. DX is likely to produce more IT resource requests from more stakeholders than ever before. Identifying which initiatives to select, approve, and fund remains a cornerstone of PPM best practices and is of paramount importance for managing DX initiatives. Project selection and prioritization will become even more important for DX projects.

    Key questions to challenge your current PPM process regarding growth in project requests include the following:

    • Does our project selection process support corporate guidelines concerning Transparency and Governance?
    • Who can request a project?
    • What is the method by which requests are submitted?
    • What information is gathered during the submission process?
    • How is this information stored?
    • Do we have quantitative measures in place to select DX initiatives?
    • How do we communicate when and why projects are/are not approved?

    Project Management

    Once the DX initiatives aligning with the portfolio goals and/or corporate strategy have been identified the next step is to successfully execute them.

    Digital Transformation will likely require new systems to be implemented, new skills to be utilized, and new methodologies to be deployed.

    Key questions to challenge your current PPM process regarding project management include the following:

    • Can the process scale to support the management of an increased number of active projects?
    • Do you have the capacity to deliver these projects in terms of skills, quantity, and availability?
    • How do you measure risk to both the project and the portfolio?
    • Does your process allow immediate understanding of the impact of each initiative on the entire portfolio?
    • Can you support stakeholders’ need for near real-time project metrics?

    Portfolio Results/Value Delivered

    Digital Transformation means that the successful execution of Projects, Programs, and Portfolios will be scrutinized by more areas of the organization than ever before, possibly increasing the pressure on IT to deliver on time. Providing results, value, and metrics will be vital to ensuring success and alignment across your organization.

    Key questions to challenge your current PPM reporting processes include the following:

    • Do your PPM analytics support corporate guidelines concerning Transparency and Governance?
    • Does your process measure the value delivered by the initiatives—as both a forecast and actuals?
    • Can all of the stakeholders access project, program, and portfolio level metrics?
    • Does IT need to deliver reports or are they accessible via self-service?
    • Is DX Worth the Investment?

    DX and Project Portfolio Management Success

    The Digital Transformation will continue to create winners and losers. There is mounting pressure to deliver on DX-focused initiatives as organizations scramble to maintain their competitive positioning. With an increased number of project requests generated by DX, it is vital that your PPM process allows the IT team to select the right projects, to successfully deliver projects, and to provide metrics to stakeholders across the enterprise.

    Selecting the proper initiatives aligned to corporate strategy and enabling stakeholders to understand the resulting value will position the PPM process and PMO function as the focus of this new paradigm.

    Projectric delivers to key decision makers across the enterprise portfolio-level KPIs and metrics via dashboards and graphs. We call this 360° view Portfolio Intelligence®; it is the transformation of project and program data into relevant, actionable information for making business decisions. This unparalleled insight provides assurance that your DX initiatives have the transparency and governance necessary for your business to quickly adapt and succeed.

    Interested in learning more? Contact us at info@Projectric.com or request a free demo.

     

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      Quick Take:

      • The adage that what gets measured, gets managed is only partly true
      • Determining what to measure is the first step, and tying these measures to outcomes is key
      • Evaluate your KPIs on a regular schedule to ensure the Project Portfolio is on course
      • Ask yourself (and your team) the question “what does success look like?”
      • Only measure things that are directly linked to outcomes
      • Evaluate the impact and likelihood of each measure to affect the project or the project portfolio positively or negatively
      • Key Performance Indicators can:
        • Provide objective evidence of progress towards achieving a desired result
        • Measure what is intended to be measured to help inform better decision making
        • Offer a comparison that gauges the degree of performance change over time
        • Track performance measures

      The famous management expert Peter Drucker has been quoted as saying, “What gets measured, gets managed.” You’ve probably heard this quote before, perhaps many times.

      Drucker never said it, but it somehow still rings true. Despite this advice, the important thing to realize is that just because you’re measuring it doesn’t automatically mean you’re managing it, and vice versa. It certainly doesn’t mean you’re measuring the right thing.

      Measuring something that doesn’t matter wastes everyone’s time and might end up making the project fail. Not measuring the right things will definitely put your project portfolio at risk.

      So how do you determine what should be measured? And how can you strike the right balance between under- and over-measuring?

      The best solution to these questions is to only measure things that are directly linked to outcomes. Ask yourself (and your team) the question “what does success look like?”  You might think this is a no, duh question, but you may be surprised how many differing answers there can be.

      Of course, success usually means the project delivered on its charter. It can be on-time, on-budget, and on-scope and still have been a terrible project to be part of. If your team is on salary, there’s higher likelihood that it was a tough slog to get that final outcome. Should you measure team satisfaction? If it is tied to productiveness, yes, you should.

      The first step in determining your metrics for success is to find out what to measure. Find the project activities or assets that most affect project outcomes. If they can be measured, they should be.

      The second step is to evaluate the impact and likelihood of each measure to affect the project or the project portfolio positively or negatively. Sometimes project managers have blinders on when it comes to how their project affects other projects in the portfolio. Every project is #1 for the PM. It’s difficult to do project prioritization if all the PM is looking at is his or her projects. You need some way to score and select the most impactful projects in a portfolio.

      This is where Project Portfolio Management (PPM) comes in.

      Key Performance Indicators

      The emperors of the Chinese Wei Dynasty (221-265 AD) may have been the first to use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) when they rated the performance of members of their family. But the KPI really took off in the 1990s when the first Balanced Scorecard was used.

      Simply put, KPIs are a set of quantifiable measurements used to gauge performance or progress of a business or program or project. KPIs must be specific and must clearly define or contribute to the goal of an effort. They also must be relevant, quantifiable, and outcome based. Good Project Portfolios evaluate KPIs often, perhaps quarterly, monthly, or even week by week. Such measurement can affect future project success by delivering a clearer understanding of past performance.

      KPI.org says organizations using Key Performance Indicators can:

      • Provide objective evidence of progress towards achieving a desired result
      • Measure what is intended to be measured to help inform better decision making
      • Offer a comparison that gauges the degree of performance change over time
      • Track performance measures such as:
        • Efficiency
        • Effectiveness
        • Quality
        • Timeliness
        • Governance
        • Compliance
        • Behaviors
        • Economics
        • Project performance
        • Personnel performance or resource utilization
      • Work most effectively when balanced between leading and lagging indicators

      KPIs and other metrics such as Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are important tools that can provide project and portfolio managers with an immediate understanding of how an organization’s project portfolio is performing.

      It’s up to management to decide which potential measures are KPIs. Depending on the organization, the KPIs for your project portfolio could be based on typical project concerns, such as:

      • Timeliness
      • Quality
      • Effectiveness

      Or they could be financially oriented, like:

      • Budget Variance
      • Planned Value
      • Cost Performance Index

      KPIs can also be built on customer measures like:

      • Customer Satisfaction
      • Customer Loyalty
      • Net Promoter Score

      There are myriad other important measures you can use to evaluate your portfolio. These measures should also be embedded in your project reports and dashboards that include project metrics or PPM metrics (for the whole project portfolio).

      The following KPIs and metrics should be part of your comprehensive project reporting.

      Operational Efficiency KPIs

      These metrics and KPIs measure resource utilization and team performance. Typically, this information is presented in a Gantt Chart or Reporting Dashboard.

      • Resource Allocation: Measures percentage of time spent by a single resource (or group of resources) over the project duration. Shows tasks completed by resource in certain time span. Resource productivity is measured and should be evaluated by the manager in charge of a project.
      • Project Effort: Measures time devoted to working on a project.
      • Project Churn: Measures projects that are on stand-by or have been forfeited over a period of time. Conveys changes in a project and how it will adjust and keep up with these changes. Eliminates excessive projects that might otherwise disrupt the balance of the project portfolio causing project churn.

      Execution KPIs

      These metrics illuminate project implementation and impact once projects are deployed for assessment. They reveal whether projects are successful and show costs accumulated during the project operation. These KPIs are usually presented via dashboard or report.

      • Project Success Rate: Measures rate of success or failure for a portfolio of projects based on time, budget, and fulfillment of requirements through delivery of expected results. This metric takes into consideration stakeholder satisfaction.
      • Budget Variance: Estimates costs included in the planning stage of the project. Computes or estimates via budgeted task cost, actual task cost and earned value.

      Business Value Delivered KPIs

      Business value metrics are used for measuring the expected value of projects. Projects rely on return value to determine if they are successful or not.

      • Customer Satisfaction: Measures customer satisfaction through both client and stakeholder feedback after the project is delivered.
      • Business Value Realized: Measures whether projects are properly selected and implemented at the proper time interval. Estimated benefits can be computed from the date of the project’s delivery. Measured benefits include revenue added, cost savings and customer satisfaction.

      Strategic Alignment KPIs

      Alignment KPIs measure whether projects are congruent with an organization’s objectives, target, and unit investments.

      • Percentage of Projects Aligned with Objectives: Measures the percentage of existing projects that are aligned with the business objective of a company.
      • Investment Class Targets: Estimates the investment made in a project through the following components: run, grow, and transform.
      • Business Unit Investment Targets:  Measure existing business units by setting targets for effort and cost. Once these investments are spent, it will be assessed against the two factors.

      What metrics are you using?  Any from these lists? Any to add?  Let us know!

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        Quick Take:

        • The way you and your team approach decision-making can affect team cohesion as well as the quality of the decision
        • Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software can provide the facts to support decision-making
        • When making decisions with a team choose inquiring over advocating
        • Follow a structured inquiry process rather than an advocacy process
        • Vital project information from your PPM helps ground your deliberations in reality
        • If you’re the leader, consider removing yourself from the decision-making process

        Decisions, decisions, decisions…

        Executives tend to think of decision-making as an event that happens at one moment in time.  But a decision within an organization is a process. Do you have a good decision-making process in your organization? Or, probably more importantly, within your team?

        Many organizations are making decisions without fully understanding the data at their fingertips. “Information reported on during a project’s life-cycle is not effectively analyzed against portfolio performance and consequently the impacts of decisions on the bottom line are often not fully understood,” states KPMG in a recent Project Management Survey.

        This lack of understanding of decisions’ impact of on the organization ramps up the pressure for decision-making to be better, faster, and more accurate. This is especially apparent in organizations operating in disrupted and rapidly changing landscapes, dominated by challenges of speed of integration.

        Here are some pointers to consider as you develop a stronger approach to decision-making. Included are methods for making data from your Project Portfolio Management solution actionable and integrating data-driven insights into a transparent, inquiry-based decision process.

        Abandon the Advocacy Process

        Decision-makers and influencers often use what is called the Advocacy Process, a technique used to represent, promote, or defend an interest or recommendation. The team gets together, team members throw out ideas, and then advocate for their ideas, defending them from the rest of the group. This process can embroil your team members in a passionate contest, pitching emotionally charged opinions  and perhaps resulting in an acrimonious, and perhaps hurtful, contest.

        Sometimes, groups within your organization will battle for their point of view or their portion of the budget to the point of gridlock. If everyone wants to plant their flag on something they can call their own, conflict can flare and become personal.

        While it’s good to ask your team for their ideas and opinions, advocacy can become gridlock.

        Embrace the Inquiry Process

        Rather than asking the team to brainstorm, try the Inquiry Process. In this process, team members consider a variety of options through an open exchange of fact-based ideas. They join together to analyze ideas and strive for consensus. This approach is more likely to lead to an agreement on the best course of action than plowing ahead with an emotional battle.

        The Inquiry Process is an idea-exchange method of decision-making. While debate and conflict during this process can be intense, it is never personal.

        Randy Hirokawa’s functional theory holds that groups are more likely to make better decisions when they follow structured inquiry processes in which they are encouraged to:

        • First thoroughly understand the problem, understanding the nature, severity, causes and consequences of the issue

        • Establish evaluation criteria by setting agreed-upon standards for an acceptable solution

        • Develop a range of alternatives that are realistic, acceptable and feasible

        • Assess the positive consequences of each alternative by developing in the team an awareness of and a focus on the merits of each option

        • Assess the negative consequences of each alternative by considering the potential disadvantages of each option

        How a PPM Solution Supports Inquiry Process

        Because it is in our nature as humans to become emotionally invested in our projects, we champion our projects and advocate for support without always understanding the bottom-line. “I built this thing and it’s my baby!” is often the mindset.

        According to the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the “centralized management of one or more portfolios that enable executive management to meet organizational goals and objectives through efficient decision making on portfolios, projects, programs and operations.”

        Project Portfolio Management can improve the inquiry process by providing information, visibility, and insight into the decisions you will make about projects in your organization. The rich nature of the data found in PPM software solutions makes it easier to ground your team’s decisions in fact. Your team can get answers from PPM such as, “Have we ever faced this problem before? What did we do then?” Or “What is the current practice across the organization for solving problems of this type?” Or even “What metrics can we use to prefer Solution A over Solution B?”

        Having fact-based discussions around possible solutions enables teams to base their deliberations in the reality of your organization and the current problem that needs solving.

        Understand Vital Project Information

        Any decision that revolves around a project can be improved by using vital project information derived from the Project Portfolio Management software solution. After all, project managers need to live in the real world. So, when making decisions about moving ahead with a project or reallocating resources, you must deliberate in an unbiased way using facts from your PPM.

        The Projectric PPM solution enhances your understanding of vital project information by determining:

        • Priority of the project for the organization: Projectric helps by performing project prioritization and scoring
        • Who is working on the project and their impact: Projectric quickly and easily helps you understand the resources available to allocate to a project
        • Whether the project is on track and on budget: Projectric can provide the real-time reporting you need to understand where your project stands

        PPM directly supports fact-based inquiry, which leads to Data Driven Decision (DDD) making.

        More Suggestions for Fact-Based Inquiry

        If you are the ultimate decision maker on a certain subject, consider removing yourself from deliberations. Instead, review your team’s findings and discussions, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses discussed. Cyrus The Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, was said to have praised “diversity in counsel, unity in command.” Consider your team’s input and count a PPM solution as part of your counsel.

        Beware of confirmation bias—if someone on your team feels strongly about one solution over another, have them evaluate the strengths of a solution they view as weaker. “Presented with someone else’s argument, we’re quite adept at spotting the weaknesses. Almost invariably, the positions we’re blind about are our own,” says Elizabeth Kolbert in her fascinating article on the limitations of human reason in The New Yorker Magazine.

        Explain Why You Made Your Decision

        Explaining why you choose one option over another will strengthen your rapport and your team’s solidarity.  Take the time to review how your decision differs from the views your team members may have presented. Reviewing data gathered from your PPM solution can uphold the integrity of your decision.

        Consider the insight of James Guszcza, Chief Data Scientist for Deloitte Consulting LLP:

        “I’ve noticed that working with models…can make us more human. Letting the model do what computers are good at—processing hundreds of pieces of information, consistently, in a computationally efficient way, at any time of day without getting tired—frees up humans to tap into their creativity and empathy, and to spend more time understanding context and nuance.”

        In other words, do not relinquish the human element of your decision; but do support the decision with data.

        Making Better Decisions

        Want to lead better decisions? Projectric can help.

        Ask for a demo or read this comprehensive post/guide about best practices for Project Portfolio Management.  You can contact us at info@Projectric.com.

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          Quick Take:

          • Use this process for any kind of software:
            • Ask yourself why to you need the software and make a list
            • Create a list of features that will answer the “whys”
            • Based on the feature list, research software providers
            • Select your top five
            • Do a side-by-side weighted comparison to rank providers

          Use a Criteria-Based Assessment to Evaluate Software Solutions

          Projectric recommends a five-step criteria-based assessment for evaluating any software solution. We’ll use the Projectric Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software solution as an example.

          The first step is to determine organizational needs that a software solution could meet.

          1) Ask yourself “Why Do We Need PPM?”

          Many organizations evaluating Project Portfolio Management software are seeking to:

          • Easily select the right projects
          • Organize projects
          • Track the budget and health of projects
          • Communicate about projects
          • Ensure that solutions are sustainable, maintainable, and usable

          Make sure you understand your organization’s needs thoroughly before moving to the next step.

          2) Decide which features you absolutely need in your solution

          Based on your “Why” list, describe the software functions you require to fulfill your goals. Create a list of features that you can use to check prospective software for fitness. You may want to establish a hierarchy of needs that you can use in a later step to score software candidates.

          The Software Sustainability Institute has a good white paper on this process.

          For our PPM exercise, let’s use these commonly desired PPM features:

          • Project Scoring (out-of-the-box)
          • Responsive Notification System
          • Project Health Tracker
          • Data Security Features
          • Automatic Updating Changes
          • Unlimited Users
          • Resource Scheduling
          • Issue Tracking
          • Analytics

          The intent of this stage is to identify your must-have and nice-to-have features. To do this, you should do a ranking exercise to produce a final list.

          3) Select your PPM software provider candidates

          The next step is to canvas your industry to select software solutions that meet the criteria you have established. In this phase, you’ll want to determine if candidates are likely to be long-term partners.

          You may want to do online searches, or ask your peer organizations, or solicit recommendations from industry analysts.

          4) Do a side-by-side weighted comparison

          Rank the various prospective solutions against your list of must-have features. Using the rankings, eliminate the low performers until you have a short list of three to five contenders (the fewer the better).

          Now you can concentrate on your short list and can do a more intensive review and ranking to illuminate how providers stack up. See this sample comparison chart and legend.

          You’ll want to take into account total cost of ownership including the upfront and hidden costs. You may also want to score

          Relevance
          How closely aligned with your problem space is the software being considered? Is the software made primarily for a particular industry or problem and if so, can it be made to work with your organization?

          Efficiency
          You may want to evaluate several demos of the software and the processes users will go through to achieve results.

          Effectiveness
          How likely will you be able to achieve your most important objectives? How easy is it for users to use the software?

          Impact
          Try to forecast how the software will affect your current workflow and outcomes. Try to determine potential positive and negative effects. Will the software require substantial changes in the way your organization does things?

          Sustainability
          How sustainable is the solution? Could you see your organization using this software for the next 5, 10, or 20 years?

          The Decision

          From your final analysis, you should have enough data to make your final selection. We wish you the best of luck!

          If you’d like to evaluate Projectric’s solution, schedule a demo or contact us today to see how Projectric can illuminate your project portfolio.  

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            Quick Take:

            • 750 million users of Excel worldwide
            • Excel has some pluses: ease of use, availability, flexibility, and cost
            • Spreadsheets have their place, but managing a portfolio of projects effectively is not one of them
            • Project Portfolio Management (PPM) requires a governance model and controls with an integrated workflow
            • Projectric Project Portfolio Management software avoids all the negatives of not only spreadsheets, but also of overly-complex, feature-heavy PPM solutions

            Excel Conquered the World

            Microsoft estimates there are 750 million users of Excel worldwide. And it is no wonder—spreadsheets are a handy tool. But is Excel where you should be managing projects and project portfolios?

            We think the answer is a hard no!

            There are so many reasons, it’s hard to know where to start to delineate them. But first, let’s examine Excel as a project management platform.

            Benefits of Spreadsheets for Project Portfolio Management

            Spreadsheets are the project tracking and project portfolio management tool of choice for many organizations because of:

            • Ease of Use—Most business people already know how to create spreadsheets or could learn very quickly.
            • Availability—Spreadsheet applications are on almost every laptop and PC, just a click away. As a result, they have become a standard form of communication for business.
            • Flexibility—Spreadsheets allow non-technical people to do things they never thought possible without learning a programming language.
            • Cost—Because spreadsheets are typically already installed on most laptops and PCs, and creating a spreadsheet can be very fast and easy, they have very low start-up costs, if any.

            Spreadsheets offer a very quick, adaptable and inexpensive way to create a project inventory list from scratch. From there, it’s an easy step to grow the use of spreadsheets to try to manage projects. You can create spreadsheets of your project backlog, spreadsheets of active projects, and spreadsheets of finished projects.

            It doesn’t stop there. You can also create additional spreadsheets for resource lists with availability projections and spreadsheets of project plans. Some project managers even create project scope statements and other documents in spreadsheets.

            It’s easy to see why many project managers run their projects with Excel.

            How To Manage Project Portfolios With Spreadsheets

            In many organizations, projects are organized into Project Portfolios. A benefit of this technique is generally an improvement in the organization’s ability to monitor and guide projects. Portfolios are often managed with applications that are known as Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software.

            Implementing PPM on spreadsheets generally means you’ll be creating multiple spreadsheets, perhaps dozens or hundreds if your organization is large. Once lots of project spreadsheets have been created, the issue becomes how to update the information they contain. The information needs for decision-making frequently change as the project progresses through the lifecycle. For example, while the project is still in the pipeline—pre-launch—it is important for project managers to prioritize when projects are ready to launch. PMs must understand project alignment characteristics, value, the requested due date, and the estimated start date. And change all of these values manually.

            This can result in cascading changes in current and backlog project spreadsheets.

            Once the project is initiated, the PM’s overarching concern is each project’s health, progress, and likely finish date. These pieces of information require manual changes to the relevant spreadsheets.

            Certain functions in the project decision process do not lend themselves to a project list format. Thus, more spreadsheets are required. For example, if a scoring model is used for value assessment, this  typically requires a different spreadsheet with different requirements.

            Spreadsheet growth can also be driven by resource availability tables which typically need to be viewed both by resource and by project.

            True Project Portfolio Management requires a governance model featuring controls and an integrated workflow. Having a defined process with decision points and requirements for movement from one stage to the next allows an organization to remain in control, be consistent, and make improvements.

            Spreadsheets were never designed to be able to implement a workflow, although a spreadsheet guru might be able to do so. However, this is rarely done for a PPM implementation due to the large amount of manual effort required. Even if your spreadsheet guru is up to the task, is this really worth the effort and time to maintain?

            All changes are manually entered or altered. That’s a big problem in spreadsheet project management.

            Hidden Costs of Project Portfolio Management by Spreadsheets

            Many costs associated with spreadsheets are not initially apparent. The large number of spreadsheets, the difficulty to collaborate and share information from these spreadsheets, and the fact that spreadsheets were not designed for certain PPM functions all drive up personnel and other costs. The resulting hidden costs include:

            1. Wasted Time

            Spreadsheet users waste hours of time consolidating information from multiple spreadsheets and transferring selected information from one spreadsheet to another. Individual users also waste time trying to perfect their own view by resizing columns and rows, justifying text, and many other beautification activities that really don’t add value.

            With multiple spreadsheets and duplicative data, personnel waste time looking for and correcting inaccuracies in the data. Or worse, these inaccuracies never get corrected and create a risk to the organization.

            Often time is wasted when the spreadsheet builder has to explain the intricacies of their work so others can use it. This is further hindered by the differing skill levels of spreadsheet users. And, given the creators are constantly modifying their work, there is a constant need to explain the changes.

            2. Inefficiencies

            Inefficiencies from spreadsheets occur in multiple areas. The preferred method of communicating spreadsheet information is usually to email them to others. In some cases, this is completed instantaneously; however, in other instances, there is a delay between when the spreadsheet was emailed and when it was opened. This leads to delays in work and decisions, and as a result, the information needed might not be available to a person when they need it.

            Emailing spreadsheets also leads to the potential for multiple versions of the same spreadsheet being updated independently and creating more inefficiencies due to duplication of effort.

            The need for special reporting can cause another inefficiency when personnel want to see a subset of the information in the main spreadsheets. This requires generating special views that can be communicated. This practice spawns even more spreadsheet versions.

            Without careful governance, massive PPM spreadsheets can be created over time without considering the value of the additional data or the potential of causing data overload. More data does not always lead to better decisions. Often it leads to paralysis or “minertia”—being so bogged down by minutia that you can’t make any real progress.

            Along the same lines, spreadsheets have so many powerful data manipulation features there’s a risk of over-analysis of the information, for example, creating new filters and generating pivot tables of data that don’t enhance the understanding of current status.

            3. Risks

            Spreadsheets can lead to higher risks for data security. Since spreadsheets are quite portable, it can be very difficult to control who has access to them both internally and externally. It is too easy to intentionally or accidentally send a spreadsheet to a destination outside of an organization’s control. Having copies of spreadsheets and data in multiple hands only compounds the potential risk.

            There is a potential risk of making a bad decision as a result of the data inaccuracies that manual management of the data often introduce.

            Productivity Beyond Spreadsheets

            Spreadsheets are a valuable tool and a great place to start at the beginning of a PPM initiative. They are a great personal productivity tool because of their availability, ease-of-use and flexibility. And, they will always play a part in PPM for certain types of reporting and analysis. However, they are not free of cost and can become a very expensive tool when used for a large-scale PPM solution.

            Given the potential costs and risks of using spreadsheets, it does not take much of a productivity gain to justify the cost of some of the more affordable PPM solutions on the market. If your employees waste as little as one hour per day with PPM spreadsheets, the costs can be substantial.

            It does not take much of a productivity gain to justify the cost of some of the more affordable PPM solutions on the market.

            If your employees waste as little as one hour per day with PPM spreadsheets, the costs can be substantial.

            For example, let’s say you have 3 employees involved in PPM, they work an average of an hour a day, 200 days per year, and your hourly rate is $50. This adds up to $30,000 per year of wasted expense. For this amount of savings, you could easily get a 10X return on your investment in an affordable PPM solution.

            Keep Project Portfolio Management Simple

            The proliferation of spreadsheets for PPM is an indication that users have unfulfilled needs. But PMs might be resistant to an unfamiliar PPM solution and to having to abandon the more familiar spreadsheet.

            Spreadsheets might seem to be quick and easy, but as we’ve discussed, even these two advantages might not provide the advantage one would think. Any PPM solution is likely to be somewhat less quick and easy, at least at first; it is critical that the solution be uncomplicated and easy-to-learn. The solution should provide familiar spreadsheet-like views and not add unneeded complexity by over-automating the process.

            Many organizations have implemented a sophisticated, complicated PPM tool only to see their users fall back to the more familiar spreadsheets. If you want your PPM solution to be used by your organization, keep it simple and ensure it is used as an aid for the decision making that will increase the value delivered by your department to the organization.

            Projectric Advantages

            It won’t surprise you to know that Projectric Project Portfolio Management software avoids all the negatives of not only spreadsheets, but also of overly-complex, feature-heavy, expensive PPM solutions. It is simple, but very powerful.

            Projectric Project Portfolio Management enables organizations to more effectively accomplish:

            Let us show you what we mean. Request a live demo or email us at info@Projectric.com

            Request a Demo

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              Quick Take:

              • Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software can dramatically enhance the success rate of your organization’s projects
              • PPM software can forecast the success of your projects, provide your team with a centralized resource that enables visibility and insight, increase collaboration among your team, simplify the top-down management of project plans, and enable you to easily perform hindsight evaluation
              • Projectric provides a top-down, detailed view of your portfolios, programs, and projects in a comprehensive centralized platform

              Managing Portfolios

              Are you tasked with ensuring the success of your organization’s portfolio of projects? Do you find that often your projects finish late or over budget? Are you having trouble deciding where to invest your organization’s time, budget and staff?

              If you’re answering yes to any of these questions, it is time to introduce a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software solution into your organization.

              Intuitive and powerful PPM software will help you make sense of your organization’s full portfolio of projects and help ensure your success. With a PPM solution, you can stop guessing and start ensuring your projects are completed on time, within budget, and deliver ROI.

              Here are five ways a Project Portfolio Management software will make your more effective in your job:

              1. Forecast the success of your projects—Use customizable project scoring to align, prioritize, and select projects that achieve your organization’s strategic goals. Track workloads by resource and optimize by department or role. Perform what-if scenarios to forecast the outcomes of future projects.
              2. Provide your team with a centralized resource that enables visibility and insight into all project efforts, so you always remain on the same page and never miss a deadline again.
              3. Increase collaboration among your team—Clearly display valuable information via shareable dashboards and charts with customizable views. Use email notifications to instantly inform your team of project updates.
              4. Simplify the top-down management of project plans and issues so you can keep all projects across your portfolios on-time and on budget. Keep track of milestones that are coming due so your team never overlooks a deadline.
              5. Perform hindsight evaluation to assess the success of your efforts against your goals. Understand what types of projects are helping or hurting your bottom line so you can make better future decisions.

              Selecting a Project Portfolio Management Solution

              PPM solutions provide the visibility, control, and features needed to help your organization better manage projects and resources, and to be better equipped to meet future needs. Investing in a PPM software solution will enable you to meet the demands of your organization by laser focusing on the management of investments that deliver ROI.

              At Projectric, we provide a top-down, detailed view of your portfolios, programs, and projects in a centralized platform that delivers transparency across your organization. Using our signature Portfolio Intelligence methodology, you’ll analyze your initiatives throughout the project lifecycle—from proposal to completion.

              Our PPM solution will ensure your organization increases the value of the overall portfolio and meets strategic objectives across the enterprise—from IT to Operations to Finance to top management.

              Are you ready to better plan and execute on your portfolio of projects? Contact us today at info@projectric.com or request a live demo.

               

              Request a Demo

              Request a Trial

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                Quick Take:

                • Cloud-based Project Portfolio Management (PPM)
                • Dashboards, resource management, portfolio-level KPIs, and other tools to manage and track projects across your organization
                • Identifies the right projects for approval, allocates and manages resources, and provides insight
                • Forecasts the impact of your portfolio against strategic goals
                • Real time Portfolio “Health Analysis”

                Who is Projectric and How Can We Help You?

                Projectric is a cloud-based Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution that provides a top-down view of your entire portfolio of projects.

                Projectric enables you to quickly understand and track the status and impact of your projects so that your organization can function more efficiently using features such as:

                • Real-time project management dashboards
                • Resource management tools
                • Easy-to-understand charts
                • Customizable scoring settings

                An Overview of the Projectric Project Portfolio Management Solution

                In a business landscape that demands transformation and innovation at a rapid pace, organizations must automate processes, maintain existing IT infrastructure and oversee the roll-out and migration of new systems – or risk falling behind the competition.

                Managing IT Project Portfolios as a corporate asset requires more than just a project management tool.

                Projectric is a cloud-based PPM solution that identifies the right projects for approval, allocates and manages resources, and provides insight into these initiatives.

                Benefits

                • Manage the IT portfolio like an investment
                • Secure, enterprise-ready PPM delivers transparency and governance
                • Proactive management of the portfolio
                • Focus on value and portfolio goals
                • Support stakeholders throughout the organization

                Projectric Delivers Portfolio Intelligence

                Portfolio Intelligence is the transformation of project and program data into relevant, actionable information for making business decisions. Projectric presents portfolio-level KPIs and metrics via dashboards and graphs to key decision makers. This unparalleled insight provides assurance that your corporate initiatives have the transparency and governance necessary for your business to quickly adapt and succeed.

                Scoring

                Allows you to forecast the impact of your portfolio against strategic goals and to measure the actual impact.

                Dashboards

                Powerful reporting and graphical features provide transparency across the organization.

                Project Lifecycle

                Portfolio Intelligence’s signature lifecycle and workflow process organizes and guides projects through a tracking and decision making process from initial idea to finished work.

                Project Tagging

                Easily add metadata tags to your projects to support analysis and reporting.

                Cloud

                Simple to roll out, accessible anywhere.

                Notifications

                Let stakeholders know when key milestones are met, or timelines are in jeopardy before they are missed.

                Real Time Portfolio “Health Analysis”

                No longer need to use excel to see the progress of projects.

                Resource Tracking

                Gain insight into real-time resource utilization across all projects and programs in your portfolios.

                Issue Tracking

                Issues flagged across portfolio.

                Drill Down

                To the phase, task, or milestone level of any project in the portfolio.

                Security

                128 bit SSL encryption supports users across the organization.

                There it is – a list of our features.

                Try a demo or a trial today, or read our blog post that serves as a guide to best practices in Project Portfolio Management.  

                Request a Demo

                Request a Trial

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                  projectric logo for mobile

                  Who is Projectric and what are our key capabilities that will help you?

                  Projectric is a cloud-based Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution that provides a top-down view of your full portfolio of projects. With features such as real-time project management dashboards, resource management tools, easy-to-understand charts, and customizable scoring settings, Projectric enables you to quickly understand the status and impact of your projects so that your organization can function more efficiently.

                  An Overview of the Projectric Project Portfolio Management Solution

                  In a business landscape that demands transformation and innovation at a rapid pace, organizations must automate processes, maintain existing IT infrastructure and oversee the roll-out and migration of new systems – or risk falling behind the competition.

                  Managing Project Portfolios as an organizational asset requires much more than just a project management tool. You need to know more than just project status. To optimize your project management you need to know:

                  • Which projects are in trouble?
                  • What resources will be available when the next project starts?
                  • How to evaluate prospective projects and prioritize based on the value to your organization
                  • How to get a real-time portfolio health analysis via a comprehensive dashboard

                  Projectric, a cloud-based PPM solution, can answer these and many more Project Portfolio questions by identifying the right projects for approval, allocating and managing resources, and providing insight into these initiatives.

                  Benefits

                  The benefits of using Projectric for your Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution include:

                  • A secure, enterprise-ready PPM that delivers transparency and governance
                  • Managing the IT portfolio like an investment
                  • Proactive management of the portfolio
                  • A focus on value and portfolio goals
                  • Supporting stakeholders throughout the organization

                  Projectric Delivers Portfolio Intelligence

                  Portfolio Intelligence enables the transformation of project and program data into relevant, actionable information for making business decisions. Projectric delivers to key decision makers portfolio-level KPIs and metrics via dashboards and graphs, delivering unparalleled insight that assures your organization’s initiatives provide the transparency and governance necessary for your business to quickly adapt and succeed.

                  Scoring

                  Scoring enables your organization to focus on what projects and portfolios will deliver the maximum return on investment. To accomplish this, Projectric enables you to define scoring criteria, establish scoring weights, compare the various projects by their value to the organization, forecast the impact of your portfolio against strategic goals and to measure the actual impact. Scoring criteria should include strategic, financial, and risk categories. Once scoring is complete, your governance team can rank the projects and come to consensus on prioritizing them.

                  Dashboards

                  Projectric dashboards display real-time key performance indicators for all stakeholders. Using a dashboard, you can track overall performance and progress and highlight areas that need attention. Powerful reporting and graphical features provide transparency across the organization. Your dashboard might include:

                  • Progress reports
                  • Milestones
                  • Key metrics
                  • Task status for planning, design, development, and testing phases
                  • Team status
                  • Cost status
                  • Resource allocation

                  Project Lifecycle

                  Portfolio Intelligence’s signature lifecycle and workflow process organizes and guides projects through a tracking and decision making process from initial idea to finished work. You can manage and track project initiation, planning, execution, and closure.

                  Project Tagging

                  With Projectric, you can easily add metadata tags to your projects to support analysis and reporting. These tags can, for example, link your projects to departments, geographical locations, and other assets to make reporting easier.

                  Cloud

                  It is simple to roll Projectric out. No installation necessary and it’s accessible to your team anywhere.

                  Notifications

                  Projectric offers automated messages that can alert you when significant events take place. You may want to set notifications for when when key milestones are met, or when timelines are slipping, or when important dates are imminent.

                  Real Time Portfolio “Health Analysis”

                  Many organizations use tools such as Excel to track the progress of projects. Projectric has features that enable you to quickly determine the health of your projects or portfolios.

                  Resource Tracking

                  Projectric provides insight into real-time resource utilization across all projects and programs in your portfolios.

                  Issue Tracking

                  Issues are flagged across your portfolios.

                  Drill Down

                  Projectric enables you to easily and quickly drill down to the phase, task, or milestone level of any project in the portfolio.

                  Security

                  Projectric enables128 bit SSL encryption to secure usage across the organization.

                  Summary

                  There it is—a list of ways Projectric can help your organization succeed.

                  Try a demo today, or read our definitive guide to best practices in Project Portfolio Management.

                  Request a Demo

                  Request a Trial

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                    Quick Take:

                    • Project Managers (PMs) must deliver projects on-time while providing transparency and governance. However, today, PMs often are working with a set of tools ill-suited for the changing landscape.
                    • IT budgets have only risen slightly, but much of the IT portfolio has shifted from maintaining the infrastructure status quo to supporting expensive, broad, complex initiatives such as digital transformation
                    • PMs not only need to ensure that the proper projects are being approved, they are tasked with improving project management as well as providing reporting transparency and governance
                    • To survive and thrive, PMs should use an end-to-end Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software solution even if their focus is only at the project level
                    • Project Portfolio Management software helps PMs see all projects and emerging issues across a portfolio and provides the tools not only for planning now, but to forecast future needs

                    Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software tools can help advance careers and minimize stress for Project Managers (PM). Using PPM, a Project Manager can move from a facilitation role with limited organizational value to a management role with demonstrable impact towards achieving strategic goals.

                    Project Management Challenges

                    Project Managers must deliver IT projects on-time while providing transparency and governance to the organization. They must be able to answer requests from diverse lines of business such as:

                    • Which projects are approved and why?
                    • How will this program be staffed?
                    • Was this a successful project?
                    • Will we have the resources available for the project starting new quarter?

                    Today, Project Managers face these challenges with a set of tools ill-suited for the changing landscape. Manual processes are not scalable; Excel is not dynamic and can’t forecast; and standalone solutions are not integrated. It’s always been this way. Project Managers are increasingly tasked to do more with less, and this is expectation is even greater today, given the ever rising velocity of business.

                    Although IT budgets have only risen slightly, but the composition of the IT portfolio has shifted from fairly predictable programs designed to maintain the infrastructure status quo to programs supporting more-risky initiatives such as digital transformation. (See our post Is Your PPM Process Ready For The Digital Transformation? for more information.)

                    Project Managers need help to ensure the proper projects are being approved and that they are continuously improving project management practices, all the while providing the reporting transparency and governance needed to advance the organization.

                    The Solution: Project Portfolio Management (PPM)

                    So what is PPM software?

                    Project Portfolio Management software is typically a suite of tools designed to manage collections (portfolios) of projects, programs, or products, including current and future projects. A portfolio continuously optimizes the allocation, prioritization and scheduling of resources. PPM systems track the dependencies between projects and the enterprise to provide project managers and executives a global view.

                    Even if their focus is only at the project level, Project Managers can leverage the benefits of an end-to-end Project Portfolio Management solution. By utilizing a PPM solution to see all projects across a portfolio as well as emerging issues, the PM can take early corrective action that benefits the overall portfolio and thus the organization.

                    Additionally, a top-down view of resource utilization across projects allows the PM to proactively make adjustments and even solve multiple resource issues at once. Finally, PPM software can provide transparency on project performance. The intelligence capability PPM provides can be automated and distributed to the line of business via self-service reporting tools, allowing the PM more time to focus on managing the projects vs. delivering status reports.

                    A full-featured intuitive PPM tool can make a PM more effective using the following enhanced capabilities:

                    Project Approval

                    PPM software gives Project Managers the powerful tools PMs need to ensure that the project proposals presented for funding are selected using methodologies that are rigorous, transparent, and align with corporate strategies and portfolio goals

                    Timesheet Management

                    Use your PPM to maintain cost and expense data within a centralized solution that enables easy input via web-based templates.

                    Resource Allocation

                    PPM provides top-down views of project status and milestone tracking enabling PMs to manage initiatives with the portfolio view in mind.  There’s more about Resource Allocation in this blog post.

                    Top-Down Reporting

                    PPM software enables PM to quickly access all relevant data—from project selection criteria to actual vs budgeted results—accessible in a variety of charts and dashboards across the enterprise.  Read more about best practices for reporting within PPM here.  

                    Benefits To Project Managers

                    Easy PM access to project data has benefits from performance improvement that range from the quantitative (improved project success rate, financial return, and cost savings) to the qualitative (less time spent doing manual tasks, improved organizational success, and support to formalize and develop a Project Management Office (PMO).)

                    These and many other valuable PPM features listed below combine to transform the PM role from being viewed simply as a facilitation role with limited organizational value to one with a demonstrable impact on achieving your organization’s strategic goals.

                    The Benefits of Project Portfolio Management

                    • Improved:
                      • Risk Management
                      • Financial Management
                      • Forecasting
                      • Pipeline Management
                      • Resource Management
                      • Change Management
                      • Documentation
                      • Reporting and Analytics
                      • Business intelligence
                    • Dashboards for Critical Project Status
                    • Real-Time Monitoring
                    • Collaboration with Stakeholders

                    We could go on, and on about the benefits of obtaining the right Project Portfolio Management solution but if you’re interested in learning more, contact us for a free demo.

                    Request a Demo

                    Request a Trial

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