Mind Your P\’s and M\’s: PPM for PMs

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.