Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software stores a large amount of information that can be used to make important decisions about your organization.  This blog post will examine the key elements needed to support a robust reporting process.

Project Portfolio Reporting answers questions such as:

  • Are we going to meet our strategic goals? Why not?
  • What is the ROI on our portfolio?
  • Should we invest more money into capital projects?
  • Which department requested the most projects?

The diagram below offers a summary of key project reporting features and their benefits.  

Metadata

Project Portfolio Management captures and stores data in several ways throughout the project lifecycle:

  • Quantitative and qualitative data via project intake forms (start date, PM name, business goal)
  • Data imported from other systems (PM, accounting, HR)
  • Calculated or derived data (scoring, variances, % complete)
    Organization-specific metadata

Metadata improves reporting by making information more accessible to non- project management roles – especially those outside of the IT department. With metadata, create centrally managed hierarchies and apply the proper “tag”’ to projects. Some examples include:

  • Department (IT, sales, finance)
  • Location (HQ, factory A, office B)
  • Business Goal (increase revenue, reduce expenses, customer satisfaction)
  • Aligning reporting with corporate goals allows your stakeholders on-demand insight into initiatives supporting Governance, Transparency and corporate strategy.

Metrics and KPIs

A comprehensive reporting platform records data for the metrics established for any given project or portfolio.

Once metrics are defined, auditing data ensures the collection of information at the proper level of granularity and frequency.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) should provide users with an immediate understanding of how the portfolio is performing.

A list of important KPIs and Metrics for measuring the success of projects and portfolios is available in this blog post.  

Dashboards

The purpose of a dashboard is to indicate HOW the portfolio is performing, with more comprehensive reports and analysis used to understand WHY. Brevity and focus are preferred over detail and complexity.

Dashboards effectively present KPIs and metrics to a wide audience. Web-based dashboards support the on-demand requirements of large and diverse sets of stakeholders.

Your PPM solution needs to allow you to create meaningful dashboards by grouping metrics based on the information they describe (resource utilization) or their relevance to a role (CIO dashboard).

Project Portfolio Management software allows the customization of dashboards to the individual user.

Common elements of PPM dashboards include:

  • KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
  • RAG reports (Red Amber Green reports)
  • Gantt charts

Hindsight Analysis

Hindsight Analysis provides the ability to analyze data across many projects

and time periods. Project Portfolio Management software gathers data from the moment the project is requested for consideration until long after it has been completed or deployed.

Hindsight Analysis illuminates:

  • Whether the project fell short, met or exceeded expectations
  • Whether similar projects should be funded in the future
  • Accuracy of the risk/reward measurement via established scoring processes

Project Budgets

Analyzing budget vs. actual spending provides timely insight that can be applied to concurrent projects.

Anticipated expenses are collected in the early stages of the project lifecycle and compared to actuals as data becomes available. Project Portfolio Management software incorporates these data collection processes into the project workflow.

Project Scoring Reporting

Project Scoring can help you determine whether projects are meeting corporate standards for approval.  (Read more about Project Scoring methodology in this blog post.)

Project Scoring reports allow for comparison to other projects in terms

of risk/reward. Project Portfolio Management software should offer a variety of presentations to transform the scoring data into actionable insight.

User Access

Reports and dashboards should be available to individuals across your organization.

Distinguish user types (stakeholders & executives, PPM/PMO staff, and Project managers) and their differing needs for information (on-demand, event-driven notifications, scheduled).

A PPM solution should provide a secure, robust platform for the reporting needs of your organization.

Summary

A Project Portfolio Management solution provides a secure, robust platform for enterprise reporting for organizations of any size and portfolios of any scale. To learn more about the additional benefits that PPM can deliver please see our “Definitive Guide to Project Portfolio Management”.

 

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Why should you have Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software?

This guide will discuss the components of the Project Portfolio Management process and the benefit to your organization.  

Organizations using PPM tools (vs. organizations not using PPM tools) are:

  • 44% more likely to complete projects on time or early
  • 38% more likely to complete projects on budget
  • 52% more likely to hit the expected ROI

Project Portfolio Management ensures that an organization can leverage its project selection and execution success. It refers to the centralized management of one or more project portfolios to achieve strategic objectives. Portfolio management is a way to bridge the gap between strategy and implementation.

What is Project Portfolio Management?

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the centralized management of the processes, methods, and technologies used by project managers and project management offices (PMOs) to analyze and collectively manage current or proposed projects based on numerous key characteristics.

Project Prioritization

Project Prioritization is the first component of a Project Portfolio Management process. It allows your organization to focus on those projects that deliver the most value.

By identifying the best projects for business goals, time, money, and resources can be effectively deployed. Your Project Prioritization framework should be “data driven” to be objective and scalable. It should support the concepts of Governance and Transparency.

A robust methodology is desirable to support any number of definitions of “value”. For some, value is determined by increasing revenue. For others, value means reducing cost. A third measure of value could be a project that meets a qualitative goal such as “going green”.

A robust Project Prioritization process will allow you to answer:

  • Who submitted this project and what is its purpose?
  • How do I compare these projects?
  • Which strategic goal does this project support?
  • Why was my project not approved?
  • If I have limited resources, do I cancel any of my projects? Which projects?
  • Do I hire additional resources for my project backlog?

The IT Project Prioritization process consists of the following steps (even if you are not in IT, these steps are still relevant):

  • Project Intake
  • Project Scoring
  • Project Selection

A PPM solution will contain a Project Prioritization template to capture or create data for each of step of the process.

Read our blog post on how to implement an effective Project Prioritization process here.  

Resource Management

Resource Management is efficiently and effectively using your organization’s budget, inventory, personnel and information technology (IT).

Once initiatives are prioritized or selected, the next step in your Project Portfolio Management process is to assign resources to projects.

PPM enables you to determine resource allocation using a top-down approach – either at the portfolio or organizational level. You can effectively perform tasks such as assigning resource availability, aligning skills to projects, and resource leveling.

Increased visibility enables proactive management of resource schedules, which allows you to identify potential issues weeks or months in advance.

There are 3 important ways that Project Portfolio Management optimizes deployment of personnel:

  • Resource Scheduling
  • Skills Management
  • Resource Leveling

Read our blog post on how to improve your Resource Management process here.  

Project Management

The PPM process should provide an aggregate portfolio view of all project plans for big picture analysis. Project Portfolio Management software should also offer visibility into data at the project level.

Good project-level management allows the editing of individual project plans and visualization of work breakdown structure for each initiative.

Project-level management within the overall PPM process effectively handles problems and identifies patterns with issue tracking to ensure timeliness of portfolio goals.

Because Project Management workflow classifies and tracks projects, it allows you to answer:

  • How many initiatives have been requested for funding?
  • How many projects are waiting for scoring?
  • How many projects are active?
  • Which projects have been archived?

A Project Management/Portfolio Management process should provision for the following capabilities:

  • Project Workflows
  • Project Plans
  • Work Breakdown Structure
  • Issue Tracking
  • Timesheets

Read our blog post on how Project Portfolio Management (PPM) improves Project Management here.  

Project Portfolio Reporting

An effective Project Portfolio Management process generates volumes of data about every aspect of projects within the portfolio. Your PPM software should make this information available via on-demand dashboards and push notifications.

Gathering and analyzing project data over time and across the portfolio supports hindsight analysis – the measure of how well a project did in meeting its goals. Affect future project success with a clear understanding of past performance.

Project Portfolio Reporting answers questions such as:

  • Are we going to meet our strategic goals? Why not?
  • What is the ROI on our portfolio?
  • Should we invest more money into capital projects?
  • Which department requested the most projects?

Project Portfolio Reporting provides the right information to the right people:

  • Stakeholders
  • IT executives – CIO, VP IT, Director of IT
  • PMO staff and PPM Directors
  • Project Managers

Project Portfolio Reporting includes:

  • Metadata
  • Metrics and KPIs
  • Dashboards
  • Hindsight Analysis
  • Project Budgets
  • Project Scoring
  • User Access

Read our blog post on how Project Portfolio Reporting can transform your business here.  

Summary

Organizations that use Project Portfolio Management benefit from:

Request a demo to learn more about Projectric Project Portfolio Management.  

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When your organization realizes it is time to find and apply a management software for ongoing projects, you might become quickly overwhelmed. Project Management (PM), Program Management (EPM) and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions seem similar. I have listed below the three levels of project management and the notable differences that should be taken into account as you evaluate your needs.

Project Management (PM)

Definition:

What is Project Management? Project management is the process that ensures projects achieve the desired objectives set out in the project charter.

Process:

  1. Initiating the project
  2. Developing a plan
  3. Completing the project according to the approved plan
  4. Controlling the project activities throughout its lifetime
  5. Closing the project on time and within budget

Software:

Project Management software involves functionality tools in order to organize day-to-day project planning, tracking, and monitoring. This type of software has features such as milestones, Gantt charts, budgeting, calendars, and timesheets.  Project management software significantly helps to collaborate, increase clarity and stay on task.

Program Management (EPM)

Definition:

What is Program Management? A program is a group of similar projects managed in a coordinated way, in order to gain the benefits and control not available from managing them individually. A program manager is tasked with optimizing the utilization of resources across projects to increase the organization’s overall performance.  The most significant differences between project management and program management are that programs tend to last longer, require more effort and result in outcomes, not outputs. For example, the goal of a project might be to implement a new software program for the sales team to enter leads. A program’s outcome could be to shift how the marketing and sales organizations work together.

Process:

  1. Managing overlaps and dependencies between projects
  2. Track overall resource capacity and availability
  3. Ensuring program level goals are achieved on time and on budget

Software:

Some companies use Enterprise Project Management (EPM) software, designed to ease day-to-day project delivery and management on a larger scale.

An EPM solution helps to manage, monitor and assess activities, schedules, and work breakdown structures.

Project Portfolio Management (PPM)

Definition:

What is Project Portfolio Management? PPM is the centralized management of the processes, methods, and technologies used by project managers and project management offices (PMOs) to analyze and collectively manage current or proposed projects based on numerous key characteristics. With Project Portfolio Management the group of projects or programs do not have to be related. PPM has a bigger scope and objective than program management. In addition, PPM the portfolio manager identifies, prioritizes, and authorizes the projects or programs the organization tackles to achieve strategic business objectives. Although they set the priority of the projects or programs in a group, they typically do not oversee any individual project or program.

Process:

  1. Shift from program management to portfolio management
  2. Optimize resources to stay in budget
  3. Communicate effectively across all departments
  4. Enjoy economies of scale and lesser risks

Software:

Project Portfolio Management software manages activities to best achieve an organization’s operational and financial goals. It does this through choosing the optimal mix for delivery and to schedule activities. PPM software also manages constraints imposed by customers, strategic objectives, or external real-world factors.

Projectric is a PPM solution used to easily and effectively manage a portfolio of projects. PPM streamlines the project intake process with customizable scoring for project alignment and prioritization.  

Projectric features built-in reports to analyze, measure and manage projects and resources.  Reporting includes time tracking and overall project financial management.  Projectric provides analysis such as predictive portfolio analysis and hindsight analysis.

As you move from project management towards portfolio management, your scope and objectives become larger and more complex. However, your tools can remain simple and intuitive.

Projectric is PPM simplified. It organizes projects, programs & portfolios to empower you to make better business decisions.  

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The PPM process should provide an aggregate portfolio view of all project plans for big picture analysis. Project Portfolio Management software should also offer visibility into data at the project level.

Good project level management allows the editing of individual project plans and visualization of work breakdown structure for each initiative.

Project level management within the overall PPM process effectively handles problems and identifies patterns with issue tracking to ensure timeliness of portfolio goals.

A Project Management Portfolio Management process should provision for the following capabilities:

  • Project Lifecycle
  • Project Plans
  • Work Breakdown Structure
  • Issue Tracking
  • Timesheets

Project Workflow

A Project Portfolio Management process organizes initiatives offering an understanding of project status.

The project lifecycle process enables you to manage proposed initiatives, gather information, manage active projects and review your completed projects.

A project management process that uses a project lifecycle allows you to answer questions such as:

  • How many active projects do we have?
  • When was this project placed on hold?
  • Who proposed the most initiatives this year?
  • Is my project done yet?

Project Plans

Your PPM solution should aggregate and track project management plans across the portfolio and allow individual project plans to be displayed and updated.

Project planning as part of the project portfolio management process supports the ability to create mock-up plans for initiatives that are still in the planning/ non-active stage. This allows you to assign resources and timelines and perform “what-if” analysis against the entire portfolio.

Work Breakdown Structure

PPM solutions need to able to store data at a low level of granularity to ensure that the information presented is both accurate to the entire organization and relevant to Project Managers.

The Work Breakdown Structure further itemizes the project plan into tasks, milestones, timelines and resources necessary to complete the project.

This provides the information needed to answer questions such as:

  • Which tasks or milestones are due this week?
  • Who is responsible for Task A?
  • What is the on-time rate for milestones on projects with this PM?
  • Is my project done yet?

Issue Tracking

All projects have issues – some are more disruptive than others in terms of preventing projects from being completed on time, on budget, and delivering business value. The project issue tracking process:

  • Identifies issues
  • Quantifies the issue’s impact on the project
  • Assigns the issue to an owner
  • Provides updates on the issue
  • Assigns timelines for resolution
  • Notifies stakeholders

Project Portfolio Management software supports the tracking process and manages issues across the entire project portfolio. The project issue log enables you to identify trends, know the resources that can be assigned to resolve issue and understand the impact of an issue on the portfolio.

Timesheets

Tracking resource utilization at the project level and at the task level is managed via timesheets in a PPM solution.

Having timesheet data answers project level questions such as:

  • Who worked on Project A last week?
  • How many hours did we allocate for Task A vs. how many hours were actually spent?
  • Did we exceed our project budget?

Timesheet data answers questions across the entire portfolio as well:

  • What is the average amount of time we spend performing repetitive Task A?
  • How much money have we spent doing Task B?  Should we outsource this?
  • Who is our fastest coder?

Project management ensures that your initiatives deliver! To learn more about the additional benefits that PPM can deliver please read the “Definitive Guide to Project Portfolio Management”.

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Here is the Project Management Process, illustrated.  This simple graphic is a sketch showing the key phases in the Project Management Process and associated activities for each step.  

We have sourced our information from the Project Management Institute (PMI) – our visual presentation is fresh and accurate.  We have decided to include information for both Project Management 4 Phases and Project Management 5 Phases.  (The 4-step process combines Steps 4 and 5 (Monitoring and Closing) and the activities that support those steps, respectively.)

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software such as Projectric will help to perform the supporting activities listed for every project phase.  Read our blog post about about how PPM supports robust Project Management Methodologies.

Hope this helps as you refine your Project Management techniques.  

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Here is an overview of the relationships between the 3 P’s: Portfolios, Programs and Projects. This blog post is accompanied by a simple diagram and a customer example to illustrate how the 3 P’s look within an organization.

Portfolio Level

Definition: What is a project portfolio?  A portfolio consists of projects created to meet an organization’s strategic goals.

Details: These collections of projects can be established for an entire company or for a division within a larger organization.

Need for PPM: Projectric provides a portfolio level solution that supports strategic alignment, transparency and governance.

Program Level

Definition: What is a program?  A program is a group of related or similar projects managed in a coordinated fashion to achieve a strategic objective.

Details: Program Management occurs at the program level – Project Managers guide interrelated or interdependent projects as a group. Specific purpose of each project within a program should be defined and aligned with the goals of the program. A program can span years.

Need for PPM: Because programs can span years, projects and people, optimizing resources among projects and reducing constraints across programs increases an organization’s performance.  This is Project Management.  

Project Level

Definition: What is a project?  A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.

Details: A project is composed of tasks to achieve an end and is temporary – once a project’s objectives are realized, the project is delivered and closed.

Need for PPM: Projects can be completed by teams dispersed around the world- this is where resource management from Project Portfolio Management software (like Projectric) becomes helpful.

Examples of Portfolios, Programs, Projects Within Organizations

Portfolio:

University Facility Management

Program:

Going Green

Projects:

  • Benchmark water and energy use
  • Build a “green wall” in the sciences library
  • Install new efficient air conditioning units
  • Install Building Automation software

Learn how these customers – across many industries – use Projectric to manage their project portfolios:

DeVry University

Duro Bag Manufacturing

Messer Construction

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Microsoft estimates there are 750 million users of Excel worldwide. And it is no wonder – spreadsheets are a handy tool. In this blog post, find an identification of the benefits and drawbacks of spreadsheets for Project Portfolio Management (PPM).  

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 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 between computer users.
  • 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. Then it is easy to grow the use of spreadsheets for PPM from there. We create spreadsheets of our project backlog, spreadsheets of our active projects, and spreadsheets of our finished projects. It doesn’t stop there. We also create additional spreadsheets for our resource lists with availability projections and spreadsheets of our project plans. Some applications are on almost every laptop and PC, just a click away. Some employees even create project scope statements and other documents in spreadsheets.

How To Manage Project Portfolios With Spreadsheets

Implementing PPM on spreadsheets generally requires the creation of multiple spreadsheets. One reason for this is that the information needs for decision-making change as the project progresses through the lifecycle. For example while the project is still in the pipeline, it is important to understand project alignment characteristics, value, the requested due date and the estimated start date.

However, after the project is initiated, of greater concern are the project’s health, progress and the likely finish date. Another reason for multiple spreadsheets is that certain functions in the decision process do not lend themselves to a project list format. For example, if a scoring model is used for value assessment, this is typically done in a different spreadsheet from the project lists.

Another example is a resource availability table. This information typically needs to be viewed both by resource and by project.

True project portfolio management also requires a governance model and controls with 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, though there is no question that a PPM workflow could be designed and created by a spreadsheet guru.  However, this is rarely done for a PPM implementation with spreadsheets, and even if it could be, is this really worth the effort and time to maintain?

Hidden Costs To Project Portfolio Management By Spreadsheets

There are many costs associated with spreadsheets that are not initially apparent.  These costs are generated from the creation and use of multiple spreadsheets, the attempts to collaborate and share information from these spreadsheets and the fact that spreadsheets were not designed for certain PPM functions. The resulting hidden costs include:

1. Wasted Time

Spreadsheet users waste hours of time trying to consolidate 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 duplications of data, much time is wasted in looking for and correcting inaccuracies in the data. Or worse, these inaccuracies never get corrected and create a risk to the organization.

With differing skill levels from the users of these spreadsheets, often there is time wasted for the builder of the spreadsheet to explain the intricacies of their work so others can use it. 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 information from spreadsheets is to email them to others. In some cases, this is completed instantaneously; however, in other instances, there is elapsed time between when the spreadsheet was emailed and when it was opened. This leads to delays in work and decisions. Basically, the information needed might not be available to a person when they need it.

Emailing of spreadsheets also leads to the potential for multiple versions of the same spreadsheet being updated independently and even more inefficiencies due to duplications of effort. Special reporting causes another inefficiency when certain people only want to see a subset of the information in the main spreadsheets. This requires the generation of special views of the data that can be communicated to these people and even more versions of the spreadsheet.

On occasion, massive PPM spreadsheets are created over time with no thought to the value of the additional data or the compounding problems in using the new creation, causing data overload. More data does not always lead to better decisions. Often it leads to paralysis or “minertia” – the focus on minutia that leads to negative inertia. Along the same lines, spreadsheets have so many features, we often overanalyze the information, creating new filters and generating pivot tables of data to our hearts content, almost always an inefficient use of time.

3. Risks

There is no doubt that the use and communication of spreadsheets can lead to higher risks for data security. With the portability of spreadsheets it is very difficult to control who has access to them both internally and externally. It is very easy to send a spreadsheet to a destination outside of an organization’s control, whether intentionally or accidentally. Having copies of the spreadsheets and data in multiple hands only compounds the potential risk. To a minor extent, there is also a potential risk of making a bad decision as a result of the data inaccuracies that often occur.

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 become a very expensive tool when trying to use them for a departmental PPM solution.

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. If you have 3 employees involved in PPM, they work an average of 200 days per year and your hourly rate is $50. This adds up to $30,000 per year of wasted expense. You could easily get a 10 times return on your investment in an affordable PPM solution for this amount of savings.

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 become a very expensive tool when trying to use them for a departmental PPM solution.

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 200 days per year, and your hourly rate is $50. This adds up to $30,000 per year of wasted expense. You could easily get a 10 times return on your investment in an affordable PPM solution for this amount of savings.

Keep Project Portfolio Management Simple

The proliferation of spreadsheets for PPM is an indication that users have unfulfilled needs. With this, there may be resistance to a single PPM solution and the abandonment of the more familiar spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are quick and easy. Although it is difficult for any PPM solution to meet this standard, it is critical that the solution be non-complex and easy-to-learn. It is also helpful to provide familiar spreadsheet-like views and not try to over-automate the process. This will just add unneeded complexity.

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

Read about how Duro Bag Manufacturing streamlined their Project Portfolio Management using Projectric.

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Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tools help advance careers and minimize stress for Project Managers (PM).  This blog post provides insight into how 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 need to deliver IT projects on-time while providing transparency and governance to the organization. PMs 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?

Today, Project Managers face these requirements with a set of tools ill-suited for the changing landscape. Manual processes are not scalable, Excel is not dynamic and individual solutions are not integrated. Project Managers have always been tasked to “do more with less,” and this is expected even more today.

IT budgets have only risen slightly but the composition of the IT portfolio has shifted from programs designed to maintain the infrastructure status quo to programs supporting initiatives such as digital transformation.

A Project Manager must ensure that the proper projects are being approved, how to improve project management and how to provide the reporting transparency and governance needed to advance the organization.

The Solution: Project Portfolio Management (PPM)

Project Managers need to leverage the benefits of an end-to-end Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution even if their focus is only at the project level. By utilizing the capabilities of a solution to see all projects across a portfolio as well as emerging issues, the PM can take 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, the need to provide transparency on the project performance can be automated and distributed to the line of business via self-service reporting tools, allowing the PM to focus on managing the projects vs. delivering status reports.

An intuitive PPM tool will provide a PM with the following important capabilities:

Project Approval

Project Managers need more powerful tools to ensure that the projects presented for funding are selected using methodologies that align with corporate strategies and portfolio goals

Timesheet Management

Maintain cost and expense data within a centralized solution and allows easy input via web-based templates.

Resource Allocation

Top-down project status views and milestone tracking allow PMs to manage initiatives with the portfolio view in mind.  Read more about Resource Allocation in this blog post.

Top-Down Reporting

Allow all data – from project selection criteria to actual vs budgeted results – to be 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

The benefits to improved PM performance range from quantitative (improved project success rate, financial return, and cost savings) to qualitative (less time spent doing manual tasks, improved organizational success, and support to formalize and develop a PMO).

All of these combined contribute to the PM role being viewed less as a “facilitation” role with limited organizational value to a “management” role with demonstrable impact towards achieving strategic goals.

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Duro Bag Manufacturing Company is the largest manufacturer of printed and plain paper bags in North America. Duro Bag operates twelve plants in the United States and one in Mexico, employs more than three thousand people and sells point -of-purchase bags to department stores, grocery chains, and mass merchant retailers.  Here is how Duro Bag has used Projectric for their project portfolio management solution, from CEO to factory floor.

Need for a Process Methodology

When Duro Bag decided to streamline its portfolio management process, they sought to:

  • Increase project returns through better visibility, selection and control of projects
  • Optimize the use of limited company resources
  • Avoid project delays through timely communication of project status

The critical attributes they wanted in their portfolio management solution were:

  • On-demand, hosted solution
  • Robust features, functions, and capabilities
  • Easy implementation
  • Affordable for a mid-sized organization

Duro Bag found that Projectric best met all its criteria for portfolio management software. They were able to implement Projectric quickly and have since rolled it out across the company.

Adapts to Industry-Specific Standards

Duro Bag easily adapted Projectric to its manufacturing processes. Duro Bag uses Projectric to categorize its projects according to the Supply-Chain Operations Reference model (SCOR), a manufacturing process reference model for supply-chain management that describes the business activities associated with all phases of satisfying a customer’s demand. As a result, they were able to confirm quantitatively and objectively the benefits of their strong emphasis on customer related projects. Additionally, each department is able to show the strategic focus of their work efforts to senior management.

Benefits The Whole Organization

Duro Bag was so enthusiastic about the software’s quick implementation and demonstrated business value that Projectric quickly spread across the organization.

  • The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is using the software to monitor progress on several corporate projects.
  • The head of Human Resources is using the software to manage and monitor several key transformation projects. Duro Bag is effectively using Projectric’s dynamic tools such as resource utilization “what if” capabilities and project milestone late reporting to more effectively manage resources, communicate project status and facilitate the achievement of its business goals.

Duro Bag is effectively using Projectric’s dynamic tools such as resource utilization “what if” capabilities and project milestone late reporting to more effectively manage resources, communicate project status and facilitate the achievement of its business goals.

Read about how other Projectric customers leverage our Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution including:

DeVry University

Messer Construction

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Successful organizations must adapt to meet changing market forces. Companies must anticipate how emerging technologies could make their own products and services obsolete or risk failure. Embracing the Digital Transformation is necessary for any business, nonprofit or institution that seeks to survive into the future.  Evolve or become extinct.

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

What is Digital Transformation?

The reworking of the products, processes and strategies within an organization to leverage current technologies” is Digital Transformation (DX). DX requires an examination and reinvention of most, if not all, areas within an organization, from supply chain and workflow, employee skill sets and board-level discussions, to customer interactions and value to stakeholders. Effectively implementing a Digital Transformation strategy enables an organization to better compete in an economic landscape that is constantly changing as technology evolves.

What Is Driving DX And What Is The Impact?

The forces driving the Digital Transformation evolution are mobile technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things and Cloud Computing. These technologies have drastically changed how quickly customers can get information, thus altering the quality of products and services they expect from businesses and other agencies with whom they interact. Similarly, this same collection of digital tools has changed what employees and stakeholders (i.e., business partners and investors) expect from organizations.

Why Do I Need To Take Action?

The “new normal” has led to mounting pressure to deliver on DX focused initiatives to an increased number of project requests submitted to IT as businesses scramble to maintain their competitive positioning. CIOs are being tasked with developing customer-facing applications and nimble platforms that help their companies compete in the new digital marketplace. At the same time, IT budgets in 2017 are expected to rise only by 2.7%. 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 increase 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

There are 3 key areas of the Project Portfolio Management process to examine to ensure your DX strategy is successful without sacrificing delivery of ongoing projects.

1. Project Selection

Digital Transformation affects all areas of an organization from sales and marketing, to supply chain to management to HR. This will produce more requests for IT resources from more stakeholders than ever before. Identifying which initiatives to select, approve and fund remains a cornerstone of PPM best practices. Key questions to challenge your current PPM process regarding 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?

2. Project Management

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

Digital Transformation will 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?

3. 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. Providing metrics, results, and value will be vital to ensuring success and alignment across the enterprise.

Key questions to challenge your current PPM process regarding PPM reporting 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 “selfservice”?

Is DX Worth The Investment?

Companies that have embraced digital transformation are 26% more profitable than their average industry competitors and enjoy a 12% higher market valuation.² – MIT center for digital business

Gartner characterizes “top-performing businesses” as those that have already embarked on digital transformations or where digitization is built into their business model. These organizations spent 34% of their IT budget supporting Digital Transformation efforts in 2017 and that figure will rise to 44% in 2018.

Summary of DX and Project Portfolio Management

The Digital Transformation creates winners and losers. There is mounting pressure to deliver on DX focused initiatives as businesses scramble to maintain their competitive positioning. With an increased number of project requests submitted to IT, 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 portfolio-level KPIs and metrics via dashboards and graphs to key decision makers across the enterprise. 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.

 

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