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Grow Your Own Project Portfolio Management Solution

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Two-thirds of organizations use a home-grown PPM solution. Here’s a better way to do it. …

Two-thirds of organizations use a home-grown PPM solution. Here’s a better way to do it.


Your Challenge

As portfolio owner, you’re responsible for project portfolio management (PPM) activities, including:

Supporting the intake of new project requests.
Maintaining the backlog of required projects.
Reporting progress of in-flight projects.
Ensuring projects receive management support.
You need tools and procedures to support these responsibilities, but low adoption shows that commercial PPM tools are difficult and costly to implement.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Two-thirds of Info-Tech clients use a home-grown PPM tool. The largest segment of the market uses Excel. Only 16% use a commercial PPM tool, and 17% don’t have a PPM solution at all.
Increasingly diverse project methodologies and styles within organizations (i.e. variations of Agile, Waterfall) make it very difficult to manage them rigorously in a command-and-control model. PPM processes and tools should be capable of managing high-level project capacity, status, risks, and costs without dependency on timesheets.
Organizations often fail at PPM when updating and maintaining data in the tool becomes the end in itself.

Impact and Result

Reclaim capacity through more effective project prioritization and resource optimization.
Ensure the portfolio is regularly updated with timely, accurate, and useful data.
Communicate more effectively with stakeholders, executive sponsors, and project managers.

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  • 1. Two-thirds of organizations use a home-grown PPM solution. Here’s a better way to do it. As portfolio owner, you’re responsible for project portfolio management (PPM) activities, including: • Supporting the intake of new project requests. • Maintaining the backlog of required projects. • Reporting progress of in-flight projects. • Ensuring projects receive management support. You need tools and procedures to support these responsibilities, but low adoption shows that commercial PPM tools are difficult and costly to implement. • The entire PPM vendor community has less than 20% market share. Overall, PPM solutions have failed to help organizations. • Two-thirds of Info-Tech clients use a home-grown PPM tool. The largest segment of the market uses Excel. Only 16% use a commercial PPM tool, and 17% don’t have a PPM solution at all. • Even within the segment of organizations using commercial PPM tools, most struggle to achieve sufficient adoption within their organizations to realize the full value of the solution. • Increasingly diverse project methodologies and styles within organizations (i.e. variations of Agile, Waterfall) make it very difficult to manage them rigorously in a command-and-control model. PPM processes and tools should be capable of managing high-level project capacity, status, risks, and costs without dependency on timesheets. Develop a PPM Strategy to Determine Value and Goals of the Solution PPM is not a product (tool), and it is not a job description (Project Manager). It is a set of processes that need clearly articulated goals and wide participation to be successful. Gather and Organize Project Portfolio Data to Build in to the Solution The job of a PPM tool is to facilitate and support conversations and decisions. Organizations often fail at PPM when updating and maintaining data in the tool becomes the end in itself. Implement Resource Management (Optional) Avoid granular allocations at the daily/weekly task level. That level of detail should be handled by project managers or team members themselves. If you do decide to attempt more detailed timesheet management, you need an expensive commercial tool, excellent process discipline, and a business case for instituting it. Extend the PPM Solution to a Multi-User Portal Framing every project in business terms enables more objective and transparent prioritization that fosters buy-in and participation in the process. Maintain and Optimize the PPM Solution The main purpose of the PPM SOP is to help establish discipline around your own activities as portfolio owner.

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